Alison Brooks Architects, Allies and Morrison, Foster Lomas, Fraser Brown MacKenna, Henning Stummel Architects and Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects saw off 73 other expressions of interest to get to the final stage.
The competition was launched with the express ambition of proving that affordable rural housing 'does not have to mean bland'. The winning scheme will be built in the village of Elmswell in Suffolk.
Walter Menteth, the RIBA adviser on the competition, said: 'The expressions of interest attracted extremely diverse submissions from 73 respondents in six different countries.
'Although selection was extremely tough, the jury was delighted by the strength of the shortlist and look forward to the design submissions. We are sure this process will deliver Elmswell housing for the 21st Century that it will be justly proud of.'
The competition is being organised by Elmswell Parish Council, the East of England Development Agency, Mid-Suffolk District Council, Orwell Housing Association and the Suffolk Preservation Society.
The winner will be revealed in December.