It's anyone's guess as to whether the current boom in living small is here to stay. But here are a few reasons why teeny quarters might remain popular in America.
City planners are big into the concept of urban infill these days, which is how to cram more people into already-occupied spaces. Newly created micro apartments, or micro units — essentially studios — are being snapped up all over cities like New York and Washington, D.C. It's not a stretch to imagine incorporating tiny homes into unused spaces in urban areas, like those vacant patches of land that pop up in cityscapes — it's already happening in D.C. [source: Cater].
And small homes have special appeal to cash-starved young people starting out and retirees looking to stretch their savings. With both these groups growing in size, the tiny-house market might grow along with them. A bonus: Both kids and retirees could park their tiny homes in their parents' or kids' backyards, as it's legal to place a "backyard cottage" on your lot [source: McCrea].
Those who think tiny houses are just a passing fad will point to the fact that houses have been getting larger in general, as we said at the beginning of this article and that just 1 percent of all home buyers purchased homes 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) or less in 2014 [source: National Association of Realtors]. We'll just have to wait and see whether tiny houses stay around.
Author's Note: 10 Big Questions About Tiny Houses
I cannot tell a lie. I live in what some would describe as a McMansion. I can't remember exactly how big our home is, but it's somewhere around 3,400 square feet. We built such a large home because we wanted each of our three children to have their own bedroom, for one thing. In our previous home, our two girls shared a room and it didn't go so well, since they have opposite personalities and living styles (early-to-bed, night owl; neat freak, slob; loud, quiet). Since I was working out of our home, I also needed workspace that wasn't a laptop on my bed. We also wanted a guest room for my aging parents, who regularly traveled a fair distance to visit.
But today our kids are grown and my parents live nearby. Our house has far more room than we need, and we're constantly giving items away in an effort to downsize. At some point, we will look for smaller quarters. During my research, I combed through photos of many extremely attractive tiny homes. It's tempting to think of the freedom I'd feel with few belongings to worry about. There's just one problem: I can't figure out where I'd put the piano.
More Great Links
- Alter, Lloyd. "Think about safety when you build tiny houses." Treehugger. Dec. 22, 2014. (May 20, 2016) http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/think-about-safety-when-you-build-tiny-houses.html
- Birch, Wesley. "Building Tiny On A Budget: The Incredible $8,000 Tiny House!" Tiny House Build. Sept. 11, 2015. (May 20, 2016) http://tinyhousebuild.com/the-incredible-8000-tiny-house/
- Cater, Franklyn. "Living Small In The City: With More Singles, Micro-Housing Gets Big." NPR. Feb. 26, 2015. (May 25, 2016) http://www.npr.org/2015/02/26/389263274/living-small-in-the-city-with-more-singles-micro-housing-gets-big
- Colley, Angela. "How to Sell a Tiny House." Realtor. Oct. 9, 2014. (May 25, 2016) http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell-tiny-house/
- Erickson, Doug. "One year in, Madison's village of tiny houses wins over many neighborhood critics." Wisconsin State Journal. Sept. 27, 2015. (May 20, 2016) http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/one-year-in-madison-s-village-of-tiny-houses-wins/article_6d1a54cc-343a-5775-b3de-5fa341677580.html
- FYI TV. "The Tiny House Movement." (May 17, 2016) http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation/articles/the-tiny-house-movement
- Kiger, Patrick. "The City with (Almost) No Limits." Urban Land. April 20, 2015. (May 20, 2016) http://urbanland.uli.org/industry-sectors/city-almost-no-limits/
- LaVoie, Laura. "The Top 5 Disadvantages of Tiny Home Living." Tiny House Listings. Sept. 27, 2013. (May 24, 2016) http://tinyhouselistings.com/the-top-5-disadvantages-of-tiny-house-living/
- Lawyers. "Zoning Ordinances and Regulations." (May 20, 2016) http://zoning-planning-land-use.lawyers.com/zoning-ordinances-and-regulations.html
- Levin, Heather. "Living in a Small House — Benefits & Challenges." Money Crashers. (May 23, 2016) http://www.moneycrashers.com/small-house-living/
- McCrea, Bridget. "Tracking the Tiny House Trend." Washington Realtors. Oct. 8, 2015. (May 25, 2016) https://www.warealtor.org/resources/REmagazine/blog_post/remagazine-online/2015/10/08/tracking-the-tiny-house-trend
- McIntire, Jerry. "Understanding Zoning And Tiny Houses." Tiny House Build. Feb. 20, 2015. (May 20, 2016) http://tinyhousebuild.com/understanding-zoning-and-tiny-houses/
- Miller, G.E. "7 Huge Benefits to Downsizing into a Tiny Home." 20 Something Finance. April 20, 2016. (May 23, 2016) http://20somethingfinance.com/tiny-home-benefits/
- Mitchell, Ryan. "Tiny House Plans For Families." The Tiny Life. Nov. 14, 2014. (May 20, 2016) http://thetinylife.com/tiny-house-plans-for-families/
- Mitchell, Ryan. "What Is the Tiny House Movement?" The Tiny Life. May 24, 2013. (May 17, 2016) http://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/
- National Association of Realtors. "Field Guide to the Small House Movement." June 2015. (May 25, 2016) http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-the-small-house-movement
- Nierenberg, Cari. "Living Small: The Psychology of Tiny Houses." Live Science. Aug. 31, 2015. (May 17, 2016) http://www.livescience.com/52031-tiny-houses-psychology.html
- Picchi, Aimee. "McMansions are back — and they're bigger than ever." CBS News. Aug. 7, 2015. (May 20, 2016) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mcmansions-are-back-and-theyre-bigger-than-ever/
- Piro, Lauren. "6 Tiny-House Storage Tricks to Steal." Good Housekeeping. Feb. 4, 2015. (May 23, 2016) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/tips/a26982/tiny-house-storage-tricks/
- Rafter, Dan. "Three ways to finance a tiny house." The Christian Science Monitor." July 9, 2015. (May 25, 2016) http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0709/Three-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house
- Taylor, Heather. "Cost of Constructing a Home." National Association of Home Builders. Nov. 2, 2015. (May 20, 2016) https://www.nahbclassic.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=248306
- Tetzlaff, Ryan. "The Tiny Home Movement: Is This a Financially Sound Investment? Bright Hub. Oct. 6, 2014. (May 25, 2016) http://www.brighthub.com/money/personal-finance/articles/128729.aspx
- The Tiny House. "16 Alternatives to Tiny Houses." Aug. 24, 2015. (May 24, 2016) http://www.thetinyhouse.net/alternatives-to-tiny-houses/
- Tiny House Basics. "Clever Outdoor Storage Thanks to Tiny House Nation." (May 23, 2016) http://www.tinyhousebasics.com/clever-outdoor-storage-thanks-to-tiny-house-nation/
- Tiny House Design. Tiny House Frequently Asked Questions. (May 20, 2016) http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/tiny-house-frequently-asked-questions/
- Tiny House Talk. "Genius Outdoor Tiny House Staircase with Built-in Storage." Oct. 3, 2014. (May 23, 2016) http://tinyhousetalk.com/genius-outdoor-tiny-house-staircase-storage/
- Tiny House Talk. "Top 5 Reasons for a Tiny House instead of a Camper." Jan. 10, 2013. (May 24, 2016) http://tinyhousetalk.com/top-5-reasons-for-tiny-house-vs-camper/
- Ziga, Karen. "8 Tiny Houses that Have More Storage Than Your House." This Old House. (May 23, 2016) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20914518_30320968,00.html
New York City is chock-full of fake buildings. Check out the infrastructure disguised as normal facades at HowStuffWorks Now.