53% of Americans would consider living in a tiny house

April 17, 2018

If you have watched Tiny House, Big Living; Tiny House Hunters; or Tiny House Nation—just a few of the TV shows that document how entire families are relocating to 300- and 400-square-foot homes that still offer most of the modern luxuries—then you are aware of the tiny house movement that is sweeping the nation.

The appeal of these miniscule residences is that they:

  • Cost less to purchase,
  • Can be put on almost any piece of flat land;
  • Do not require hours and hours of weekly cleaning; and
  • Overall, enable the owners to spend more time enjoying life than maintaining a household.

And they seem to be replacing the huge, 2,500-plus-square-foot McMansions in appeal. Indeed, more than half of Americans (53%) polled by the National Association of Home Builders in February said they were at least willing to consider living in a tiny home, defined as less than 600 square feet, according to the online publication, Apartment Therapy .

Not surprisingly, Millennials were the most open to the idea: 38% said “yes” they would consider it, and another 25% said “maybe.”

Among Gen Xers, 28% said yes and 25% wouldn’t rule it out. Enthusiasm waned among Baby Boomers  and seniors, with only 29% of seniors not flat-out rejecting the idea.

And, while nearly half the population may be sold on the idea, municipalities nationwide are not so sure, according to Eye on Housing. Many local zoning laws have minimum lot size requirements, which wouldn’t prohibit tiny homes, but would make them very expensive considering the cost of land.

In addition, many communities prohibit the construction of accessory structures–preventing existing home owners from adding them to their lots (although it should be noted that some communities have passed ordinances in recent months relaxing this restriction)

And then there’s the question: What do you do with the crib and the toys and the dirty diapers? Business Insider reported recently on a young Canadian couple who spent about $20,000 on their 130-square-foot “Wee House.”  At first, they said, it was an “adventure.”

Just 23 and 25 years old, Joanna and Collin Gibson told Business Insider that they “enjoyed getting rid of all the things they didn’t need and living more purposefully.” It was all good, until Joanna found out she was pregnant—and their Wee House fantasies came to a grinding halt.

“The small space for my wife during pregnancy was just a bit much, so we needed to move into town,” Gibson told Business Insider. “And then some pretty crazy, unexpected health challenges came … and we ended up moving in with family. The house just became this thing that we were [literally]hauling from place to place.”

Eventually, they sold the tiny home at a slight profit.

However, Apartment Therapy reports, some tiny home enthusiasts will argue that 600 square feet isn’t all that tiny— more like a “small” studio apartment in New York City. And there are plenty of couples, even families, who live in those.

Research contact: tara@apartmenttherapy.com

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