This is one thing I have never understood, People spend a lot of money on a building site, plans, construction of the shell, but when they get to the inside they start to skimp. I have seen the cheapest handrail systems, trim, doors, etc. installed.
Yes hardwood is expensive, but not that much more than very high quality carpeting, and if taken care of it will last forever.
If you want to put down sheet vinyl at least go with a tile pattern, but consider the total cost of the subfloor, vinyl, and installation.
You can install prefinished hardwood flooring yourself and save some on labor.
I would really suggest that you compare cost/life of the product.