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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: KBecks2 on July 19, 2015, 02:49:23 PM

Title: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: KBecks2 on July 19, 2015, 02:49:23 PM
I'm thinking about this -- will these tiny homes have ongoing popularly or are they a fad?  Are they just so niche??  Who would live in one for 10 years, 20 years??   I am not questioning small homes, but these teeny homes may not stick.  What do you think?  Are they a waste of money? 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: detroit_johnny on July 19, 2015, 03:01:38 PM
When you say "tiny homes", what kind of size or square footage are you referring to? 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: meadow lark on July 19, 2015, 03:02:27 PM
I think it depends.  The $50k 180' sq ones are a waste, IMO.  But the same house, at $10k may be a great way to live.  Partially that is based on location.  I recently chose not to buy a $35k 3/2 1000'sq condo. (Needed work, but $10k would have made it very, very nice.). Not my dream neighborhood, but not scary.  And it is in the middle of the city, so all my associated costs wold be lower than living somewhere rural.  And in 10 years I would be able to find a buyer, if I wanted to sell.  However, if I lived in a high COL area, the numbers would be very different.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Static Void on July 19, 2015, 03:07:30 PM
No serious input here, but a pretty good essay on the topic:

http://www.hipstercrite.com/2015/05/22/dear-people-who-live-in-fancy-tiny-houses/

On second though, yes, this is serious input.

:-)
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: KBecks2 on July 19, 2015, 03:07:51 PM
When you say "tiny homes", what kind of size or square footage are you referring to?

Under 300 sq ft.  The little ones.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: KBecks2 on July 19, 2015, 03:14:00 PM
No serious input here, but a pretty good essay on the topic:

http://www.hipstercrite.com/2015/05/22/dear-people-who-live-in-fancy-tiny-houses/

On second though, yes, this is serious input.

:-)

Hilarious, and covers why I think it's a fad, not a place where people intend to live long term.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: KBecks2 on July 19, 2015, 03:32:50 PM
Or under 500 sq ft.  Will people look back and say, that was stupid!   1000 sq is a house.  500 would be a reasonable apt.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: slugline on July 19, 2015, 03:47:53 PM
I think there are multiple storylines in action regarding the Tiny House "fad.":

There's an affordability gap growing between median incomes and median home prices.
There's a reaction against the immense McMansion dimensions of houses built by mainstream homebuilders.
There's the growing appeal of having a smaller space to maintain/clean and heat/cool.
For the small trailers, there's an appeal of being mobile and taking your home with you to new locations.

I think this is a fad, unless more communities embrace them and welcome them in areas close to employment centers. For example, I live in a deed-restricted neighborhood that prohibits any homes less than 1600 sq. ft. Mobile home parks are either in far-flung suburban locations or in undesirable parts of the city. When I've seen the tiny homes on television shows, I've noticed that many of them are being sited on rural land.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Ynari on July 19, 2015, 04:42:59 PM
A lot of tiny homes aren't designed to age gracefully, or to accommodate a family. The loft set ups, the short ceilings, the upkeep of simple off-grid choices like sawdust composting toilets - these elements are fine for the 20 and 30 somethings who built them, but not for a growing and aging family.

However, I think this is a limitation of the desire to hand-make everything and keep costs dirt cheap. A $10,000 house may not have the space, amenities, or durability to last a lifetime. But as you approach the price of a typical home, you start getting a pretty excellent tiny house that may now have the ability to last.

Take, for instance, hOMe of Tiny House Build (http://"http://tinyhousebuild.com"). It has been designed to be fairly luxurious, with a longer term horizon in mind - there are stairs to the main loft, a commercial composting toilet that doesn't require as much upkeep as a sawdust one, room for a washer/dryer combo, but for that (and the convenience of using new materials) cost $33,000 and perhaps straddles your "tiny house" limit at 317 sqft including lofts. They have another, separate room built for their teenage daughter (IIRC, though of course life situations may change.)

Many of you may say "For $50,000, I'd just buy a house" - but that's ignoring a lot of factors. The couple who built hOMe enjoy living tiny for things like the ease of having a sustainable off-grid system (and subsequently being able to live in a beautiful place where it's off-grid or nothing), the small ecological footprint, the lifestyle that comes with living tiny (no big house to clean and heat).  They are a couple that went tiny because they like living tiny, and it seems like they've designed their house to function for them through at least a large portion of their old age. For people like this, tiny is not a fad.

However, I would say that a large portion of those who currently live in a tiny house are doing so with significant financial restrictions. They can't afford anything beside the sweat of their brow. Those houses will not age well, but I don't think that necessarily means it's a fad, any more than "starter homes" are a fad. If you can spend $10,000 now to give you a house to live in for the next 5-10 years, at which point you'll have saved up a down payment for a larger house or the total cost of a more luxurious tiny house, has it not served its purpose?

And I think, for many reasons, tiny houses will always have their niche. Their recent popularity in the media may not last forever, but they are no more "fad" than any other lifestyle choice that gets media attention at some point in its prime.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: forummm on July 19, 2015, 04:48:02 PM
My favorite one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRkY-fg8t64
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 19, 2015, 04:52:52 PM
I am in Japan right now, and it always strikes me how small living spaces are here.

We think of these concepts of space as questions of individual choice, but in many ways they are expressions of the larger inputs of culture and economy.

As an example In this article Jeff Gundlach makes a macroeconomic argument against single family homes and for micro apartments.

 http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA3O1X120140425
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: CitrusFruit on July 19, 2015, 04:58:23 PM
I'm thinking about this -- will these tiny homes have ongoing popularly or are they a fad?  Are they just so niche??  Who would live in one for 10 years, 20 years??   I am not questioning small homes, but these teeny homes may not stick.  What do you think?  Are they a waste of money?

I have a serious reply, which I will disjointedly string together in a couple of minutes. It's pretty bedtimely.
I'm a student, and own no house at all - nor plan to get any in the near future. However, I love the concept of a tiny house.
Have you seen the 'tiny house nation' series? It's pretty neat. Of course, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. Watching a couple,
perhaps from the first season, might be interesting though. Were it wholly up to me, I would live in tiny houses pretty much forever (excepting physical disintegration in old age or unforeseen medical hindrance).

Last year I lived in a flat which was approximately 170 square feet. I lived there alone, and it was plenty of space. I had up to three visitors at once, went well. I also had a family member stay over weekends, no problem.

One common argument against tiny houses seems to be 'what if you want alone time?'. In one of the tiny house nation episodes, this was solved by two opposing lofts, I think.

I have seen the argument that 'tiny houses aren't a fad. Tiny houses have been around since forever. Giant houses with thousands of square feet are the fad'.

So, obviously, the question is whether to eventually build a fancypants tiny home on wheels so I can live wherever, or a cosy hobbit hole.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Left on July 19, 2015, 05:06:44 PM
I view all non American houses as "tiny" homes...
European, tiny houses;  Asian, my dog house is better than that....

I think only Australian houses are the only ones that I've lived in that comes close to American sized homes...

The little portable trailer homes? Those are fads to me... try raising a family in them and see how it works out. Fad because they are only popular with millennials who whine that they are under employed and underpaid... outside of that group of people, the tiny homes just aren't very comfy. And they aren't even comfy to millennials, they just put up with it because they can't afford a real house...

That said, I have thought about living in an RV full time once retired, but that isn't the same as "tiny" home to me. Homes in my book are where I can put down roots and have a family. I wouldn't call the RV a home, just where my bed is...

I may use the tiny homes as a weekend cabin but not for full time living by choice.

my real question is why they didn't just call these trailer RVs to begin with instead of tiny homes... they are just RVs in the shape of a house. That said, RVs do get a "mortgage" as a second home... do these tiny homes also get the tax benefits of a mortgage? I mean can they put the cost of the building into a 30 year loan? of about ~$100/month for a $30k tiny home? Do they buy "insurance" on these tiny homes? Or are they just trying to take a loophole to it and avoid it by not calling it a RV?
Quote
Like car insurance, RV insurance is required in every state. All states require a minimum amount of liability insurance; in addition, some require uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. Collision and comprehensive insurance limits are determined by you, the consumer.
https://www.trustedchoice.com/rv-insurance/motorhome-coverage-faq/
I havent seen anyone talk about the insurance aspect of tiny homes... do they not "report" it as a home to get around any insurance issues? What happens when I petition the state to go after these tiny homes once they get popular? That would put a damper on the fad...
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: tn3sport on July 19, 2015, 06:09:32 PM
I think its here to stay and not a fad.  The media coverage might be a fad, but I think there will always be people wanting to minimize the size and cost of their dwelling and focus more on what they do OUTSIDE the house...
However, there is one big problem that I see. I observed this watching one of those HGTV tiny house episodes, even through they glossed over the problem. 

Where do you put these things?

They can't go in my neighborhood in Chattanooga. They can't go on the property I own in Florida (minimal sq footage and impact fees). You can't put them anywhere near a university. So, they are not good for college students trying to be close to school. Deed restrictions and taxes collected on RV sites limit the places you can put these things. You can surely put them on vacant land in the middle of nowhere, but that presents a security risk. One of the HGTV shows I saw showed the issues the owner had with finding a place to put his tiny home. He was constantly getting evicted from neighborhoods and as the show ended, he was searched for his next location. They CAN go in mobile home communities. But, if you do that, why not just stay in a mobile home??? Mobile homes these days are quite large.

i.e. Assume I had a job in Atlanta and wanted to stay in a tiny home. Where could I put it? 20 miles outside of Altanta on a small lot or RV park. 20 miles north of Atlanta means a 1 hour commute most days.  I can't see being able any way to have a tiny home in the heart of a large city. (apartment flats aside). We are talking about tiny homes here...

