Author Topic: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?  (Read 34441 times)

sheepstache

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #50 on: March 30, 2016, 11:00:17 AM »
ITT:  A bunch of posts denigrating tiny homes by people who would never own one.  So insightful!  Not to mention the implication that being a minimalist is undersirable or a "phase".  <rolls eyes>

I consider myself a minimalist, and the reason I'm not interested in a tiny home is because I don't think it's the optimal way to serve my desire for minimalism and efficiency, both environmental and personal. I think that apartment living in a densely-populated area is a much better option.

My 450 sq ft studio apartment (at least twice as large as many tiny homes) meets many of my goals for personal efficiency - less of a personal "footprint," fewer possessions, geographic and financial flexibility, efficient use of shared resources, often don't need a car. But it avoids the inefficiencies that are inherent in tiny homes. A lot of tiny home people put their houses on too much of another scarce resource - land - just because they like the idea of having a large lot (okay, I say, but lots of people also just "like the idea" of a large house on a large lot, or a large boat, or whatever the hell. Just because you like it doesn't mean it's minimalist/environmentally sustainable/efficient). They have to either buy or lease that space, and often drive appreciable distances to get to work, school, the grocery store, etc. Utilities such as electricity and plumbing need to be specially extended to the lot. In all but the mildest climates, keeping a house like that appropriately insulated and cooled/heated is inefficient and expensive, because there are no shared walls. I really liked David Owen's book Green Metropolis, the thesis of which is that dense communities are more sustainable, even though our collective idea of what "sustainability" looks like probably involves living somewhere that feels like the woods.

TL;DR: If you're comparing a tiny house to a regular "too much house in the suburbs scenario," sure, tiny homes are more minimalist. But they're hardly the only option, and IMO, definitely not the best one.

I hear you about dense urban living being more efficient, but I think tiny homes can split the difference to cover the in between area. Some people don't want to live in the city; they have jobs that aren't in the city; they want some land, etc.; but they consider the rest of the suburban lifestyle overbloated.  Or too expensive! In many places they are not served by a rental market. Or this is cheaper. Or the only options are apartment complexes. 

In other words, I'm not sure all or even most of the tiny home people are convinced they have made the _most_ efficient choice, I think they realize they're following certain preferences (and, again, let's remember not everyone can work in a city) that don't tend exactly towards the ideal.

tobitonic

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2016, 11:13:36 AM »
Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

You, sir, win the thread. :D

Kitsune

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2016, 11:49:36 AM »

Have you actually seen the living conditions for a family with children living in 200-400sq ft in some of those countries you mentioned? I have. The living conditions are usually abysmal. Just because one can do it, or that it has been done for centuries, does not mean it is ideal. It just means that is what it takes to survive. Every animal needs sufficient space. People in developing nations often live in extremely small spaces usually because they canít afford anything better. I think itís a bit out of touch to make it seem like a person who chooses a larger space like 1200 sq ft for 4 people is somehow missing the boat, when in reality, very few of the worldís population living in 200sq ft would purposefully choose something that small for their own families if they had the option of something a bit larger. Letís not glorify poverty by comparing it to intentional minimalism practiced by those who always have the option of choosing something different if they change their minds. This is sort of like how people glorify homebirth and herbal remedies over medicine and hospitals because poor people in other countries do it - well yeah, they don't have any other choice. It doesn't make it the safer, healthier, or preferred way to do things. You just make do when there is no other option.

I should mention our family of 3 (plus 2 large dogs) live in a 1500sq ft space, and we feel like we could fit one more child here before it gets too crowded. So I'm not exactly into McMansion style space requirements either.

This, KINDA.

I think it depends on how much space you can outsource.

For example, I think I could happily fit our family in a 500sf condo in the heart of Montreal (nearest large city) - oh, kids wanna run around? Parks. You wanna go read? Library. Classes? Library, gym, community center, etc. Want a workshop? Rent or share one for a few hours a month. Etc. Or in a warmer location, where what you really need is space to eat/store stuff/sleep, and most of the daily activities of living can be done outdoors year-round (with adequate rain coverage, I suppose.

We live in a 2500sf house in the country, in rural quebec... but it houses our office (we wtf a few days a week), our pantry (25km from the grocery store), our books (20km from a FANTASTIC library, but it's not like we go every day), a large floor space in the basement where kids can play (especially useful when it's pouring rain or -20 and we can't send them outside), etc. Living where we do, we'd absolutely go bonkers and step over each other if we had to live in a tiny-tiny house and had nowhere else to go.

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2016, 12:58:30 PM »
How can opinions about tiny houses be well thought when no one is discussing land? I would hope people spend more time outside their houses than inside them. If not, well that's unfortunate.

Certainly a Tiny House would be a lot more comfortable in a mild climate if it were attached to a nice deck/screened porch. That could double your living space.

