A house is a building that provides shelter and/or a space to live in. Houses are typically inhabited by humans and other animals, who occupy them for large periods of time. In all cultures, houses have been built according to certain styles of architecture or design.
In most developed countries, houses are the dominant form of self-contained housing, but in the developing world the extended family often lives together in one house or many small houses; these may be made from mud, bamboo and thatch roofing with walls made from woven plant materials such as wattle bark.
Houses range in size from small shacks and shelters to large mansions. A house may be the dominant building within a settlement and may be occupied by several families sharing common facilities, or by a private owner, or shared by unrelated tenants, who occupy it at varying intervals. The cave and animal house at Lascaux in France, which were built about 17,000-15,000 BC, were some of the first houses used by humans.
Dated from 8,000 to 9,500 years old they are the oldest known surviving houses and appear to be much like those built today. The Natufians built houses in the Levant region in Middle Palaeolithic times around 12000 to 8000 BC.
In the USA, a typical single-family house ranges in price from about US$100,000 to over US$1 million; the average cost is around US$300,000. A typical multi-family house for sale in the USA may cost over US£200,000.
These are often two-story homes consisting of two or three bedrooms and 2-3 bathroom apartments on one or sometimes two levels. In many areas of the world houses are built by labourers using simple construction materials such as earth and stones with some more modern materials such as bricks and cement used.
The UK has a range of different housing types which can be linked into larger types of development.