Only the economy knows. As a sign of shrinking incomes and widespread concern over carbon footprints and sustainability - the micro home market satisfies the deep need for hearth and home when our economy and culture cannot.
When a house can be constructed by an owner at a very low cost, then re-sold for much more, you can generate a market fad. The tiny homes fad began as a result of a surge that rendered the traditional larger and more comfortable family homes as too expensive for singles, childless couples and even seniors.
To Downsize or Not?
The drive to downsize into tiny homes comes from both practicality and fear. The fear is about affording a lifestyle that doesn't damage the environment, while managing a household's economics.
The sacrifice of adequate space is met eagerly by extraordinarily well-designed small space accommodations that may cost much less than the neighborhood houses we've grown accustomed to. However, in some places, the popularity of these micro spaces has driven the prices up to almost that of full family homes.
Practicality and Legality
There are huge cost variances in the tiny homes world. Here is how it plays out:
- Starting with a low cost of zero dollars for the experienced scavenger who can rustle up all of the materials, and donate the time for constructing off of a pre-ordained design
- Swelling up to $80,000 and in really expensive areas such as California sometimes as much as $100,000 from luxury designer-builders
- The average-sized tiny home is about 400 square feet, and go for around $70,000 in most areas
- The truly, tiny 200 square foot homes commonly found on trailer flat beds due to the legal status as an RV - can be secured for as little as $25,000 in materials with additional investment and enhancements being made.
A quick online search for the "American Tiny House Association" gives you access to the information required to understand the specifics of region by region zoning and permitting laws for the growing tiny homes fad. A few more things to consider;
- If zoning laws are in your favor - tiny homes can be placed on owned property
- A tiny house can be considered a camper or RV when sitting in your back yard on a flatbed trailer (aka an accessory dwelling unit)
- Many RV Parks are now opening their doors to tiny homes on trailers
- Groups and communities are developing tiny house villages and co-housing areas within eco-villages
New approaches to housing in an aging population of people on limited incomes is the real driver here. The tiny house fad is a sound response to this dilemma. It places home ownership back within the reach of the ordinary person.
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