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2016, 12:59:16 PM »
Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

You, sir, win the thread. :D

Glad you enjoyed it :)

zoltani

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2016, 01:08:26 PM »
My tiny home will be a cargo van, but this too seems to be rising in popularity. Hopefully this popularity will also fade and I'll be able to find a nice van for cheap in a few years.

GuitarStv

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2016, 01:28:56 PM »
How can opinions about tiny houses be well thought when no one is discussing land? I would hope people spend more time outside their houses than inside them. If not, well that's unfortunate.

Certainly a Tiny House would be a lot more comfortable in a mild climate if it were attached to a nice deck/screened porch. That could double your living space.

We have three months of very poor tobogganing weather each year where that would work nicely.

Villanelle

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2016, 02:07:30 PM »
I believe the tiny homes are a fad, and I'll be curious when the tiny homes get sold off for 50% less or lower than what they cost new.

Some of them are beautiful.

I live in a big 1800 sq ft home with 3 kids who will grow up into very large teenagers before they leave.   Our space feels big now but it will feel smaller in a few short years when the boys grow more.  We could certainly live in a smaller home but we've had this one for a long time and transaction costs are expensive.  I doubt we'd get a better deal moving and we like our location so we stay.

I fantasize about the second home or retirement home on a lake, up north.  A small cottage would be wonderful in some ways, but not in others.  Right now I am close to everything, shopping, medical, the arts, it's all very easy and I would be choosy about trading for another location that had good location and amenities. 

Isn't real estate about location, location, location?

I was reading the millionaire next door blog a few days ago.  Thomas Stanley found that where you buy your house matters a lot in your ability to become wealthy.  Basically, you don't over-buy in house.  But if people are under-buying in house and not considering their real long term needs, and just buying to be cool.... they are wasting so much money!!  And Dave Ramsey tells people not to buy mobile homes because they are depreciating assets, just like cars.  He suggests buying a real home (when financially ready) because they will at least hold value over time, and generally slowly rise in value.

Home selection is a big deal financially.

We scored with our house in this regard -- we bought a moderately priced house in an attractive location and the house was ugly and on the market for quite a while, price reduced before we bought it.

I feel like you are trying to shoehorn everyone everywhere into your situation.  Not everyone has three kids or even wants kids or kids just being born are 5-10 years out.  Also I dont think you would see major percent losses on tiny homes as the land value is a significant fraction of the cost and would be maintained (all else equal).

If the Tiny House Hunters show is an accurate measure of a typical tiny home transaction, most are sold without land.  The owners may then go on to buy land, but that is a separate transaction.  Usually they are just buying the structure, some of which can be towed with a large vehicle and others of which require specialty moving by tractor trailer (I guess).  Just the structures (which are usually 120-300sqft) are usually in the $15k-60k range. 

Actually, I suspect a lot of people buy these things and then struggle to find a place to park them, or end up paying far more in land rental than they imagined, as many of those on the show don't seem to have though things through very well (which might just be playing things up for "reality" TV). 

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2016, 02:13:15 PM »
I believe the tiny homes are a fad, and I'll be curious when the tiny homes get sold off for 50% less or lower than what they cost new.

Some of them are beautiful.

I live in a big 1800 sq ft home with 3 kids who will grow up into very large teenagers before they leave.   Our space feels big now but it will feel smaller in a few short years when the boys grow more.  We could certainly live in a smaller home but we've had this one for a long time and transaction costs are expensive.  I doubt we'd get a better deal moving and we like our location so we stay.

I fantasize about the second home or retirement home on a lake, up north.  A small cottage would be wonderful in some ways, but not in others.  Right now I am close to everything, shopping, medical, the arts, it's all very easy and I would be choosy about trading for another location that had good location and amenities. 

Isn't real estate about location, location, location?

I was reading the millionaire next door blog a few days ago.  Thomas Stanley found that where you buy your house matters a lot in your ability to become wealthy.  Basically, you don't over-buy in house.  But if people are under-buying in house and not considering their real long term needs, and just buying to be cool.... they are wasting so much money!!  And Dave Ramsey tells people not to buy mobile homes because they are depreciating assets, just like cars.  He suggests buying a real home (when financially ready) because they will at least hold value over time, and generally slowly rise in value.

Home selection is a big deal financially.

We scored with our house in this regard -- we bought a moderately priced house in an attractive location and the house was ugly and on the market for quite a while, price reduced before we bought it.

I feel like you are trying to shoehorn everyone everywhere into your situation.  Not everyone has three kids or even wants kids or kids just being born are 5-10 years out.  Also I dont think you would see major percent losses on tiny homes as the land value is a significant fraction of the cost and would be maintained (all else equal).

If the Tiny House Hunters show is an accurate measure of a typical tiny home transaction, most are sold without land.  The owners may then go on to buy land, but that is a separate transaction.  Usually they are just buying the structure, some of which can be towed with a large vehicle and others of which require specialty moving by tractor trailer (I guess).  Just the structures (which are usually 120-300sqft) are usually in the $15k-60k range. 