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Bearded Man on July 19, 2015, 06:11:56 PM
I see these things on ebay and CL for 50K. Really? 50K to buy a 112 sf trailer? lol, I'd rather buy an RV and some land then build a carport for it. Much cheaper and achieves the same thing.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Ynari on July 19, 2015, 07:25:52 PM
Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.

A common workaround is to rent someone's backyard, and then you're treated as an "accessory" dwelling.  Some areas allow you to have a mobile dwelling in certain zones (which is the main reason tiny homes tend to have wheels, they are not usually meant to be moved frequently). Sometimes people just inhabit whatever grey area the law allows, just hoping nobody decides they're doing something against the law. But then, there are also a few cities that are opening up their zoning laws to tiny homes so it is a big issue, but it's one that is really location dependent and also getting better as tiny homes become more popular.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: simmias on July 19, 2015, 07:28:24 PM
I can't see being able any way to have a tiny home in the heart of a large city. (apartment flats aside). We are talking about tiny homes here...

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.
You've definitely identified the largest problem.  Several nonprofits with some clout in our large city are working with the powers that be on the code issue.  I imagine similar things are happening in other cities.  Whether anything comes of it is anyone's guess.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: James on July 19, 2015, 07:36:48 PM
Certainly I think there is a "fad" aspect to tiny houses, which will fade with time. And I say that despite currently working with my brother-in-law to build a tiny house on a 20ft car hauler... :)


I don't think they are for everyone, and I think sub 1000 sq ft homes are a much bigger priority and much more reasonable than true "tiny houses" that are really only suited to the small exceptions of the population that can make them work. I hope to move into a sub 1000 sq ft house as soon as our kids are out of HS, it will fit my wife and I much better.


But there will always be a place for tiny houses, they aren't going away. And just because they are a fad right now doesn't mean they won't serve a great purpose for many people long after the fad ends.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: SwordGuy on July 19, 2015, 07:42:51 PM
Unless energy costs skyrocket or the economy goes into a major depression - on a generational timeframe rather than short spike of a year or three, I think we can count on our fellow Americans to want bigger and more expensive houses.  And cars or trucks.

Tiny houses will remain a niche market unless there is a long term shock to the economic system that forces a mass change to market desires.

Consider how many times gas prices have spiked since 1973 and how many times Americans are "surprised" that they now have a huge gasoline bill (instead of "just" a large one).   And yet they not only keep buying gas guzzlers, they buy bigger and thirstier ones!
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Josiecat on July 19, 2015, 09:40:37 PM
What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on July 20, 2015, 02:08:52 AM
My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is a cash-bought narrowboat or tiny house. I'm in my twenties and could definitely live in one for a few years, maybe a decade. I'd love to see a tiny house village popping up for people in their twenties trying to save up for a deposit. The only problem would be finding a site - brownfield land in the city would be ideal, with a communal shower block and laundry, like on a marina.

However, I would have to get rid of an awful lot of things to fit into a tiny house. It would definitely be doable, and probably good for me, but would hurt initially.

Also, I would need somewhere to escape my husband from time to time. (Very introverted!) A chair outdoors in summer would be OK, but in winter I would be going off to libraries and coffee shops a lot. Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

I hope they are not a fad generally, although think that they are only suitable for a particular stage in life, so would be a temporary option for individuals.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: pbkmaine on July 20, 2015, 02:44:59 AM
I think they will always remain a niche product. Most of them have ladders, which become unappealing as joints start to creak and bladders don't last through the night. If I were in a situation where I needed a small inexpensive place to live, I would buy a used travel trailer instead.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: patrickza on July 20, 2015, 03:26:26 AM
My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is a cash-bought narrowboat or tiny house. I'm in my twenties and could definitely live in one for a few years, maybe a decade. I'd love to see a tiny house village popping up for people in their twenties trying to save up for a deposit. The only problem would be finding a site - brownfield land in the city would be ideal, with a communal shower block and laundry, like on a marina.

However, I would have to get rid of an awful lot of things to fit into a tiny house. It would definitely be doable, and probably good for me, but would hurt initially.

Also, I would need somewhere to escape my husband from time to time. (Very introverted!) A chair outdoors in summer would be OK, but in winter I would be going off to libraries and coffee shops a lot. Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

I hope they are not a fad generally, although think that they are only suitable for a particular stage in life, so would be a temporary option for individuals.

My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is to live on a boat in somewhere really cheap. Ideally on the hook in a marina (slip fees are too high) where the costs are low, I can use communal showers, and hopefully pick up free internet with an antennae mounted high on the mast.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on July 20, 2015, 05:04:49 AM
Have thought a bit more about this, and I don't understand all you people who are asking where you keep all your stuff in a tiny house. I have a friend who lives on a narrowboat and she has a totally normal amount of stuff and they have no problem. Pull out drawers under the bed for most of the clothes, wall hooks for the few things like jackets that need to be hung. Head-level shelves for books round the sitting area. Four kitchen cupboards. They don't have lots of stuff like sports equipment or... um... (struggling to think what else you would need!) ... other bulky things. And sure, they could own more pots and pans, more utensils, more books, more clothes... But why? How much shit do all y'all need??

Tammy from Rowdy Kittens has some great posts and photos of their storage space somewhere way back in her blog. They only have enough crockery for each meal, for example, but why do you need any more?
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: CitrusFruit on July 20, 2015, 05:15:09 AM
The little portable trailer homes? Those are fads to me... try raising a family in them and see how it works out. Fad because they are only popular with millennials who whine that they are under employed and underpaid... outside of that group of people, the tiny homes just aren't very comfy. And they aren't even comfy to millennials, they just put up with it because they can't afford a real house...

Giant houses have way too much upkeep and maintenance to be comfortable. Try raising a family in one of those - you'll have to spend all your time cleaning and maintaining and working to pay off the giant mortgage.  (Not really.)

The trailer aspect is a response to laws/zoning prohibiting building tiny houses, by working around on technicalities. So they are as much a fad as the laws making them a viable response. :) There are some who port their houses around with great frequency, but from what I've gathered, the majority of tiny houses are intended to stand stiller.

my real question is why they didn't just call these trailer RVs to begin with instead of tiny homes... they are just RVs in the shape of a house. That said, RVs do get a "mortgage" as a second home... do these tiny homes also get the tax benefits of a mortgage? I mean can they put the cost of the building into a 30 year loan? of about ~$100/month for a $30k tiny home? Do they buy "insurance" on these tiny homes? Or are they just trying to take a loophole to it and avoid it by not calling it a RV?

I think legally, most (if not all?) tiny houses are trailer RVs. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/ refers to their houses as... Tumbleweed Tiny House RVs. They also seem to offer financing.

What happens when I petition the state to go after these tiny homes once they get popular? That would put a damper on the fad...

The hope is that as tiny homes get more popular, the laws will change to reflect that, which removes the need to petition the state to go after fully legal houses.

What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?

Your tiny house can have anything you want! It just can't have everything... On tiny house nation, some had a washer/dryer combo (tumbleweedhouses offers washer/dryer combos in their builds). At least one had a hand-held little washing machine you filled by hand and spun by hand, and then hang up on a line to dry. I'm sure others again use laundromats.

Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

Several people with children moved into tiny houses and seemed to be doing very well in the tiny house nation series. Obviously, it being a television series and all, stuff might need to be taken with a spoonful of salt.

I think they will always remain a niche product. Most of them have ladders, which become unappealing as joints start to creak and bladders don't last through the night.
Most have ladders, but many have stairs, and others against are just one floor.


Mostly everything that's the norm at current has been a faddy new movement at one point or another. "Agriculture? Whatcha mean? Not hunting and gathering our own food, but growing it in the dirt? What are we, dirt diggers? I'm telling you, Ugluk Bugluk, this is a total fad."

This obviously isn't useful in determining whether something is going to stick for a while or not, but it seems useful to keep in mind to avoid knee-jerk responses to things that seem new or odd.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: KBecks2 on July 20, 2015, 05:16:48 AM
What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?

Good point.  I'm middle age with 3 kids, and so laundry is a big part of my life (the kids have clothes, maybe too many but we go through underwear and socks, and they're boys and sometimes get very dirty, 2 changes of clothes in a day).  I could 100% see us going into a *small* house, maybe 800 to 1,000 square feet, and this is the size that many homes used to be before things sprawled out and sized up.

As we age, I would want to continue to have laundry in house.  That's luxury, baby!!!  I'm worth it! :)

I briefly watched a tiny house TV program where they had basically a plastic bucket-type washing machine that looked like it may have held 4 or 5 gallons and had a hand crank. 

To clarify, I am only critiquing the very smallest houses.  I am not sure that these will stand the test of time.  They are very cool-looking.  I just don't know if they are truly practical for most people to live.  I love the ideas of smaller houses, and very energy efficient homes.  I love the idea of smaller historic homes. 

I'm done living alone (unless I am someday widowed), so any house I live in I'd want to have space for two, and likely a little extra space for visitors.

Anyway, I like thinking about ideas like this.  So a tiny house is sort of a novel approach to an RV or mobile home.  Dave Ramsey talks constantly about how mobile homes lose value like cars do.  I wonder if the tiny houses will lose value for resale in a similar fashion and if you will be able to pick these up on the cheap (should you want one) when the shine wears off.   Homes (mainly because of the land they occupy) typically go up in value, usually slow and steady, but it depends a lot on the area and market.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: CitrusFruit on July 20, 2015, 05:31:58 AM
I briefly watched a tiny house TV program where they had basically a plastic bucket-type washing machine that looked like it may have held 4 or 5 gallons and had a hand crank. 

To clarify, I am only critiquing the very smallest houses.  I am not sure that these will stand the test of time.  They are very cool-looking.  I just don't know if they are truly practical for most people to live.  I love the ideas of smaller houses, and very energy efficient homes.  I love the idea of smaller historic homes. 

