Could you imagine downsizing to a 500 square foot home on wheels? That is one new trend in housing. While it may sound crazy to sell most of your stuff and move into a home about twice the size of a typical college dorm room, people across the country are doing just that as they embrace the Tiny House Movement, a trend on living small to save money and resources. Is this a silly new fad, or something big that is about to catch on? According to some real estate experts, we are just beginning a new trend in housing and real estate.
What is a tiny house?
As the name may lead you to believe, a tiny house is a small house. Tiny houses are free standing homes that are typically up to 500 square feet. The houses are sometimes built on a trailer and can be moved, but in some cases they are made to stay put in one location for the long haul.
Tiny houses are popular for individuals and couples, but not as practical for families with children due to a lack of space. A typical tiny house has a small kitchen, shower, sitting area, and sleeping area. Some tiny houses have a loft for the bed and a little extra storage, and others are essentially single floor studios that are not attached to an apartment building.
Where are tiny houses popular?
Tiny houses may not have appeared in your city, but they are becoming popular living options in some areas. In the Pacific Northwest, tiny house enthusiasts often cite the environmental impact of living in a 2,000 square foot space and look to tiny houses as a way to conserve resources while saving money.
Speaking of saving money, in more expensive markets like New York and Washington DC, tiny houses have become popular for a completely different reason. 200 to 400 square foot homes are popping up in these areas as people look for relief from high housing prices.
In areas like Boulder, Colorado, people are looking to tiny houses for a combination of reasons. Saving money, helping the environment, and getting a space to live outside away from the hustle bustle of the city is enough of a draw to get people to walk away from their regular sized homes in search of a tiny alternative, though it is not always a simple prospect.
Should you invest in tiny house real estate?
The typical tiny house costs around $5,000 to $30,000 to build, less than a year’s salary at the nation’s median income. This makes it possible to own several homes for the cost of one full-sized house. But does this type of investment make sense?
Kansas State University researchers think tiny houses may be the next big thing, with tiny house neighborhoods popping up around the country acting as a less expensive alternative to traditional homeownership. But while the National Association of Realtors reports that only 1% of people want to live in a tiny house, tiny houses don’t have the same connotation as trailers and trailer park living.
Many see tiny houses as an acceptable middle class home, or even a great option for those with an upper middle class income. But there are plenty of legal issues and risks that might make the timing a little early for tiny houses as an investment.
Are tiny houses right for you?
Tiny houses are not quite mainstream, but they are growing in popularity. Nonetheless, they are not quite as comfortable an abode as everyone expects. But one thing is certain, tiny houses are here and not going anywhere soon. And in some cases, they make a great living option for people on a tight budget or for looking for a less traditional path.
If you want to buy an existing tiny house, start by talking to a local agent. You’ll save a bundle on fees compared to a full-sized home, and you might just find that the minimal lifestyle works for you.