Actually, I suspect a lot of people buy these things and then struggle to find a place to park them, or end up paying far more in land rental than they imagined, as many of those on the show don't seem to have though things through very well (which might just be playing things up for "reality" TV).

That, or they're bumming on someone else's land/in their backyard based on their host's generosity, which is great, but it's disguising the true costs. It's like the people who say that they only spent $500 on their wedding because, well, their photographer friend worked for free, their aunt baked the cake, mom sewed the dress...

Telecaster

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #59 on: March 30, 2016, 06:17:58 PM »
I was just invoking the old Groucho Marx philosophy.

I laughed.  Kind of true though. 

Gerard

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2016, 06:20:16 AM »
Tiny/small houses could be a practical long term option, both for straw-man hipsters and for me, if we could change the rules that require them to be on wheels. There's absolutely no reason for them to cost even half of what they do. The casitas and chattel houses of the Caribbean are small, efficient, cheap to build, and (if this matters) really cute. I've spent the past week in New Orleans, walking past houses that are about 8 by 20 and thinking, "I would totally live there."

But, but, as others here have pointed out, they're nowhere near as efficient as apartments. Some of the small multi-function apartments I've seen in design books are crazy beautiful and smart.

Also, while I laughed at the grad degree and blog comment, the same kind of thing could be said for almost all optimized living. Doesn't choosing not to have a car lead to the same lifestyle as losing your license for DUI and having to figure out other ways to get around? Isn't being a vegan much like Eating While Broke? Are backyard chickens in Portland different from backyard chickens in rural Arkansas?

Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2016, 06:35:34 AM »
Also, while I laughed at the grad degree and blog comment, the same kind of thing could be said for almost all optimized living. Doesn't choosing not to have a car lead to the same lifestyle as losing your license for DUI and having to figure out other ways to get around? Isn't being a vegan much like Eating While Broke? Are backyard chickens in Portland different from backyard chickens in rural Arkansas?

well said!

GuitarStv

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2016, 07:10:35 AM »
Isn't being a vegan much like Eating While Broke?

No.  By law, all vegans must mention their veganness at least seven or eight times an hour to everyone within earshot.  Most people who are broke try not to draw attention to their diet.

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #63 on: March 31, 2016, 11:19:54 AM »
When I see them on TV shows mostly they are buying a piece of land and a tiny house to use as a vacation cabin spot. That makes total sense.  When we lived in upstate NY many people had what they called camps on a lake. They were pretty small and you went there in the summer when you could be outside a lot.

notactiveanymore

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2016, 11:29:26 AM »
The worst one I saw on Tiny House Hunter's was a family of four with two elementary school kids.

The "house" they chose was a shipping container with about 160 sqft and most of it was taken up with a "built-in" that had a twin size bunk bed on top and a trundle bed on the bottom. The kitchen was a microwave stand and the only sink was in the bathroom. I do believe the bathroom had a door at least. But because of the built-in, the amount of walkable space in the shipping container was about the size required for breeders to give per puppy. And anytime they moved it they would have to hire a crane. At the end of the show, it showed the trundle bed half-way pulled out and the children sitting uncomfortably on it. I think they only paid about 10k, but they were living in it in their backyard at the time of the show and claiming it was all to get out of debt. They were not in a high-rent area, so the whole thing seemed like a horrible decision and a not very efficient method to get out of debt.

Sorry, but I still think about that family regularly, that's how ridiculous that episode was.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the (very small) movement of tiny homes. I dislike the way the conversation is frequently framed. Some say they don't want to pay rent anymore and want to invest in home ownership. Others say they want to cut their expenses and save money. I don't buy either argument for the vast majority of tiny home owners. I don't think there is a solid argument showing that these homes would retain or increase in value. Perhaps they might, but I doubt anyone would argue they'd be on the same trendlines as traditional homes.

In terms of cutting expenses, it's impossible to know how many of these people are paying for their purchase. I think the general population of those who go on TV shows or appear in magazines are the types that are financing the tiny house. So you've still got a monthly living cost. Then you've either got to buy land, rent land, or rent a campground/mobile home spot. OR use Mom & Dad's backyard, which seems to be a not unpopular choice. I work in utilities, so I'm frequently curious about how these people think they can just park a tiny house on the top of a hill and have running water in their sink and electricity for their tv without paying serious bucks for the connections. I know some have composting toilets and a few have had a single PV panel, but you're not able to store that power anywhere, so enjoy your three hours of electricity each day! Others have generators, but those are not exactly cheap to run either.

I just wish everything wasn't glossy magazine stories and HGTV shows. I love observing housing trends and the nitty gritty details. I hate when they wrap things up in cliches and staging.

ohana

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2016, 11:37:26 AM »
"I'm renting right now, and wow these shiny new tiny homes sure are cheap and sure do look attractive. I hear it's fashionable now to own as few things as possible and be a 'minimalist', so I surely can find like minded people pretty quickly. I'll find a cheap piece of land and lock in my tiny housing costs forever!"