Anyway, I like thinking about ideas like this.  So a tiny house is sort of a novel approach to an RV or mobile home.  Dave Ramsey talks constantly about how mobile homes lose value like cars do.  I wonder if the tiny houses will lose value for resale in a similar fashion and if you will be able to pick these up on the cheap (should you want one) when the shine wears off.   Homes (mainly because of the land they occupy) typically go up in value, usually slow and steady, but it depends a lot on the area and market.

plastic bucket-type washing "machine" (image attached) made me giggle when I first saw it.

http://clotheslinetinyhomes.com/faqs/why-not-an-rv/ seems a good overview over differences between tiny houses and (typical) RVs.


As a tangentially related aside, if the primary motivation for acquiring a tiny/small house were economical, then there might be other alternatives just as well suited - amongst them alternate building methods. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-Dirt-Cheap-Houses/ presents one example: building with dirt.


https://www.facebook.com/TumbleweedHouses/posts/10152180003963724 seems to support mobile tiny houses as depreciating.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: golden1 on July 20, 2015, 05:43:34 AM
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 

I like the idea of "smaller" but not "tiny" houses.  My house is about 1600 sqft, and it it plenty of space for 4 people and a cat.  I feel like most houses, big and small, are just poorly laid out for modern contemporary living.  I personally have no use for a formal dining room, for example, or a fancy living room.  I think in many cases you could design a 1000 sqft house with more "usable"space than the typical 2500 sqft house that I see around my neighborhood.   
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Left on July 20, 2015, 06:21:05 AM
we use the dinning room as a study room, the kids would do homework at the table, large so they can spread out, and parents did office work or read a book/newspaper... the point is that the parents are at the table to encourage kids to do homework... not send them off to room then watching tv themselves

tiny homes cant do this well...
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: I'm a red panda on July 20, 2015, 06:54:06 AM
300 square  foot home is a fad. And not one that many people have hopped on board with, quite honestly.

Small houses have already been a thing in our history; when larger homes were entirely unaffordable- so entire families shared single bedrooms- and people got bigger homes as soon as they could.

I don't think gigantic 3,000 square foot + homes are going to stand the test of time; but the 1,000-2,500 range is; at least until our population is so dense they can't stay that way.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: partgypsy on July 20, 2015, 06:59:17 AM
I think the 50K 180 square feet tricked out house is a bit of a fad.
But- I think as time goes on perhaps municipalities will change to allow more alternative housing for people, especially in large metropolitan areas or areas with high cost of real estate (parts of California). I'm not advocating slum housing, but smaller than average housing for single people or couples who want to live that way, whether it be condos, garage apartments, houses in people's backyard, fourplexes on a standard house lot size.  I think tiny homes also work for those who want to live off the grid.

I live in the Triangle, and this thread reminded me of this article. I don't know if considered "tiny" homes (they were 500 square feet or so) but it allowed people from a number of walks of life to rent their own home, which was a nice thing.

http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/after-70-years-a-historic-raleigh-neighborhood-is-no-more-a-requiem-for-tiny-town/Content?oid=4506465
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: tn3sport on July 20, 2015, 07:00:42 AM
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 



That's a great point and I do think many in the movement do end up going from full size home to RV living.

I think part of what's driving the tiny house movement is the low barriers to entry. An RV requires a large outflow of capital or a loan. (Either that or buy used and refit it, thus requiring more cash.)

I know there are 'turn-key' tiny houses, but I believe most start with a very low-cost basic structure and build upon it.  There's a fellow on Lookout Mountain in the GA/TN area that wanted his house on a bluff so that he could hang-glide off his roof. He started with a trailer frame and built it up as he had available funds. It was a complete custom job. This allowed him to keep costs down and also accommodate his unique requirements. It was a young single fellow. Not sure about the ownership of the land he's on, but the startup for the tiny house didn't require much initial capital.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: justajane on July 20, 2015, 07:35:47 AM
I watched an HGTV show on vacation last week, and the couple seemed to have made their tiny home out of plywood. They are movie set makers, and the "house" they made, albeit cool looking, looked about as sturdy as a movie set. Here's an article from the Daily Mail that has pictures of the end result: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3166442/Couple-s-tiny-house-mansion-Hamptons-built-entirely-torn-movie-sets.html#comments

 How in the hell can that be used in the winter? Hopefully there's some Tyvec somewhere in there, but I just can't see how that is more than just a marketing ploy.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: HipGnosis on July 20, 2015, 08:59:00 AM
The tiny houses linked to are a fad.  But most all housing styles (like clothing styles) are fads.  Technology and desires are both dynamic, making each version temporary (to various degrees).
But small housing is a niche' that has endured since the cavemen and doesn't show any sign of waning.
American history is rife with small housing.  One room cabins were the norm.   Wisconsin is the 'Badger state' because lead miners of the 1830's lived in caves cut into the hillsides. These caves were described as badger dens and, the miners who lived in them, as badgers.
NYC is reported to have (had?) 3,000 illegal tiny apartments because the reality of supply and demand trumps legality of housing codes.  It got to where it couldn't be ignored, so NYC allowed the construction of a 55 unit, modular-micro apartment in 2013.  The waiting list was so long that they've allowed other, similar units; http://www.modular.org/HtmlPage.aspx?name=NYC_MC_Housing_Needs_MA
Of course there are trade-offs.  I don't think anyone reasonably argues that there aren't.  Durability / longevity is a slippery slope that each designer, builder and owner must make peace with. 
RVs have their limitations too.  Many similar, some unique.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Luck better Skill on July 20, 2015, 09:24:38 AM
How are you defining tiny versus mini homes?

To me a mini homes, particularly if they are mobile, are really campers.  They will never be popular long term living environment. 

Tiny homes in places where the laws allow will remain and could climb in popularity, say 400 to 500 square feet.  I can see patios for entertaining, more yard space for flowers and gardens on small plots of land.  Low cost, maintenance and taxes. 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: iamlittlehedgehog on July 20, 2015, 09:27:08 AM
Tiny (under 500 sq feet) may very well be a fad - or at least only survive for a niche market. In Florida you'll find them hiking or kayaking all the time, hunters seem to have a timeshare system with them.
I like the concept - not the execution, ladders and lofts are cute but not fun when the joints start creaking and aching. 
While tiny houses may be a boom and bust movement I think smaller (under 1000 sq feet) might be here to stay, at least until the Millennial generation is older. Me, my husband and 2 small dogs survive in 1,132 sq foot house and quite frankly we could still downsize.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: zephyr911 on July 20, 2015, 09:31:27 AM
Objections are bordering on complainypants, guys. Oh no, someone else's badassery exceeded ours... what will we do? Better fixate on how it won't work. Smaller spaces can introduce practical challenges, and some of us have lifestyles that wouldn't work with 100sf, or 300sf, or even 500sf, but that doesn't doom the entire concept to failure.

My first house was a 2300sf exploding volcano of waste that I lived in with a girlfriend, then alone. I've worked my way down to happily occupying 1100sf with DW and three animals, and we're actively reducing our lifestyle footprint to go even smaller because everywhere we might want to live post-FIRE is HCOL. We may not ever feel the need to go tiny, but another 25-50% reduction is on the table.

Everything about the TH movement is line with the values expressed by most people here - DIY focus, creative problem-solving, reducing costs, minimizing environmental impact, and downplaying the importance of possessions in our pursuit of happiness. In that context, all else being equal, smaller is always better. So get what you need for living space, and enjoy it, but don't set arbitrary floors based on unexamined assumptions.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: nobodyspecial on July 20, 2015, 09:40:19 AM
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 
You can live in the city. There is a lane-house allowance where you can build a small (600ft) house in your back yard without the years and $$$$ required to get planing permission for a new house. It's supposed to solve the housing affordabiliy problem.

Suspect that many of them are rented out to help pay the mortgage on the main house and then demolished when the lot is sold and a McMansion is built.

Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: mm1970 on July 20, 2015, 12:14:45 PM
Or under 500 sq ft.  Will people look back and say, that was stupid!   1000 sq is a house.  500 would be a reasonable apt.
Lots of 2BR homes on my street are under 1000 sf.

Some 1BR homes around 500-600 sf.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: mm1970 on July 20, 2015, 12:23:41 PM
Quote
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 
Weather
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Kitsune on July 20, 2015, 12:46:36 PM
I don't know that they're a fad... but I do know a few things:

- The ones you usually see are cute, well-marketed, well-photographed, and look really welcoming. Good marketing at it's best.
- I have rarely seen a 'tiny house', marketed as such, that doesn't have a lofted bed. There's no way most aging people can manage a ladder to get into and out of bed.
- Fitting children into a tiny house? One, maybe. MAYBE. But good luck with more...
- They're only reasonable if you can outsource your main living space (be in a climate where you can be outdoors much of the year, have a library/playground/restaurants/etc nearby for the things you can't do in your house, etc). For country dwellers in iffy climate, good luck.

So... if you want an aesthetically pleasing small space for able-bodied childless people between 20-60ish... sure, have at it.

Personal issue with the whole 'tiny house' thing: once you remove the 'cuteness' factor of most tiny houses, and take away the class prejudices and associations... you know what less-than-500-square-foot dwellings are popular, last 30+ years, can accomodate children/elderly people, and actually have a semi-decent resell value already exists? Trailers. (Now try convincing most of the hipsters I've seen oogling tiny houses to visit a trailer park, and you might see why there's very little crossover between the communities that, on the whole, are interested in fairly similar dwellings...)
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Bob W on July 20, 2015, 12:53:06 PM
I'm voting fad and I'm also dreaming of one in the future--   Ours would be atypical with maybe 500sq foot of regular living area and then a massive multipurpose covered and enclosed patio type of addition.     So technically it wouldn't qualify as a tiny house.   Our house is a huge 3100 now and I figure we use less than 1000 and would use about 500 if laid out better.   

