Barriers to cheap housing:
Second hand buyers are of little incentive to developers.
New housing construction in America today falls under two broad categories:
- "Bigfoot" houses in the exurbs
- Single family houses built by Habitat for Humanity
Construction of new multi-unit housing is, of course, nonexistent, at least here in the midwest.
Cultural bias militates against low-end housing.
Main$tream Middle Class America disparages multi-unit housing. It also disparages rental housing and its consumers, but that may be beside the point. This cultural tendency, along with micromanagerial zoning policies, "curb appeal," nimby "movements" and other assorted Americana creates a de-facto "floor" on the amount of building materials and land per unit of housing developed, and consequently on the ongoing cost of occupying a unit.
An attempt to "map" the "cost floor" of housing might start with something like the sample housing normspec.