How Tiny Houses Work

The Tiny House Market

Tiny houses can be found everywhere from a sma­ll town in Utah to a residential neighborhood in Washington. They can offer a more affordable option for first-time homebuyers, it's also a viable option for those trying to downsize such as empty nesters or newly retired couples

While most buyers are single or couples, there are families choosing to live in limited square footage. For example, Scott and Lolit Smith, along with their three children, live in a 10 foot by 12 foot (approximately 3 meter by 4 meter) home that includes a loft. Living in the home full time during the summer, they've had to make adjustments like cooking on a hot plate and putting sleeping items away during the day. But they say the key is utilizing the outdoors.

"The space is more than adequate if you have a loft with a 10 foot by 12 foot (approximately 3 meter by 4 meter) (home) and if you have weather that you can go outside," says Scott Smith. "The weather is a big factor in it."

Other buyers choose the residential lifestyle of a neighborhood with shared open spaces to fit their needs. Cottage-style or clustered communities are popping up across the United States with several in the Pacific Northwest. Many of these developments have a community of tiny houses with individual lots that open to a communal central lawn [source: The Housing Partnership]. Some are also equipped with shared community centers or buildings. It's important to note that many cities have special Cottage Housing Development ordinances regulating the look and the number of cottages related to the land used for these communities [source: Lehigh Valley Planning Commission].

From 70-square-foot (6.50-square-meter) homes on wheels to living simply in 1,500 square feet (139.35 square meters), some see this move to smaller houses and simpler lives as a trend of the future. While only time will tell, the small house movement has certainly offered a new perspective on housing options in the United States.

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