So the 500 would be for daily use --- the giant enclosed patio would generally be unheated and used for some sitting room stuff and entertaining our large family.   

I can build the whole thing myself for less than 40K. 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 20, 2015, 01:20:58 PM
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
Technically not a "house" but same concept. I think apartment complexes full of these are more likely than a bunch of tiny houses
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: crispy on July 20, 2015, 02:03:36 PM
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 

I like the idea of "smaller" but not "tiny" houses.  My house is about 1600 sqft, and it it plenty of space for 4 people and a cat.  I feel like most houses, big and small, are just poorly laid out for modern contemporary living.  I personally have no use for a formal dining room, for example, or a fancy living room.  I think in many cases you could design a 1000 sqft house with more "usable"space than the typical 2500 sqft house that I see around my neighborhood.   

We are about to move from our 2800sf house to a 1500sf (with room for expansion for a playroom).  We are over having rooms we don't use.  We are losing the formal dining room, a guest bedroom that is empty 98% of the time, and an extra bathroom.  We are also losing about 100K in mortgage debt.  We are gaining a full acre yard and the ability to retire early.  Net win for sure!  I always dreamed of a big house because I lived in a dump growing up and was always embarrassed by my house.  I have come to realize that this is a silly reason to have more space than we need and that we can have a nice home without having large amounts of waste space. 

I will say that they idea of a tiny home kind of led me to the journey of downsizing.   I was, and am, fascinated by the trend and it made me realize that I long for simplicity and land more than a big house.  We didn't end up buying a tiny home, but the impact was still there for us.  I imagine other people have responded the same way.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 20, 2015, 03:00:01 PM
Unless energy costs skyrocket or the economy goes into a major depression - on a generational timeframe rather than short spike of a year or three, I think we can count on our fellow Americans to want bigger and more expensive houses.  And cars or trucks.

And the future is energy restricted and we're not doing a great job of "recovering" from the last depression, so, yeah, "bigger and more expensive houses" are out of reach for an awful lot of people.

If you're in that boat, you probably don't have a huge amount of stuff either.  So the lack of storage (which, really, most of them have a lot of storage) isn't a huge problem.

The payments on a small house are tiny.  Less, if you build it yourself.

Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

Why not?  "Tiny houses" are much closer to the historical norm of house sizes than anything we consider "normal" now, and people had kids just fine.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on July 20, 2015, 03:07:40 PM

So... if you want an aesthetically pleasing small space for able-bodied childless people between 20-60ish... sure, have at it.

Right, because that's *such* a small demographic <\sarcasm>

I'm with zephyr911 - what's with all the complaining? Especially the "well, those twenty-somethings will regret it when they're eighty!" The question is not "is it a fad for individuals" - of course most people will move into a bigger and more permanent house eventually. The question is "will people (new people, not necessarily the same people) keep wanting tiny houses?"

As for children, I'm not saying it can't be done. Of course it can - people have done it throughout history! Just that it would be my personal nightmare.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Lian on July 20, 2015, 04:45:00 PM
I enjoy looking at them Ė they are cute, but if I were to live in that small a space, I would go for an RV.

I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion. I live in a 700-sq. ft. apartment, and would love a small house sized between 500 Ė 750 sq. ft., but they donít exist. There used to be little cottages in some older neighborhoods in my city. Most of these have been scraped and replaced with huge homes.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: nobodyspecial on July 20, 2015, 06:16:02 PM
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Lian on July 20, 2015, 09:08:13 PM
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Makes sense - and I have noticed that that new homes on scraped lots are built out to the maximum allowable size. But still - guess it's apt. living for me.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: ChrisLansing on July 21, 2015, 03:12:50 AM
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Have the economics changed?    30 years ago, at least where I live, it was common to build "1040s"   1,040 sf homes.   Now it's rare to see anything under 2K built.   

Economics aside, I think the tiny house fad is just another form of extremism.    We had McMansions, now we have homes smaller than a garden shed.     We can't seem to settle for "not so big"  we have to have huge or tiny.   
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: SpinGeek on July 21, 2015, 08:30:25 AM
Our first home was 980 sq ft, built in the mid-50s post-war boom. A lot of families have raised kids in those small houses over the last 65 years. Unfortunately the neighborhood got pretty run down by the time we left, because so many people bought bigger houses before the RE collapse in 2008, then let the old houses go to the bank when they couldn't sell them. But back in the 1990's it was a great working-class neighborhood. Today you can't find a new home being built around here for under 2000 sq ft unless you're buying in a mixed-use neighborhood at a premium.

Our current "dream home" is 1386 sq ft, with three bedrooms (with walk-in closets!) and some days it feels too large for two humans and two cats. I couldn't live in a Tiny House, because I've stayed married for 28 years now by each of us introverts having our own space. Our neighborhood does have 2-bedroom villa flats that we might consider when we get too old to maintain a house. New condo/flats and villas here range from 500 to 900 sq ft, but prices are from $100-175K. Not too affordable, and no standalone houses in that size range.

There's a real need in our county for affordable housing in the 1000-1400 sq ft range. It's a sad state of affairs when the teachers, police and firefighters/EMTs that serve our county can't afford to live in it. Part of the problem seems to be a chicken-and-the-egg situation; builders say they can't sell small homes at a profitable cost, but the people who would be willing to live in a small well-built home are the ones who can't afford to buy one. It's easier to avoid fighting the town council and just build the 2000+ McMansions.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: yyc-phil on July 21, 2015, 08:36:22 AM
To the question "why not live in a RV instead?", the answer is simple. Most if not all RVs are designed and built for recreation and not full-time, long-term living. After a few years of full-time living, they will look like crap. They also usually lack proper insulation and ventilation, and the structure and materials, including doors, windows, cabinets, etc. are flimsy and not as durable as those used in a stick-built house, tiny or not. My wife and I own a large fifth-wheel parked permanently on our land, that we plan to live-in until our tiny house is built. It will be a practical solution but I wouldn't see myself living in it for more than a year or two. On the other hand, a properly-built tiny house is built like a standard-sized house, especially if one that must meet building codes. In our case, the tiny house we are designing is about 400 square feet on one floor, and is more or less inspired by this design by architect Christopher Deam who has been involved with the redesign of the inconic Airstream travel trailer. Our house will be on piers or slab instead of a trailer, and will have the same square footage as the one on the picture, but with a much higher ceiling (12-14 foot) which will allow for a large storage/sleeping loft above the bedroom area. We currently live in a 2-bedroom 2-bath 800 square feet condo and we find that we occupy less than half of the space so our new house will have ample space to meet our needs.



Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Lian on July 21, 2015, 09:09:36 AM
ykphil - that's good to know about RVs - may cross that off my list of future living options, as whatever I end up with needs to serve long-term. Your new house sounds wonderful. 400 sq ft is a reasonable size. I really don't use a lot of my 700 sq ft space either - it holds furniture that holds stuff.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: zephyr911 on July 21, 2015, 09:14:22 AM
Economics aside, I think the tiny house fad is just another form of extremism.    We had McMansions, now we have homes smaller than a garden shed.     We can't seem to settle for "not so big"  we have to have huge or tiny.
It's an extreme reaction to the previous excess, to be sure. But throw in the increasingly high cost of living in many places - driven by ever-increasing population density - and it is unlikely to go away.
Even less likely to fade are the tiny urban apartments. Once they're built, not only is the precedent set, but those buildings will last for decades.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: ash7962 on July 21, 2015, 09:25:35 AM
I think there will always be people who live in tiny houses or apartments.  I'm not certain if their current popularity is a fad or not, but I do think they'd be a great housing solution for me at this point in my life (25yr old, single, no kids).  I think ideally for me (or me and a SO) I'd live in 500-1000sqft on the condition that I also have a nice outdoor area where I could spend a lot of time.  I haven't seen this a lot, but Ithink tiny houses would be a great alternative to an in law suite.  If my parents or my SO's parents ever have to move in with me then I would definitely consider putting up a tiny house on my lot so that I could still have a bit of separation.  I envision them having a spartan kitchen, and having lunch/dinner with the whole family in the main house.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: EricP on July 21, 2015, 09:29:04 AM
Economics aside, I think the tiny house fad is just another form of extremism.    We had McMansions, now we have homes smaller than a garden shed.     We can't seem to settle for "not so big"  we have to have huge or tiny.
It's an extreme reaction to the previous excess, to be sure. But throw in the increasingly high cost of living in many places - driven by ever-increasing population density - and it is unlikely to go away.
Even less likely to fade are the tiny urban apartments. Once they're built, not only is the precedent set, but those buildings will last for decades.

But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.

If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Ramblin' Ma'am on July 21, 2015, 09:59:46 AM
I think it depends on the size of the tiny house. I watch some of those tiny house hunting shows. Half the time, it's a family moving into 200-300 square feet. The rest of the time, it's a single person or couple buying a 500-600 sq ft condo. The latter seems much more sustainable over the long term.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: zephyr911 on July 21, 2015, 10:17:30 AM
But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.
If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.
[/quote]
In a HCOL area, $60K for 300sf is still cheap, innit?
But I'm with you on cost. If I were going to live in a tiny home, I would demand a tiny price tag.
I've been toying with the idea of using one as a bridging strategy for a move to the PNW where my family is, and I'd probably either build one (on a trailer for bldg code purposes) from scratch or by rehabbing a trailered cafe', etc, with both my BILs helping (one is FT construction and the other was an electrician). Probable cost, even with solar, <$10K.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: EricP on July 21, 2015, 10:25:39 AM
But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.
If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.
In a HCOL area, $60K for 300sf is still cheap, innit?
But I'm with you on cost. If I were going to live in a tiny home, I would demand a tiny price tag.
I've been toying with the idea of using one as a bridging strategy for a move to the PNW where my family is, and I'd probably either build one (on a trailer for bldg code purposes) from scratch or by rehabbing a trailered cafe', etc, with both my BILs helping (one is FT construction and the other was an electrician). Probable cost, even with solar, <$10K.
[/quote]

The few times I've seen them on HGTV, they were $60k+ for just the building, so you'd still need a plot of land to put it on which in a HCOL area could be very expensive.  From reading here, a lot of these people stick them in backyards that they rented from people, but I imagine the HoAs will start cracking down on that type of behavior soon and so that will limit the neighborhoods you can move into.