1-3 years later:

"Wow this thing is fucking small. I'm getting sick of always being within 10 ft of the person I'm living with. I don't own much, but some storage would be nice. I'm eating out more because my kitchen is so damn impractical and it's harder to cook in than a fairly spacious kitchen. I'm also making lots of money cause I live in a prosperous country so I think I'll sell this place and get into something I can breathe in".

ME:  "Wow these shiny houses in Maine sure are big compared to what I could afford in Florida!  So much room to spread out and have guests come and stay!  And hey, I hear it's fashionable to get an old home with character!  Plus I hear I get a huge tax deduction on my interest -- this'll be a very affordable place to live."

1-3 years later

"Wow this thing is fucking big. I'm getting sick of always being in the kitchen on one side of the house when the comfy addition in on the other side. I filled that damn basement with crap pretty fast, didn't I -- do I really need it? It's just accumulating dust like everything else I have to clean in this place.  Gosh, no one really visits often anyways, so those extra rooms are sitting there eating up my tax dollars.  Oh and this house is so expensive to keep up with all it's charming "character".  I'm eating out more because my kitchen cold and I can't afford the heat for this clownishly large house. I'm also making lots of money cause I live in a prosperous country so I think I'll sell this place and get into something smaller so I'm not a slave to this damn house."

It's all about perspective.  I l-o-v-e love my tiny funky condo (500sf) and will try to avoid homes larger than 800 sf for the rest of my life.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 11:39:27 AM by ohana »

dodojojo

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2016, 12:35:41 PM »
Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

I had an epiphany about trailer homes just last week.  You, sir, just articulated my brain wanderings succinctly.

So I was daydreaming of having a bit of a yard since I'm a life-long apartment dweller.  I admitted tiny houses were too tiny for me but that I'd love to have a 600 square detached home with a similarly-sized yard and I would spend just as much time in the yard as the house. Therefore I would have plenty of living space for myself and pets.  Then it hit me that what I was idealizing already existed...trailer homes and parks.

And I was a bit horrified and shut down the daydream.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #67 on: March 31, 2016, 12:38:08 PM »
There are several sub-700 sf detached houses for sale around me at all times. Many are even in good areas. You might be surprised at the non-trailer options.

maco

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #68 on: March 31, 2016, 12:54:32 PM »
I know some have composting toilets and a few have had a single PV panel, but you're not able to store that power anywhere, so enjoy your three hours of electricity each day!
Batteries?

dodojojo

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2016, 12:58:19 PM »
There are several sub-700 sf detached houses for sale around me at all times. Many are even in good areas. You might be surprised at the non-trailer options.

I'm just outside of DC and a little further out, there are many old sub-800 square foot homes.  But nearly all of them are situated on enormous lots (to me anyway as a apartment dweller).  Suffice to say, many of these homes are being bought and enlarged.  Or scrapped and replaced by much bigger houses.

Kaspian

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2016, 01:30:09 PM »
I actually think the tiny home movement is just now taking off and will only get bigger.  Sure, it's old news to us Mustachians but I've only recently heard people who aren't involved with or interested in FIRE bring it up in conversation.  That means it's finally getting some mainstream traction. 

Altons Bobs

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #71 on: March 31, 2016, 01:57:38 PM »
I don't know if it's going to fade out, but I love Tiny House Hunters!  I look forward to it every week.  I cannot see myself living in one full time, but I don't mind having one as a play house, it would be so much fun!  :-D

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #72 on: March 31, 2016, 02:19:25 PM »
2 big houses on one lot is awful. Thankfully that is not happening here. Although people buy small houses and add on which is fine.

Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #73 on: March 31, 2016, 02:27:27 PM »
"Wow this thing is fucking big. I'm getting sick of always being in the kitchen on one side of the house when the comfy addition in on the other side. I filled that damn basement with crap pretty fast, didn't I -- do I really need it? It's just accumulating dust like everything else I have to clean in this place.  Gosh, no one really visits often anyways, so those extra rooms are sitting there eating up my tax dollars.  Oh and this house is so expensive to keep up with all it's charming "character".  I'm eating out more because my kitchen cold and I can't afford the heat for this clownishly large house. I'm also making lots of money cause I live in a prosperous country so I think I'll sell this place and get into something smaller so I'm not a slave to this damn house."

YES! When I was looking for my next place I saw a really fabulous home, huge kitchen with granite counters, huge fenced yard, big heated garage. I could see how beautiful it was, but all I could think was "no way in h3ll I'm mowing that lawn twice a week all summer" I can't wait to downsize into my 800sf condo and shed all my clownish junk.

Jeremy E.

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #74 on: March 31, 2016, 02:28:03 PM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/are-tiny-houses-a-fad-or-will-they-endure-the-test-of-time/
so this thread already exists it seems. I thought I remembered seeing it before.

