Tiny Houses – What Are The Issues? Part I

The tiny house movement continues to grow.  Statistically, tiny houses are still a niche approach to housing, but their significant benefits and unique qualities and attributes appeal to a broad demographic of homeowners, investors, renters and real estate service providers.  Government housing agencies, municipal housing authorities and a number of organizations that provide housing for the homeless, community development agencies, veterans and others are evaluating them as a potential solution to their diverse housing needs.

But tiny houses should not be seen only as an answer to down market or low-income sectors.  Tiny housing appeals broadly to the financially secure – retirees, the independently wealthy, urban dwellers, second home seekers, homesteader who simply want to live simply, and a number of others.

84 Lumber has entered the tiny house market with four prototypes shown below.  The company offers each in a variety of project purchase.  www.84tinyliving.com

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GreenEdge Supply is supporting 84 Lumber in this endeavor.  In order to better serve our customers we are offering this blog as Part I of II that will answer common questions and concerns about tiny houses.  They are based, in part, on blogs authored by our friends at Tiny House Talk, http://bit.ly/1Oo2hBe

What is the tiny house movement?  The tiny house and small house movement is a growing real estate trend where people are choosing to live simply in smaller homes.  It is championed by a diverse socio-economic demographic with a wide variety of interests.  People have always lived in tiny homes of one kind or another.  They enjoy a rich history manifest in everything from yurts and Conestoga wagons, to the indigenous housing of Native Americans.  More recently, living in many efficiency apartments or urban dwellings in countries around the world can be compared to tiny and small home living.

What is a Tiny House?  Most people in the tiny house movement define tiny as between 400 and 1000 square feet.  Others limit the definition of tiny to between 65 to 400 square feet, while small homes range anywhere between 400 to 1700 square feet.  The literature interchanges these terms and definitions, and a singular definition of either is often a matter of opinion.  Size needs usually depend on the number of inhabitants and their lifestyles.  According to the 2010 Census the average size home in the US was 2,392 square feet.  In 1973 the average American home was 1660 square feet; in 2007 it was 2,521 square.  So, while national housing trends – dependent on a number of demographic influences – indicate a turn toward downsizing, tiny homes still represent a significant departure from the norm.

Why are people living tiny?  People are choosing to downsize and live in tiny or small homes for a variety of reasons.  Square footage isn’t as important as many make it out to be, as long as our housing needs are met.  Many tiny house dwellers and investors choose to live in them to significantly reduce mortgages, and other living expenses.  The benfits and value of living in a tiny house are different for individuals entering the housing market than those typically considered by previous homeowners, renters or anyone near or in their retirement years.  According to this CNN article from 2013, 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.  In all cases, living in a well-designed tiny house is far better than not having adequate housing.  So, for many the idea of a small home, or even a tiny house, merits serious consideration.

For others, the real driver behind the tiny house movement is simply being more conscious about how we live.  This includes the purchasing and consumption decisions we make, and enabling even deeper things, such as making and reaching goals in our lives.  Tiny house living can free the financial resources, and rid ourselves of the unnecessary ‘baggage’ that keeps us from succeeding – all while living in a greener, healthier, more energy and resource efficient home.

GreenEdge Supply supports 84 Lumber in their quest to provide quality tiny houses.  We will post additional blogs in the subject in the coming weeks.  Until then, feel free to contact us at www.greenedgesupply.com and www.84tinyliving.com.

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