But a $10k tag with solar included, that's what I'm talking about.  I'm sure someone will say "You need to include your labor cost," but I imagine that it could be an enjoyable few weeks building a tiny house.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: zephyr911 on July 21, 2015, 10:45:29 AM
The few times I've seen them on HGTV, they were $60k+ for just the building, so you'd still need a plot of land to put it on which in a HCOL area could be very expensive.  From reading here, a lot of these people stick them in backyards that they rented from people, but I imagine the HoAs will start cracking down on that type of behavior soon and so that will limit the neighborhoods you can move into.

But a $10k tag with solar included, that's what I'm talking about.  I'm sure someone will say "You need to include your labor cost," but I imagine that it could be an enjoyable few weeks building a tiny house.
The most I've seen for one is like $45k and I thought that was too much, personally.
Even if it takes three of us a month, we're still beating that price by a damn sight, at typical construction labor rates. What are we at, $25K now?
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on July 22, 2015, 03:48:02 AM
The price I've internalised is $30k. Not sure how, but there you go! Less, presumably, if you DIY and because they are not some huge brick structure they seem easier to DIY than most houses. And surely the tiny house mentality overlaps with the DIY mentality.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 22, 2015, 09:48:05 AM
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 09:55:02 AM
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 22, 2015, 10:10:34 AM
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.
I understand your logic, I suppose it's different for me being in a LCOL area, the 08/09 housing crash hardly even affected my area. I paid $74,000 for a 1150sqf 3 bed 2 bath house, I put about $7000 into it and a some of my time(didn't track hours) into it and it's worth about $100,000 now. Lots here are 40k and it's probably another 40k to build a tiny house(adding cost of concrete for foundation, water meter/hookup, sewer hookup, electric meter/hookup). Then the house is done and it's value becomes 60k.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: acroy on July 22, 2015, 10:25:44 AM
Fad for now - But it will mature into a viable housing option, with multiple manufacturers, dedicated forums, best practices etc. I bet long-term we see 'Tiny House Parks' similar to mobile home parks.
Options are good. Innovation & competition is good.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Bearded Man on July 22, 2015, 10:58:04 AM
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Have the economics changed?    30 years ago, at least where I live, it was common to build "1040s"   1,040 sf homes.   Now it's rare to see anything under 2K built.   

Economics aside, I think the tiny house fad is just another form of extremism.    We had McMansions, now we have homes smaller than a garden shed.     We can't seem to settle for "not so big"  we have to have huge or tiny.

I think this combined with my earlier comments about RV's being cheaper speaks volumes. I have three houses and even my smallest house is too large for me; two of the 3 bedrooms were unused when I lived there, and the place was less than 1K square feet (huge yard though).
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 11:07:31 AM
I understand your logic, I suppose it's different for me being in a LCOL area, the 08/09 housing crash hardly even affected my area. I paid $74,000 for a 1150sqf 3 bed 2 bath house, I put about $7000 into it and a some of my time(didn't track hours) into it and it's worth about $100,000 now. Lots here are 40k and it's probably another 40k to build a tiny house(adding cost of concrete for foundation, water meter/hookup, sewer hookup, electric meter/hookup). Then the house is done and it's value becomes 60k.

Ah.  Yeah.  That would make a difference.  That's a $700k house out here (Seattle east side).
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: mm1970 on July 22, 2015, 11:24:56 AM
It's hard to say if they are a fad.

I think they are a response to many things -
1.  The cost of living is soaring in many places. 
2.  The job market is pretty brutal
3.  It's a lot more difficult to "settle down"

So, look at the demographics.
A lot of people who buy/ build them are young people, or older people with very little income.
Youngsters are in debt for college and cannot afford to buy a home in the places where they work.
The job market is brutal for a lot of people.  Middle class jobs are kind of disappearing.  I have a good paying job, and I haven't had a raise in 4 years.
The gap between the rich and the poor is widening because of the loss of decent mid-wage jobs, and the increase in low wage jobs, and the stagnation of wages at all levels.
It's rare for you to be able to stay at a job for 30 years, or even in an area.

So I know a bunch of people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who rent - because they live where they found a job.  But they still own a home where they last lived (and got laid off).  The housing market was so bad for awhile that they couldn't even sell their houses at a loss.

The desire for a tiny home is that it's something that you own.  So you aren't throwing your money away on "rent".  If you can live with less while you build it, you end up saving money.  And if you can find a place to park it (legally or not), then that helps even more.  Wherever there are tight housing markets you'll find illegal units.

The thing with them is that they are nicer than an RV and they are mobile if you need to move.  They give you more freedom.

Do I expect that a lot of these 20-somethings that build them will stay in them forever?  No. Seasons change.  But there will probably always be more young people or retirees looking to downsize to take their place.

Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: EricP on July 22, 2015, 11:26:42 AM
Fad for now - But it will mature into a viable housing option, with multiple manufacturers, dedicated forums, best practices etc. I bet long-term we see 'Tiny House Parks' similar to mobile home parks.
Options are good. Innovation & competition is good.

Wouldn't this mean they aren't a fad?  Fads are short-lived and die out...
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 11:29:29 AM
So, you guys do realize that mobile home manufacturers are making some really, really nice "tiny home" type units that are quite high quality, right?

The reason you don't see any of the "70s style" mobile homes any more is because the new ones look like a standard home.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Cougar on July 22, 2015, 11:43:50 AM
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.

second.

while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

i'd be a used tailerhome before buying one of those new.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 11:50:02 AM
while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

You're missing my point.

The potential for loss in percentage is probably greater, but the potential for loss in raw dollar amounts is radically less, because the house costs less.

I can't lose $300k on a house I only spent $40k on.  The most I can "lose" is $40k, and even if it's unpopular, cheap housing will have a demand, and probably an increasing demand going forward.

I mean, 100 sq ft micro apartments are renting for $1000/mo in Seattle.  The demand for cheap housing, even if it's absurdly tiny, is strong.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 22, 2015, 11:56:53 AM
while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

You're missing my point.

The potential for loss in percentage is probably greater, but the potential for loss in raw dollar amounts is radically less, because the house costs less.

I can't lose $300k on a house I only spent $40k on.  The most I can "lose" is $40k, and even if it's unpopular, cheap housing will have a demand, and probably an increasing demand going forward.

I mean, 100 sq ft micro apartments are renting for $1000/mo in Seattle.  The demand for cheap housing, even if it's absurdly tiny, is strong.
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
I wonder if someone could build an apartment building with a bunch of these in Seattle or another HCOL area and make a killing in the long term. HUGE upfront cost, because you need really premium land to be in the middle of everything, which there isn't really any for sale. Also building apartment buildings might be a tad expensive :x. But if I was single in a HCOL area, I'd be happy to rent one of them out, especially if it was near a park and in a central location. But since most apartment buildings are like 500sqf+/unit, you could fit 5 times as many of these in the same space and rent them for only 30% less.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 12:02:46 PM
They're doing this in Seattle about as much as zoning will let them.  Because it is obscenely profitable and it turns out that there are a lot of people who can't afford a large apartment, but will happily pay 50-70% of takehome to a micro unit.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: EricP on July 22, 2015, 12:41:37 PM
They're doing this in Seattle about as much as zoning will let them.  Because it is obscenely profitable and it turns out that there are a lot of people who can't afford a large apartment, but will happily pay 50-70% of takehome to a micro unit.

Wait.  People rent tiny homes from other people?  And they use up a majority of their take home pay to do it?  I thought affordability was the point of these...  Buy one of these, drop it in someone's backyard or in the boonies and you've got an extremely affordable piece of property that is self-sustaining.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 12:59:58 PM
Oh, sorry, no - they're doing the micro apartments.

Zoning laws don't seem to allow micro homes out here.  And a bunch of them would look like a trailer park.  And NOBODY wants those.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Bearded Man on July 22, 2015, 01:22:50 PM
So, you guys do realize that mobile home manufacturers are making some really, really nice "tiny home" type units that are quite high quality, right?

The reason you don't see any of the "70s style" mobile homes any more is because the new ones look like a standard home.

That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Syonyk on July 22, 2015, 01:36:10 PM
That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

I'm fairly familiar with them at this point, due to a long term plan involving buying one.  And the fact that a very significant chunk of my wife's extended family lives in assorted double wides on foundations.  Once you know what to look for, it's obvious if a house was manufactured or modular (width is a giveaway, as is a strong "marriage line" down the center of the house with how things are laid out), but other than that, they're all sorts of reasonable inside, and if the people have been living there a while and had time to paint/replace a few walls/etc, it's not at all obvious.

You can get them about as nice as you want inside, and I'd argue that due to the transportation requirements, they're often better built than an on-site stick built house - all the drywall (yes, they use drywall now) is glued as well as nailed/screwed in place.  At least with the ones we've been looking at, it's heavily insulated 2x6 exterior walls, very nicely built 2x4 interior walls, the plastic point-to-point piping, etc... they're just built in a factory instead of out in the elements.  If you are interested, see if you can do a factory tour - it's fascinating.

Quote
The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...