Villanelle

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #75 on: March 31, 2016, 02:39:11 PM »
2 big houses on one lot is awful. Thankfully that is not happening here. Although people buy small houses and add on which is fine.

In the area we are temporarily living, it's often 3 houses per lot.  An old house (probably 800-1000 sqft in most cases) is leveled.  In its place go two narrow places (attached in the middle like a duplex), and a third unit that runs parallel to the street is built behind them, accessed by a narrow sidewalk running along one of the front units.  It's side wall shares the back wall of the 2 front units. They tend to be 1200-1800sqft, though some are larger, and they sell for about $1000 per sqft. 

It is happening left and right in this small town.  From my rental apartment, I can hear the sounds of construction  as this happens across the back alley from me, and there was recently a unit posted about the vacant home next door and an application for a permit to level it.  No doubt they will build several units there as well.  Right now it has a decent sized yard (HUUuuge for this area) and what looks to be an unattached garage converted in to an apartment at some point.I bet they could make 4 townhouses, if they wanted to.  Thankfully, we should be gone before that construction starts.   

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #76 on: March 31, 2016, 02:43:18 PM »
More houses on one lot is great! Higher density in already urbanized areas is how you reduce sprawl pressure on the periphery, make it more likely public transit will be viable, and increase the odds of the walkability of a neighborhood, because services will want to locate themselves near more people. In my area everybody wants to reserve funds to preserve 'open space' but all they have to do to reduce development of farmland is upzone existing single-family areas in the inner suburbs.

maco

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #77 on: March 31, 2016, 02:57:07 PM »
"Wow this thing is fucking big. I'm getting sick of always being in the kitchen on one side of the house when the comfy addition in on the other side. I filled that damn basement with crap pretty fast, didn't I -- do I really need it? It's just accumulating dust like everything else I have to clean in this place.  Gosh, no one really visits often anyways, so those extra rooms are sitting there eating up my tax dollars.  Oh and this house is so expensive to keep up with all it's charming "character".  I'm eating out more because my kitchen cold and I can't afford the heat for this clownishly large house. I'm also making lots of money cause I live in a prosperous country so I think I'll sell this place and get into something smaller so I'm not a slave to this damn house."

YES! When I was looking for my next place I saw a really fabulous home, huge kitchen with granite counters, huge fenced yard, big heated garage. I could see how beautiful it was, but all I could think was "no way in h3ll I'm mowing that lawn twice a week all summer" I can't wait to downsize into my 800sf condo and shed all my clownish junk.
Twice a week?? O_o Who mows twice a week?

I bought a little house on 1/4 acre. My family were all very skeptical of the big lawn. I'm working on converting about 1/4 of the back yard to a permaculture food forest, and then another 1/4 of it will be a brick patio. A good chunk of what's between those is a vegetable garden.

bobechs

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #78 on: March 31, 2016, 04:13:52 PM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/are-tiny-houses-a-fad-or-will-they-endure-the-test-of-time/
so this thread already exists it seems. I thought I remembered seeing it before.


Say something once, why say it again?

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Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #79 on: March 31, 2016, 04:26:03 PM »
Twice a week?? O_o Who mows twice a week?

The house I was looking at is in the Corn Belt, in the summer grass grows like crazy here.

Jeremy E.

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #80 on: March 31, 2016, 04:30:50 PM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/are-tiny-houses-a-fad-or-will-they-endure-the-test-of-time/
so this thread already exists it seems. I thought I remembered seeing it before.


Say something once, why say it again?

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It seems I posted on that other thread as well, and at that time I appreciated tiny homes much less. Now I see them as a viable option for someone in a unique situation.

Zikoris

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #81 on: March 31, 2016, 05:26:10 PM »
Well, they're certainly gaining popularity in Vancouver. A few years ago the city changed the laws to allow people to build laneway/coach houses, and I'm starting to see them going up for rent on Craigslist these days. Obviously an apartment building is more efficient, but these are pretty good for neighbourhoods that have non-apartment-building zoning. I probably won't end up living in one while I'm in Vancouver simply because I love living downtown, but if one of my boyfriend's relatives with some extra back yard space wanted to go halfsies on building one we might consider it.

Rollin

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #82 on: April 01, 2016, 08:30:51 AM »
They may be cheaper than conventional homes, but they aren't cheap!

As to your question, its all about choices and the consequences for those decisions. That's what this forum is all about.

I lived in a 23 foot long travel trailer  while going to college. No AC in FLA, small, but affordable for sure. $125/month. I loved it, but moved out (sold the trailer) when I moved into a dorm at another school.

