Tiny homes have been a trend over the past 10+ years, made popular by HGTV shows like "Tiny House, Big Living." Buyers range from college graduates, senior citizens, low-income and those wishing to live a minimalist and affordable lifestyle. Tiny houses are usually 100-650 square feet, and feature scaled-down versions of the living spaces found in standard-sized homes. Their popularity has led to the development of tiny home communities across the U.S. Let’s look at how these communities are growing and accommodating those who wish to live tiny.
Why people choose tiny homes:
- Small and efficient
- Environmentally friendly
- Use less energy
- Less maintenance
- Easier to clean
- Mobile, in some cases
With a third of our income going toward house payments each month, according to the Bureau of Labor, it’s no wonder tiny homes pique the interest of buyers. Many cannot afford large house payments, let alone a large down payment. That's where tiny homes come into play.
Tiny homes can be purchased for as little as $10,000 but others run as high as $300,000, depending on the size and finishes. Lot rent, ranging from $500-$3000/month, utilities, and insurance further increase tiny home costs. The biggest savings come from those who build their tiny home from recycled materials and live off the grid, amounting to as little as a $4000 investment. Whichever price range you choose, there are communities out there to support tiny home owners.
Without tiny home communities, many people would have no place to put their small homes. Mobile tiny homes, built on trailers, are often limited to where they can be parked and for how long (RV parks being a short-term option). Some states don’t allow tiny homes on properties unless they’re on a foundation. Other regulations don't allow the placement of tiny homes in backyards unless they're Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). Despite all that, there are many tiny home communities accommodating the needs of those who wish to occupy tiny homes:
Georgia: Green Bridge Farm
California: Delta Bay Tiny House Resort
Florida: Orlando Lakefront at College Park
Wisconsin: Occupy Madison Village
“Tiny 10” is a tiny home development built on unused lots in Reno, NV. Built on permanent foundations and hooked up to water, electricity and sewer, they average 650 square feet and cost $210,000 - $259,000. All 10 homes were sold within 3 months, reflecting the need for homes and communities like this. HaberRae, the developers of the “Tiny 10” community, believes adding homes to unused lots will not only provide housing but increase the liveliness of the city, reduce environmental damage, and create homes that middle-class people can afford.
In Detroit, MI, Reverend Faith Fowler is building a tiny home development to help rebuild a struggling community. Cass Community Tiny Homes is helping impoverished locals get back on their feet by offering rent-to-own tiny houses to those who couldn’t otherwise afford a home. Houses are 250 - 400 square feet and tenants pay $250 - $400/month. After 7 years, the tenant owns the house.
Tiny home communities are growing across the U.S., providing options for those who choose to downsize or those looking for more affordable housing. Impoverished areas now have an opportunity to heal and grow again through the development of these communities. Living tiny can lessen environmental damage, reduce or eliminate debt, and create home ownership options for lower- and middle-class.
Are you ready to downsize? Look for a local tiny home community in your area and go for it!