If you are concerned about that, get a modular home instead of a manufactured/HUD home.  The difference is that a manufactured/HUD home keeps the steel frame rails under it and is always "mobile" in terms of how it's considered as a house (even if it's on a foundation) and a modular home is considered the same as a stick-built home (though it's more expensive up front - maybe $15k more).  They're usually built in the same factories on the same lines, and are otherwise the same.

But, yeah, the new stuff is nice.  We're looking at around $140k installed for 2k sq ft, quartz counters, metal roof, concrete foundation, etc.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Jeremy E. on July 22, 2015, 01:48:20 PM
That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

I'm fairly familiar with them at this point, due to a long term plan involving buying one.  And the fact that a very significant chunk of my wife's extended family lives in assorted double wides on foundations.  Once you know what to look for, it's obvious if a house was manufactured or modular (width is a giveaway, as is a strong "marriage line" down the center of the house with how things are laid out), but other than that, they're all sorts of reasonable inside, and if the people have been living there a while and had time to paint/replace a few walls/etc, it's not at all obvious.

You can get them about as nice as you want inside, and I'd argue that due to the transportation requirements, they're often better built than an on-site stick built house - all the drywall (yes, they use drywall now) is glued as well as nailed/screwed in place.  At least with the ones we've been looking at, it's heavily insulated 2x6 exterior walls, very nicely built 2x4 interior walls, the plastic point-to-point piping, etc... they're just built in a factory instead of out in the elements.  If you are interested, see if you can do a factory tour - it's fascinating.

Quote
The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...

If you are concerned about that, get a modular home instead of a manufactured/HUD home.  The difference is that a manufactured/HUD home keeps the steel frame rails under it and is always "mobile" in terms of how it's considered as a house (even if it's on a foundation) and a modular home is considered the same as a stick-built home (though it's more expensive up front - maybe $15k more).  They're usually built in the same factories on the same lines, and are otherwise the same.

But, yeah, the new stuff is nice.  We're looking at around $140k installed for 2k sq ft, quartz counters, metal roof, concrete foundation, etc.
It is very simple to buy new manufactured homes as the company selling them for you will pretty much offer you everything you need for them, but if you find a 10-20 year old one (make sure it's not older than 78 or it won't be HUD approved), then you can pay significantly less. I bought a used one and put it on a foundation (since my house came with 3 lots and is only on 2, I was able to put a manufactured home on the 3rd lot). I paid only $8,000 at an auction for a used 1989 double wide 28x60 manufactured home in perfect condition. It was difficult for me to put axels under it, reweld on new tongues, find some one who could haul them to my property, find a contractor to help me build a foundation and a contractor to do water/sewer/electrical hookups. But the final result was a 2nd house for cheap($30,000) that I can rent out. You usually won't find them quite that nice for $8,000, but if you look for a while, $15,000-$50,000 is pretty common. When trailer parks get bought out and the new owner evicts all of the tenants, they go real cheap.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: HipGnosis on August 01, 2015, 10:57:26 AM
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
I wonder if someone could build an apartment building with a bunch of these in Seattle or another HCOL area and make a killing in the long term. HUGE upfront cost, because you need really premium land to be in the middle of everything, which there isn't really any for sale. Also building apartment buildings might be a tad expensive :x. But if I was single in a HCOL area, I'd be happy to rent one of them out, especially if it was near a park and in a central location. But since most apartment buildings are like 500sqf+/unit, you could fit 5 times as many of these in the same space and rent them for only 30% less.
I just happen to have an educational show on TV this morning (Xploration earth 2050) and caught an article about alternate housing.
Didn't have a lot of details, but interesting.
They said many major cities have a growing number of unused parking spaces in parking garages from the trend of city dwellers going without cars.  Someone (they interviewed a college professor, but he didn't say it was his idea) in GA came up with the idea to convert them to tiny apartments.  They didn't give the reason or logic of making tiny apartments.
They implied that the low cost of the space subsidized the cost of making the custom apartments.
They didn't say if the tenants could have a car and park in the space next to their apartment.
Google found this;  http://www.today.com/video/today/55530037  which is about the same apartments and has more details.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: FenderBender on August 03, 2015, 12:52:09 PM
maybe not a fad, but may as well be.  cities aren't going to do a thing to make room for these things.  in desirable places to live, few neighbors will be happy with the trailer home in the backyard next door.  even in the worst neighborhoods, what gov't would agree to let trailers move into backyards haphazardly connecting to utilities? 

all the TV shows have what seem to be responsible people living in these things, but the undesirables will adopt them too.  a community of tiny houses sounds so sexy, comfy, and cool, but how to keep out the undesirables meaning alcoholics, drug addicts, hookers, and sex offenders?  if they have money, they haves rights too.  how to have reasonable neighbors that will pick up their trash, beer bottles and used needles and condoms, rules? regulation?  that won't do it, undesirables don't conform.  what a bummer man!

as these things get resold a few times, they won't have that new look we see on HGTV.  they will be beaten up. 

tiny home park... just another mobile home park and they aren't so desirable.



Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Mike Key on August 03, 2015, 05:52:03 PM
Personally, I liked the original idea. It's part of why we live how we do now. But I feel it has grown into a trend. Especially being pushed by HGTV and the likes as just another concept to make money. Most of it has moved away from the original ideas of eco living, or simplifying things in your life and living with less. Almost as a form of minimalism. But like most things, it's been co-opted by the mainstream.

To the question "why not live in a RV instead?", the answer is simple. Most if not all RVs are designed and built for recreation and not full-time, long-term living. After a few years of full-time living, they will look like crap. They also usually lack proper insulation and ventilation, and the structure and materials, including doors, windows, cabinets, etc. are flimsy and not as durable as those used in a stick-built house, tiny or not.

Unless you bought an Airstream. :p There are 4 season travel trailers, but it's generally assumed that if you have an RV or TT you would move as the birds do to stay in ideal climates. Living in one in a fixed location, especially if you live in the north, that's going to be hard. Especially with fiberglass units.

I can attest from personal experience and that of many friends that Airstreams won't look like crap if you've been living in them for a number of years. We know one couple who have been living in their's since 2007, with 3 kids. Still looks new. I think their laminate floor has a wear pattern and they finally tore a hole in the couch cushion but other than that. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between their 2007 and a 2015.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: sol on August 03, 2015, 07:00:59 PM
http://clotheslinetinyhomes.com/faqs/why-not-an-rv/ seems a good overview over differences between tiny houses and (typical) RVs.

I had such high hopes for this link, because I've always wondered why tiny housers don't get RVs or trailers instead.  They're cheaper and more mobile and infinitely more well laid out.  Modern RVs, like modern sailboats, have generations of space-saving efficient design behind them.  They are marvels of modern engineering, in a way that something you build out of 2x4s will never be.

But the link was disappointing.  They claim tiny houses are better insulated (not necessarily) and less mobile (definitely).  The other two differences are totally BS opinions (prettier and different materials) that not everyone will agree with, so ultimately their claim is that tiny houses are better because they are heavier.  Very few things are automatically better because they are heavier.

I think tiny houses are a fad.  They're just DIY RVs, and as such they will never be as cheap and efficient as commercially made versions.  I'd like to support the DIY ethic, but just like RVs I think they're short-term housing options for single people or childless couples.  Please correct me, if you have any good links to families with kids and pets living in tiny houses.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: use2betrix on August 03, 2015, 08:18:44 PM
I have lived in a 42' toy hauler with my fiance and chocolate lab the last 2 years. The toy hauler section is 12' so we technically live in 30' with a 12' storage. The trailer is 8' wide with 3 slides.

We are doing it just fine, and plan to keep it this way for another 6-8 years until we have kids and they're old enough to start school.

I have a high income and I'm fine with this. I have a feeling when I'm ready to buy a real house, I'll be satisfied with something much smaller.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Ricky on August 03, 2015, 10:42:20 PM
I think everyone loves the idea of downsizing and living a simple life. But in reality, it just isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least for me. I know how I feel. I value space, and owning the items that I use on minimally a weekly basis (and that's sometimes too much for my minimalistic mind). Ultimately, I couldn't not have my own room where I can escape from everyone.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: totoro on August 04, 2015, 12:21:55 AM
Tiny homes are a fad.  A very quaint and charming fad. 

We'll look back in twenty years at all the cute pics of wood clad itty bitty places with Maria Kondo organized storage and remember the 2010's fondly.  I myself have spent some time dreaming about buying one until I realized that I wouldn't like cooking and eating a foot from the toilet for very long.   And I like a comfortable chair once in a while.

My city already has microlofts/apartments.  Those are much more practical overall as the land component required is smaller, they have appreciating resale value, and you can have rooftop gardens/shared spaces.  No question that housing where I live is outpacing inflation and has done so for my entire lifetime.  Housing is getting smaller but we've a long way to go before we hit Asia, or Europe for that matter.

Far more likely that Airbnb is going to be filling up extra bedrooms in the future then finding a lot more people tucked into tiny houses. 

Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Bardo on August 04, 2015, 05:43:15 AM
To be honest I doubt enough tiny houses are actually built to constitute a fad.  More like an offbeat rarity I would venture. 

Bear in mind that a lot of what is reported as trends or fads is really just media looking for something, anything, to provide content.  There's a world of web sites and other media out there trying to fill pixels and gather clicks and eyeballs, so the bar is inevitably set pretty low as to what constitutes a fad.  It's like flash mobs - another so called fad that was covered breathlessly, yet in real life was a rarity at best.  I think you can stash tiny houses in the same category. 

Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: astvilla on October 23, 2016, 01:40:16 PM
Awaking thread here. This question is something I debated in my head.