I also assume you are talking mostly about people in the US getting tired of the small space, because most people outside the US would feel it was luxurious. Not sure what makes us this way, but it might be the billions of dollars that the builders and retailers, etc. spend on advertising to tell  us what we need to be happy and fit in, be the man/the woman/the cool person/the smart person/the deserving person etc. etc. etc.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #83 on: April 01, 2016, 08:40:49 AM »
More houses on one lot is great! Higher density in already urbanized areas is how you reduce sprawl pressure on the periphery, make it more likely public transit will be viable, and increase the odds of the walkability of a neighborhood, because services will want to locate themselves near more people. In my area everybody wants to reserve funds to preserve 'open space' but all they have to do to reduce development of farmland is upzone existing single-family areas in the inner suburbs.
But they aren't building small space multi-units but a couple of 4000 sf houses for one small family. Plus making the area much more unaffordable for regular working class and even middle class people who have to move far out of town to get affordable housing (and causing even a larger building boom of lower cost housing and services in periphery areas) and commute long distances in for jobs. Now if they took those same lots and build a couple or 3 small houses or small apts/condos then I'd totally agree with you.

They are building two houses on one lot, but only one family will be using the lot? That's bizarre.

However, building dense market-rate housing increases the availability of housing where there's demand. The people moving in to those homes would be driving up demand someplace else, and when they move out of whatever unit they were in to their new unit, they're increasing availability to low- and moderate- income people. Restricting building of new housing because it causes "gentrification" does not help the poor.

MayDay

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #84 on: April 01, 2016, 08:54:09 AM »
It is an interesting thing to ponder. 

We sold our ~2600 sq foot house plus basement and want to downsize to ~1200 plus basement, with 2 elementary kids.  The main reason we want a basement is to throw the kids down there in the winter.  If we lived in a temperate climate that would matter less.

It is hard to find in our area- most houses that started that size have awful additions, and in cities those small houses are razed.   I wish there was zoning that limited sq footage or total height or something. 

I would really love to someday have either a duplex with family on the other side, or a carriage house type structure (basically, a tiny house) in the backyard to house an aging parent.  That type of housing is not readily available anywhere I have lived, though.  And building it seems cost prohibitive. 

Zikoris

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #85 on: April 01, 2016, 09:35:06 AM »
One concept I think IS here to stay, and probably continue to grow substantially, is the trend towards smaller living spaces overall in the form of smaller apartments and condos. At least in major cities. It's really the only way to affordably house the sheer volume of people migrating to big cities, and it's already the norm in much of the world outside of north america.

nobody123

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2016, 10:05:42 AM »
The worst one I saw on Tiny House Hunter's was a family of four with two elementary school kids.

The "house" they chose was a shipping container with about 160 sqft and most of it was taken up with a "built-in" that had a twin size bunk bed on top and a trundle bed on the bottom.

According to the United Nations, prisoners are entitled to 3.4 square meters per person in a shared cell.  So a family of four would need a minimum of 147 square feet to meet the sanitary requirements of a third world prison. 

https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/FINAL_GFP_Prison_Evaluation_Checklist_-_July_2014.pdf

Villanelle

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #87 on: April 01, 2016, 12:39:51 PM »
They may be cheaper than conventional homes, but they aren't cheap!

As to your question, its all about choices and the consequences for those decisions. That's what this forum is all about.

I lived in a 23 foot long travel trailer  while going to college. No AC in FLA, small, but affordable for sure. $125/month. I loved it, but moved out (sold the trailer) when I moved into a dorm at another school.

I also assume you are talking mostly about people in the US getting tired of the small space, because most people outside the US would feel it was luxurious. Not sure what makes us this way, but it might be the billions of dollars that the builders and retailers, etc. spend on advertising to tell  us what we need to be happy and fit in, be the man/the woman/the cool person/the smart person/the deserving person etc. etc. etc.

I don't know about that.  I've lived in Germany and Japan (not too far from Tokyo, so an area known for smaller homes and density) and didn't know anyone who lived in >250 sqft.  Perhaps those are popular in downtown Tokyo, but I don't think that's how the average Japanese family lives.  According to the link below, Hong Kong and China have the smallest average square footage per person, and they are still at 15 and 20 sqm/pp, which is 160-215 sqft.  And that's per person, not per home, which most homes having more than one person, meaning they would be much larger than many of these tiny homes, which seem to be generally defined as 300sqft or less.  Certainly even they wouldn't think a 150 or 200 sqft home was anything close to luxurious. 

Rollin

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #88 on: April 02, 2016, 05:05:30 AM »
They may be cheaper than conventional homes, but they aren't cheap!

As to your question, its all about choices and the consequences for those decisions. That's what this forum is all about.

I lived in a 23 foot long travel trailer  while going to college. No AC in FLA, small, but affordable for sure. $125/month. I loved it, but moved out (sold the trailer) when I moved into a dorm at another school.

I also assume you are talking mostly about people in the US getting tired of the small space, because most people outside the US would feel it was luxurious. Not sure what makes us this way, but it might be the billions of dollars that the builders and retailers, etc. spend on advertising to tell  us what we need to be happy and fit in, be the man/the woman/the cool person/the smart person/the deserving person etc. etc. etc.

