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.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Alchemy Architects. "weeInfo FAQ" (January 19, 2009) http://weehouse.com/flash/wee_faq/wee_faq.html
- Cabin Fever. "Frequently Asked Questions" (January 19, 2009) http://cabinfever.us.com/faq.html
- Cabin Fever. "Pricing and Options" (January 19, 2009) http://cabinfever.us.com/faq.html
- Corley, Cheryl. National Public Radio. "Tiny Houses Find a Friend on the Gulf Coast" May 15, 2006. (January 19, 2009) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5366823
- Cottage Company, The. "Cottage Housing Development Code" (January 21, 2009)http://www.cottagecompany.com/cczoning.html
- Cottage Company, The. "For Sale" (January 29, 2009) http://www.cottagecompany.com/ccforsale.html
- Dakota County, Minnesota. "Property Taxes: How taxes are calculated" (January 29, 2009) http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/HomeProperty/PropertyTaxes/Taxes/TaxsCalculated.htm
- Goodnow, Cecilia. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Empty nesters, greens and first-time buyers are finding tiny houses a good fit" June 6, 2008. (January 19, 2009) http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/athome/366118_small07.html
- Hoinski, Michael. Austin American-Statesman. "Luling builder defies the big, goes tiny" November 16, 2008. (January 19, 2009) http://www.statesman.com/business/content/business/stories/statesmanhomes/11/16/1116tiny.html
- Housing Partnership, The. "Cottage Housing Development, March 2000" (January 27, 2009) http://www.mrsc.org/GovDocs/S42CottageHousDev.pdf
- Johnson, Gregory Paul. Facilitator/President of the Small House Society. Personal interview. Conducted January 22, 2009.
- kitHaus. "FAQ" (January 19, 2009) http://www.kithaus.com/
- Landis, Rick. General manager, Kimball Landis Construction LLC. Personal interview. Conducted January 23, 2009.
- Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. "Cottage Housing Development: Guide/Model Regulations" July 31, 2008. (January 27, 2009) http://www.lvpc.org/pdf/cottageHousingDev.pdf
- Lin, Sara. The Wall Street Journal. "The Newest Cottage Industry" July 18, 2008. (January 19, 2009)
- Mississippi Alternative Housing. "About Us" (January 22, 2009) http://www.mscottage.org/reservist/
- Mississippi Alternative Housing. "Cottage" (January 22, 2009) http://www.mscottage.org/cottage/
- Mississippi Alternative Housing. "Home Page" (January 22, 2009) http://www. mscottage.org/
- Modular Today. "Modular Homes Consumers Guide" (January 13, 2009) http://www.modulartoday.com/
- MS Governor's Office of Recovery and Renewal. "Mississippi Recovery Fact Sheet" September 2008. (January 22, 2009) http://www.governorbarbour.com/recovery/documents/RFSSept08.pdf
- National Home Builders Association: Building Systems Councils. "The Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Modular Homes" (January 29, 2009) http://www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentID=104788
- Resources for Life. "Small House Society: About" (January 21, 2009) http://www.resourcesforlife.com/small-house-society/about
- Resources for Life. "Small House Society: Resources" (January 21, 2009) http://www.resourcesforlife.com/small-house-society/resources
- Shafer, Jay. Founder and designer, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Personal interview and communication. Conducted January 25, 2009.
- Smith, Scott. Resident of a 10-by-12 home. Personal interview. Conducted January 26, 2009.
- Stark, Judy. St. Petersburg Times. "The House that Katrina Built" January 28, 2006. (January 19, 2009)http://www.sptimes.com/2006/01/28/Homes/The_house_that_Katrin.shtml
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. "FAQ Utilities" (January 19, 2009) http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/faq/utilities/
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. "Houses" (January 19, 2009) http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company "XS-House" (January 19, 2009)http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/xs-house/
- U.S. Census Bureau. "Characteristics of New One-Family Houses Completed: Median and Average Square Feet By Location" June 2, 2008. (January 29, 2009) http://www.census.gov/const/C25Ann/medavgsqft_cust.xls
- U.S. Census Bureau News. "Nation's Housing Stock Reaches 128 Million" October 6, 2008. (January 20, 2009)http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/housing/012760.html
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Disaster Assistance Directorate: Fact Sheet" (January 28, 2009)http://www.fema.gov/media/fact_sheets/dad.shtm
- U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. "The HUD Home Buying Guide" August 2004. (January 29, 2009) http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/buying/homebuyingguide.pdf