At first I was inspired and liked the idea of tiny houses.  Then I saw this thread and was let down and felt bad about even contemplating the idea.  But then I saw an episode on NJ TV about how there's a severe housing shortage in our state (true) and especially the wrong kind of housing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnZkLa6OPBc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcc7XqK6M7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPx4bdMp8GU

I get to talk to a lot of young people and I usually ask about their living situation.  For many young people working say retail, and even higher income young graduates, many are still living with their parents.  They only move out when they are married, or sharing a house with 3-4 other people, essentially, more and more single-family homes are de-facto dorm buildings.  And this isn't exactly poor young people but middle, average income young and retirees, as seniors need single dwellings if their spouse/partner dies. I make okay money, but I want to save aggressively, so house-sharing is the only affordable solution, and I'm not the only one.   In many neighborhoods of NNJ/CNJ, $100K/household isn't really much but average.  An agent I know can attest to this trend.  Higher property taxes necessitate more sources of income for homeowners who can no longer afford their own homes.  It's not for real estate investment; more "middle-class" homeowners who have owned for years can no longer afford "middle-class" property taxes, so they are renting rooms in their house.

Tiny houses can also be perceived as a threat.  No mortgage, no banks. No agents, inspectors, contractors, developers. Many people in those fields would have less work if everybody sought this type of housing.   

The people interested in keeping housing prices high and tiny or affordable homes away are homeowners themselves. All homeowners want prices to remain high, including Mustachians who count their residence as a big chunk of their FIRE plans. Municipalities restrict or do away w/affordable housing because tax revenue wouldn't be as good and voters + local governments (mainly homeowners) want prices to stay high.  Tiny/affordable housing can be seen as a perceived threat to safety and appearance of their neighborhoods. So zoning and laws do what they can to protect the homeowner class. 

People generally react strongly when someone does something radically different. Mustachians already provoke strong reactions from others, so it was a bit strange to see people enthusiastic about tiny homes or other forms of affordable living provoke strong reactions of dismissal here, where people are more unorthodox and reject many social norms.  Tiny houses seems very Mustachian to me. If less people are having families and are single, who's going to buy my house? How many could actually afford to buy it?

This is probably why in NJ, more townhomes, condos, apartments are built, to partially meet this demand, but it hasn't been enough.  Any new SFH are built by knocking down small, decrepit, abandoned homes and replacing it with a McMansion.  The path of owning a residence is a step ladder but more steps are now being added in between other steps due to changing times and some people don't like that. 

Tiny homes aren't meant for permanent housing but to help transition. Motivations vary from financial, environmental or a backlash against traditional McMansions.  The housing crisis also made an impression on me back in HS, that housing isn't a very good place to put all your eggs and I think more youth from '08 feel this way.  People relocate more, switch jobs, divorce, not have kids, single, delay marriage, paying back student loans, so permanent SFH isn't as attractive or immediate. 

Honestly I don't think homeowners need to worry.  There will always be demand. But space, zoning, and regulations need to be worked out for smaller dwellings.  That's if developers are interested in projects not as profitable. Left w/few options, it's no surprise the tiny house phenomenon is gaining traction seeing as their housing needs aren't met, they DIY.  Especially if there are millions of views and more and more purchasing this type of house. I don't see this as a fad but more a gradual shift in how housing will look like and at the least, put pressure for different types of housing to be built that are geared towards singles, childless couples, seniors and affordable.  Tiny houses are just an extension of the prefab, modular homes, micro-apartments, hobbit holes, Kasita's, tree houses, zerohome etc.  What type of housing will manifest from the variety of new housing types though?

I can only speak for NJ though.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: obstinate on October 23, 2016, 03:11:17 PM
They are already super niche because of zoning and permitting. I don't expect them to become very common. That said small homes are available most places, tend to be more affordable, and are not faddish at all.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Metric Mouse on October 23, 2016, 10:35:35 PM
Awaking thread here. This question is something I debated in my head.

At first I was inspired and liked the idea of tiny houses.  Then I saw this thread and was let down and felt bad about even contemplating the idea.  But then I saw an episode on NJ TV about how there's a severe housing shortage in our state (true) and especially the wrong kind of housing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnZkLa6OPBc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcc7XqK6M7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPx4bdMp8GU

I get to talk to a lot of young people and I usually ask about their living situation.  For many young people working say retail, and even higher income young graduates, many are still living with their parents.  They only move out when they are married, or sharing a house with 3-4 other people, essentially, more and more single-family homes are de-facto dorm buildings.  And this isn't exactly poor young people but middle, average income young and retirees, as seniors need single dwellings if their spouse/partner dies. I make okay money, but I want to save aggressively, so house-sharing is the only affordable solution, and I'm not the only one.   In many neighborhoods of NNJ/CNJ, $100K/household isn't really much but average.  An agent I know can attest to this trend.  Higher property taxes necessitate more sources of income for homeowners who can no longer afford their own homes.  It's not for real estate investment; more "middle-class" homeowners who have owned for years can no longer afford "middle-class" property taxes, so they are renting rooms in their house.

Tiny houses can also be perceived as a threat.  No mortgage, no banks. No agents, inspectors, contractors, developers. Many people in those fields would have less work if everybody sought this type of housing.   

The people interested in keeping housing prices high and tiny or affordable homes away are homeowners themselves. All homeowners want prices to remain high, including Mustachians who count their residence as a big chunk of their FIRE plans. Municipalities restrict or do away w/affordable housing because tax revenue wouldn't be as good and voters + local governments (mainly homeowners) want prices to stay high.  Tiny/affordable housing can be seen as a perceived threat to safety and appearance of their neighborhoods. So zoning and laws do what they can to protect the homeowner class. 

People generally react strongly when someone does something radically different. Mustachians already provoke strong reactions from others, so it was a bit strange to see people enthusiastic about tiny homes or other forms of affordable living provoke strong reactions of dismissal here, where people are more unorthodox and reject many social norms.  Tiny houses seems very Mustachian to me. If less people are having families and are single, who's going to buy my house? How many could actually afford to buy it?

This is probably why in NJ, more townhomes, condos, apartments are built, to partially meet this demand, but it hasn't been enough.  Any new SFH are built by knocking down small, decrepit, abandoned homes and replacing it with a McMansion.  The path of owning a residence is a step ladder but more steps are now being added in between other steps due to changing times and some people don't like that. 

Tiny homes aren't meant for permanent housing but to help transition. Motivations vary from financial, environmental or a backlash against traditional McMansions.  The housing crisis also made an impression on me back in HS, that housing isn't a very good place to put all your eggs and I think more youth from '08 feel this way.  People relocate more, switch jobs, divorce, not have kids, single, delay marriage, paying back student loans, so permanent SFH isn't as attractive or immediate. 

Honestly I don't think homeowners need to worry.  There will always be demand. But space, zoning, and regulations need to be worked out for smaller dwellings.  That's if developers are interested in projects not as profitable. Left w/few options, it's no surprise the tiny house phenomenon is gaining traction seeing as their housing needs aren't met, they DIY.  Especially if there are millions of views and more and more purchasing this type of house. I don't see this as a fad but more a gradual shift in how housing will look like and at the least, put pressure for different types of housing to be built that are geared towards singles, childless couples, seniors and affordable.  Tiny houses are just an extension of the prefab, modular homes, micro-apartments, hobbit holes, Kasita's, tree houses, zerohome etc.  What type of housing will manifest from the variety of new housing types though?

I can only speak for NJ though.

Wouldn't it be more efficient in terms of land use if several little houses were built on a lot? It would be even more efficient if they were stacked together to use shared walls, both in terms of cost and in terms of land footprint.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: mwulff on October 24, 2016, 02:32:27 AM
I'm a little torn on this topic.

Personally my wife and I currently live in a 700 sqft home and it is actually a little more house than we need. But I am actually dreaming of moving to a tiny-house for several reasons:

1. I subscribe to the thought that the things I own end up owning me. This is especially true for cars, houses and other major purchases. (Big Fight Club fan here)
2. 700 Sqft is more than enough for us and 400 sqft would do as well.
3. A tiny house could be placed more outside the city maybe in a nice forest or near a lake / the ocean.
4. Due to the low price a tiny house represents a fixed living cost of almost 0, the only thing we would have to pay is the tax on the plot, and that is very small.
5. I would love to be forced to reduce my clutter even further, we have thrown away/sold/given away so much stuff, and still we have more.
6. In the end I guess I long for a simpler life with less things to worry about and a tiny house with no stuff is about as worry-free as it gets.

So in the end I would love a tiny house, but since our current house will be paid off in 5-10 years and will be almost as cheap to own it doesn't make any sense to build a house.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Kitsune on October 24, 2016, 05:56:35 AM
Honestly, as a primary residence... No. I think they're only good in a place where you have shared common spaces (don't need book storage if you're near a library, don't need tool storage if you can rent them, etc, etc). We are... Very, very rural.

However, part of the appeal of a tiny house for us is that we're in a place where tiny cottages rent for 700$/week from May to September. And if they're on a trailer base, they don't have to qualify for building code (connected to sceptic tanks, town inspections, only 1 building on a lot, etc)... So, technically, if we build one ourselves, we could place it nicely away from the house but still on our property, rent it out all summer, and proceed with a minimum of fuss. As a rental vacation cottage, it makes sense and might actually work. :)
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: gp_ on October 24, 2016, 09:24:32 AM
no, I don't believe it's a fad.

places like detroit are building tiny home communities to alleviate homelessness and providing them with options of renting-to-own.

tony hsieh (CEO / founder of zappos), started a tiny home community in las vegas (i think with airstreams), for employees and remote employees to "come and go" as needed. from a nomadic standpoint, i believe this concept is very effective and makes sense.

for some, a tiny home may be what they can actually afford (or they don't want a mortgage), OR it's a way to reach FI, etc. modern day lifestyles have changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and i think many younger people specifically like the appeal of a tiny home as it may better fit their lifestyle. to me, there's a myriad of reasons why a tiny home makes sense for many people. the community aspect is one, and i believe freedom is a major reason / appeal as well.

i see this "fad" definitely becoming more mainstream as time goes on.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: MilesTeg on October 24, 2016, 11:54:15 AM
The 100-200sqft shoeboxes are definitely a "fad". It's a cheap option for a young person or a young couple or others that can't afford a real house yet and prefer not to rent a small apartment or an RV, but not a realistic option for the overwhelming majority of people. But once people figure out it's as financially savvy as buying a car or RV, they will fade (even further) into obscurity.