I don't know about that.  I've lived in Germany and Japan (not too far from Tokyo, so an area known for smaller homes and density) and didn't know anyone who lived in >250 sqft.  Perhaps those are popular in downtown Tokyo, but I don't think that's how the average Japanese family lives.  According to the link below, Hong Kong and China have the smallest average square footage per person, and they are still at 15 and 20 sqm/pp, which is 160-215 sqft.  And that's per person, not per home, which most homes having more than one person, meaning they would be much larger than many of these tiny homes, which seem to be generally defined as 300sqft or less.  Certainly even they wouldn't think a 150 or 200 sqft home was anything close to luxurious.

I have a friend building one and it is 400 sq. feet. For him and his wife, not a larger family. The affect on me would probably cause me to be outside more, which for many people is not such a bad thing.

On the other hand, I have been in some homes that there are two people and they have about 5-6,000 square feet (not their only home). Wow, what a contrast to have a bathroom bigger than my friend's house (actually, two or three of the bathrooms are bigger).

AlanStache

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #89 on: April 02, 2016, 06:45:09 AM »
More houses on one lot is great! Higher density in already urbanized areas is how you reduce sprawl pressure on the periphery, make it more likely public transit will be viable, and increase the odds of the walkability of a neighborhood, because services will want to locate themselves near more people. In my area everybody wants to reserve funds to preserve 'open space' but all they have to do to reduce development of farmland is upzone existing single-family areas in the inner suburbs.
But they aren't building small space multi-units but a couple of 4000 sf houses for one small family. Plus making the area much more unaffordable for regular working class and even middle class people who have to move far out of town to get affordable housing (and causing even a larger building boom of lower cost housing and services in periphery areas) and commute long distances in for jobs. Now if they took those same lots and build a couple or 3 small houses or small apts/condos then I'd totally agree with you.

They are building two houses on one lot, but only one family will be using the lot? That's bizarre.

However, building dense market-rate housing increases the availability of housing where there's demand. The people moving in to those homes would be driving up demand someplace else, and when they move out of whatever unit they were in to their new unit, they're increasing availability to low- and moderate- income people. Restricting building of new housing because it causes "gentrification" does not help the poor.
Yes, one 4000 sf house for the parents and a second 4000 sf house for the kids. It's the American Dream ;-)!!

I meant one small family for each house. These are people who are generally upsizing from already existing smaller homes, condos or apts that are already located in the urban area. They aren't downsizing but are really trying to live large. And many of the tear downs are done from older smaller multi unit dwellings that are on the large single lots (several small cottages on a lot) so they are often decreasing available housing.

In addition the type of large houses they build are huge and have a big environmental impact to tear down and build as well as very high energy requirements to heat and cool. I'd rather see 8 1000 sf townhomes or 16 500 sf apts being built than 2 mcmansions. Of course if I lived in that neighbor hood I'd rather just continue to see small 700 sf single story homes being built even if they divided up the lots.

Sorry for going mildly OT but are there parking rules for these new double McMansions?  Do all the newly added residents park on the street?

brycedoula

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #90 on: April 02, 2016, 10:42:57 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

Thank you for saying this. Another point: I live in Manitoba, where it's -40 C in the winter. I NEED to have a variety of clothing/footwear to live where I do, ie decent winter boots, parka & other cold-weather accessories. Things items take up not-insignificant space, which is at a premium in a tiny home. And summer clothes are needed as well, obviously. I feel like a tiny home makes sense in places like California or Texas, where one could get away with fewer clothing items.

Kitsune

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #91 on: April 02, 2016, 11:23:25 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

Thank you for saying this. Another point: I live in Manitoba, where it's -40 C in the winter. I NEED to have a variety of clothing/footwear to live where I do, ie decent winter boots, parka & other cold-weather accessories. Things items take up not-insignificant space, which is at a premium in a tiny home. And summer clothes are needed as well, obviously. I feel like a tiny home makes sense in places like California or Texas, where one could get away with fewer clothing items.

Also: you need to live near a grocery store, because you can't buy in bulk and work out of a well-stocked pantry and chest freezer in a tiny house.

You should live near a library if you like to read (or I suppose only read Ebooks)

You should have hobbies that are either outside or in another location - forget setting up a sewing table in a tiny house, for example.

The stuff of living takes space. You can either live with the space (slightly larger but not McMansion house), outsource it (library/outdoors/etc), or buy new every time you need something you can't store.

sheepstache

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #92 on: April 02, 2016, 12:21:17 PM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

Thank you for saying this. Another point: I live in Manitoba, where it's -40 C in the winter. I NEED to have a variety of clothing/footwear to live where I do, ie decent winter boots, parka & other cold-weather accessories. Things items take up not-insignificant space, which is at a premium in a tiny home. And summer clothes are needed as well, obviously. I feel like a tiny home makes sense in places like California or Texas, where one could get away with fewer clothing items.

Also: you need to live near a grocery store, because you can't buy in bulk and work out of a well-stocked pantry and chest freezer in a tiny house.

