Tiny Houses – Passing Fad or Next Big Thing

Mike Cooke January 10, 2018 Buying Selling

Go to Amazon. Type in “MODS 20 Foot Tiny Home”.

You’ll find that you can buy a tiny house that has been created in a shipping container – the kind of container used to transport items on railroads or ships. Just $23,000 for 160 square feet.

Good news is that Amazon won’t have to put it in anything to send it to you because, hey … it’s a shipping container. Shipping fees, by the way, are $4,379.49. We’re betting you won’t get the free 2-day shipping when you sign up for Amazon Prime.

Tiny house shows are popular on HGTV.

We don’t know whether the interest will grow or fade, but we thought you’d enjoy an overview of the tiny house scene.

For starters, what make a house tiny? Opinions vary but 400 square feet or less is a number frequently cited. Exceed that number and you are not truly tiny. A tiny house can be on wheels like an RV or mobile home but can also be stationary, with the latter being very common.

Stats on the number of tiny house owners are non-existent. Many tiny homes don’t require a permit. Many tiny houses don’t conform to common zoning laws and their owners are trying to fly under the radar and not be noticed. Everyone agrees, however, that the number of tiny houses is itty-bitty.

Some fun facts about tiny homes (according to The Tiny House Infographic on TheTinyLife.com website):

  • About 40% of owners are age 50 and older.
  • Almost 70% of tiny house owners have no mortgage while only 30% of traditional home owners are mortgage free.
  • Average per capital income of tiny home owners is $42,038, which is about 1% higher than the average U. S. resident.
  • Twice as many tiny house owners have a master’s degree as the population at large.

Three factors drive people to consider the tiny house option:

  • Simpler lifestyle – some tiny house enthusiasts are pushing back against an ethic of accumulation and consumerism.
  • Less financial stress – tiny homes can be purchased for less than the cost of a luxury vehicle and owners can be free and clear immediately or very quickly. This allows reduced work hours or money freed up for other interests like travel or charitable endeavors.
  • Reduced environmental impact – tiny homes have a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional homes and this is a positive for many tiny house advocates.

Do many people abandon tiny house living after trying it for a while? Again, no statistics are available. The internet is full, however, of anecdotal stories of people forsaking tiny house living after trying it for a while.

The two most common reasons for deserting a tiny house and returning to more traditional living arrangements are interesting. One reason is isolation. Tiny homes are often in rural and sparsely populated areas.

People get lonely.

Ironically, the other common reason for giving up the tiny house lifestyle is not having enough space from spouse/significant other/kids. People say they don’t have the ability to be alone when needed.

There are some towns that have adopted tiny house friendly codes. They tend to be smallish towns in rural areas and are using it to encourage population growth. These towns are Spur, Texas; Fresno, California, Walsenburg, Colorado and Brevard, North Carolina.

Tiny houses may become a gigantic hit. They may go the way of troll dolls and pet rocks. Even if they never become mainstream, they may become a niche second home option for families wanting an economical mountain, seaside or lake front place to go on weekends. They have also contributed to evolving ideas of space utilization and the creation of multi-use spaces that have application to larger homes.

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