You should live near a library if you like to read (or I suppose only read Ebooks)

You should have hobbies that are either outside or in another location - forget setting up a sewing table in a tiny house, for example.

The stuff of living takes space. You can either live with the space (slightly larger but not McMansion house), outsource it (library/outdoors/etc), or buy new every time you need something you can't store.

Not super related, but does anyone remember that show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? I remember one episode where they made fun of a couple for having a big pack of toilet paper ("What, are you stockpiling for the apocalypse?") and between that and the "let's fix everything by giving people a space-saving LCD TV" it kind of turned me off the show, like, don't make fun of people for saving money. It would be a fair point that in a place where square footage is extremely dear that saving 10 cents a roll but being miserable in your remaining space or feeling you have to spend an extra $500/month on a bigger place doesn't make sense, but they didn't put it in those terms.

Primm

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #93 on: April 03, 2016, 02:07:11 AM »
I remember back in college how a grad assistant teaching a humanities course said that mobile homes are a cost-effective, low-environmental impact way to house everyone in the country, but that the stigma associated with them prevents their widespread adoption. 

To me it seems to be a safety issue.  But maybe that's tornado alley speaking.
Even occupants in a house without a basement have better outcomes than those in mobile homes.

Not necessarily...

Check out what this guy did in Fiji.

Albert

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #94 on: April 03, 2016, 05:44:03 AM »
A bit off-topic: I think you are exaggerating how much smaller on average are living spaces in other wealthy countries (Europe, parts of East Asia). Smaller than in US undoubtedly, but not completely tiny either. Just anecdotally among my friends living in the city the standard apartment sizes would be 300-600 sq ft per person (former for those with kids, latter for those living alone). Those living in suburbs/villages have more.

The bigger difference is in the size of land. Swiss houses are usually built on rather small plots (ca 6,6500 sq ft) and not much is left for a garden.

iris lily

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #95 on: April 03, 2016, 09:22:16 AM »
A bit off-topic: I think you are exaggerating how much smaller on average are living spaces in other wealthy countries (Europe, parts of East Asia). Smaller than in US undoubtedly, but not completely tiny either. Just anecdotally among my friends living in the city the standard apartment sizes would be 300-600 sq ft per person (former for those with kids, latter for those living alone). Those living in suburbs/villages have more.

The bigger difference is in the size of land. Swiss houses are usually built on rather small plots (ca 6,6500 sq ft) and not much is left for a garden.
Was just thnkng of all,of the houses of our Swiss relatives. They seemed pretty big to me. We stayed in various old houses, I mean really old, in the Rhine Valley.

One youngish cousin had a newish house and it was more modest in size.

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #96 on: April 03, 2016, 10:56:40 AM »
In Poland it is common for a house to be 1,000 sq ft and 4 people live there. Also homes that hold 2 families are common with one family living up and one in the downs-stairs apartment.  They use some of the rooms for multi-purpose.  So the girls' room is also the computer room when she is up for the day. There is a coach for the boy to sleep on in the DR.  I didn't see any homes with more then 1 bathroom. The washer is in the kitchen and no dryer.

iris lily

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #97 on: April 03, 2016, 11:35:33 AM »
In Poland it is common for a house to be 1,000 sq ft and 4 people live there. Also homes that hold 2 families are common with one family living up and one in the downs-stairs apartment.  They use some of the rooms for multi-purpose.  So the girls' room is also the computer room when she is up for the day. There is a coach for the boy to sleep on in the DR.  I didn't see any homes with more then 1 bathroom. The washer is in the kitchen and no dryer.
Yes, one bathroom was common with our Swiss relatives. I thnk at least ne old house had outdoor  water suppy amd sink/sewer for washng up

Gerard

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #98 on: April 03, 2016, 12:30:01 PM »
I think the original point being made about people in other countries living in tiny spaces was to show that there's no inherent reason for humans to need 500 square feet each. So that point can be convincingly made even if only, say, ten percent of the urban world (hello, Hong Kong and Tokyo) live in such small spaces.

wrt "you'd better live near a grocery/library", yeah, but doesn't increased population density make it much easier for that to happen? Or for rotating urban farmer's markets to be economically feasible?

I also wonder to what degree we overstate the amount of storage space we think we need. I mean, I get that at least a few people on this site have near-prepper levels of insourced food, but I'm pretty sure all my inefficient food/utensils storage has a footprint of about 20 sq ft (fridge, a few cupboards). And I could probably go about three weeks without running out of food.

Albert

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #99 on: April 03, 2016, 01:19:03 PM »
I think the original point being made about people in other countries living in tiny spaces was to show that there's no inherent reason for humans to need 500 square feet each. So that point can be convincingly made even if only, say, ten percent of the urban world (hello, Hong Kong and Tokyo) live in such small spaces.

There is also no inherent reason to eat meat, drink alcohol, drive a car, have a bicycle, etc. Could be "proven" in the same manner you just proved that more space is not needed...