I just about died laughing the only time I watched Tiny House Nation or some other similar show. People looking at 200sqft "homes" with no bathroom and seriously considering paying $60-80k (in TN IIRC). Complete idiocy.

In a few years the only people wanting these things will be the truly dedicated hipsters who have never grown up.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: rocketpj on October 24, 2016, 07:12:39 PM
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Metric Mouse on October 25, 2016, 09:21:49 AM
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: mm1970 on October 25, 2016, 09:37:11 AM
The 100-200sqft shoeboxes are definitely a "fad". It's a cheap option for a young person or a young couple or others that can't afford a real house yet and prefer not to rent a small apartment or an RV, but not a realistic option for the overwhelming majority of people. But once people figure out it's as financially savvy as buying a car or RV, they will fade (even further) into obscurity.

I just about died laughing the only time I watched Tiny House Nation or some other similar show. People looking at 200sqft "homes" with no bathroom and seriously considering paying $60-80k (in TN IIRC). Complete idiocy.

In a few years the only people wanting these things will be the truly dedicated hipsters who have never grown up.
I can see them being super useful as AirBNB rentals.  You figure a couple hundred square feet, if they at least have plumbing, beats a hotel room.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: rocketpj on October 25, 2016, 05:29:46 PM
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.

I guess it breaks down to the cost of the tiny house.  In the years I paid rent (while in school and for awhile afterwards) I spent a total of about $75000 on rent, over about a decade - mostly in the 90s.  I was not living in expensive places.  If I could have built or bought a tiny house for less than $75K - most of them seem to be much less.  Assuming investing the savings difference, and the ability to either sell or scrap the tiny house when the shine comes off, I would be much further ahead.  Alternatively, perhaps I wouldn't have had to work as much while I was in school, which would also have been a boon.

So, there is probably a reasonable formula for a tiny house vs renting calculation.

Tiny house is good if (local modest rent*x years)>Total cost of tiny house/x years. 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Metric Mouse on October 27, 2016, 12:51:51 AM
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.

I guess it breaks down to the cost of the tiny house.  In the years I paid rent (while in school and for awhile afterwards) I spent a total of about $75000 on rent, over about a decade - mostly in the 90s.  I was not living in expensive places.  If I could have built or bought a tiny house for less than $75K - most of them seem to be much less.  Assuming investing the savings difference, and the ability to either sell or scrap the tiny house when the shine comes off, I would be much further ahead.  Alternatively, perhaps I wouldn't have had to work as much while I was in school, which would also have been a boon.

So, there is probably a reasonable formula for a tiny house vs renting calculation.

Tiny house is good if (local modest rent*x years)>Total cost of tiny house/x years.

Don't forget taxes, maintenance, insurance, utilities, land, etc.  I'm not saying it can't work out, just that the math isn't significantly different than for a regular house; Tiny houses are not an automatic homerun anymore than any other property purchase would be.

Air BNB might be a good use though; never thought of that.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: soccerluvof4 on October 27, 2016, 08:37:42 AM
I don't think its a fad but its definitely a niche. I watch those shows and so many if not most wouldn't even travel well. The fronts would get all dinged up etc.. So for those people that want to keep moving around I think just by an RV. If your going to sit still then for the cost there building these things just build a garage kit and turn it into a studio house or build what you want. I think you would find it easier to place something like that. But people will keep trying to reinvent and better them to keep an interest in them. I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet .  You plop in a tiny house community (which I think would be very hard) by the time you add roads, all the infrastructure then its at the very least a glorified trailer park and that reduces values of other homes in the area. For my money In a few years I would prefer to find some land out a bit and as I said build a 5-600 squ foot garage kit and build what I want where I want.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Late_Bloomer on October 27, 2016, 07:17:26 PM
We are considering something similar. Not a tiny home, but a cottage/park style. They are the 600 to 800 sq. ft. Homes, and cost about 60k. For NE Texas Piney Woods region, that's 4-8k for a less than acre lot within walk to the lake. Electrical and sewar/water less than 10k to set up. Property taxes some stupid amount like 13.00 yr. all told, that's less than I could get a 30 yr old run down house or condo where we currantly live. We're thinking of buying the land now and just running electric. And put a small used camper on it to use as a vacation place until we Fire. Than putting in sewar and dropping the house on it.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Metric Mouse on October 27, 2016, 07:21:51 PM
I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet . 

There are a few of these that have recently sprung up in my city. Very nice, attractive, well-appointed homes in the 1000 sqfoot range. A little less yard to maintain, as the lots are smaller, but look great. It kinda feels like you've wandered into a munchkin village at first, but once you get used to it the neighborhoods look great and really make a lot of sense.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on October 28, 2016, 04:38:39 AM
I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet . 

There are a few of these that have recently sprung up in my city. Very nice, attractive, well-appointed homes in the 1000 sqfoot range. A little less yard to maintain, as the lots are smaller, but look great. It kinda feels like you've wandered into a munchkin village at first, but once you get used to it the neighborhoods look great and really make a lot of sense.

Something has just occurred to me about the unspoken assumptions in this thread when contrasting tiny houses with various 'normal' houses: are most houses in America detached? I'm thinking of ordinary houses in cities, towns and suburbs. Because when I think of a 'normal' British house in any given city or town, it's definitely a terraced house.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: davisgang90 on October 28, 2016, 04:45:38 AM
I'm fascinated by the tiny house concept.  My wife is not a fan, so that's where it ends for us.

We have talked about building a tiny house in the backyard of our home for our adult son with autism who lives with us.  He doesn't use much space and he would enjoy his own space while being close enough for us to care for him. 
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Joggernot on October 28, 2016, 06:52:04 AM
I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet . 

There are a few of these that have recently sprung up in my city. Very nice, attractive, well-appointed homes in the 1000 sqfoot range. A little less yard to maintain, as the lots are smaller, but look great. It kinda feels like you've wandered into a munchkin village at first, but once you get used to it the neighborhoods look great and really make a lot of sense.
My kids were raised in an 836 sq ft house and didn't realize it.  When they were ~40, they went to Zillow and learned this fact, and they were surprised.  They thought of it as a very large house.  I think, because they were small and could pass side-by-side in the hallway, they thought of it as bigger than it really was.  Take yourself back to your grade school and walk the hallways.  Don't they look narrow now that you're bigger?  Grade school kids can go 4 abreast, but its almost single file for adults.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: GreenEggs on October 28, 2016, 07:19:56 AM
We tried a tiny house.  Looking back I think a travel trailer would have been a better choice, since we quickly realized the tiny house was too small to be a permanent home.

Who really wants to live in a storage shed?   
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: boarder42 on October 28, 2016, 08:03:55 AM
tiny houses are a fad from the mobility perspective.  These people that build them for the purposes of road tripping with them and staying less that 3-4 months (or likely more) in a single location are just costing themselves vs owning an RV.  NEWSFLASH the mobile living industry has been around for over 100 years and we've optimized weight and functionality at a much cheaper price than stick building on a trailer. 

now that being said if you plan to use it to reduce your lifestyle and live in one location and move very sparingly i think it could make sense.  but i personally think its a fad that will wear off on the pulling them all over the place side.  but something that will grow on the frugality side of reducing lifestyle and keeping them more stationary with the option to move every few years.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: TomTX on October 28, 2016, 04:05:33 PM
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

If it's built as an ADU to an existing home in a high-demand area, and is more like 500 square feet with a real bathroom - you could probably break even or better with it as an Airbnb. Local example: I'm sure you could break even in Austin just renting it out during the various festivals.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: TomTX on October 28, 2016, 04:25:04 PM
I don't think its a fad but its definitely a niche. I watch those shows and so many if not most wouldn't even travel well. The fronts would get all dinged up etc.. So for those people that want to keep moving around I think just by an RV. If your going to sit still then for the cost there building these things just build a garage kit and turn it into a studio house or build what you want. I think you would find it easier to place something like that. But people will keep trying to reinvent and better them to keep an interest in them. I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet .  You plop in a tiny house community (which I think would be very hard) by the time you add roads, all the infrastructure then its at the very least a glorified trailer park and that reduces values of other homes in the area. For my money In a few years I would prefer to find some land out a bit and as I said build a 5-600 squ foot garage kit and build what I want where I want.

Might not make sense to build out the infrastructure somewhere new, but to someplace like Spur, TX it's pretty appealing. You already have roads, water, power, sewer to "city" (town) lots - but the population had crashed since most kids moved to the Big City for jobs for decades. Many lots have derelict houses or already had the old house cleared/torn down. Many lots reverted to the city for nonpayment of taxes. Sell 'em off to the Tiny House folks and you get some revenue and revitalization.

http://www.spurfreedom.org/
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Metric Mouse on October 28, 2016, 11:28:19 PM
I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet . 

There are a few of these that have recently sprung up in my city. Very nice, attractive, well-appointed homes in the 1000 sqfoot range. A little less yard to maintain, as the lots are smaller, but look great. It kinda feels like you've wandered into a munchkin village at first, but once you get used to it the neighborhoods look great and really make a lot of sense.

Something has just occurred to me about the unspoken assumptions in this thread when contrasting tiny houses with various 'normal' houses: are most houses in America detached? I'm thinking of ordinary houses in cities, towns and suburbs. Because when I think of a 'normal' British house in any given city or town, it's definitely a terraced house.

I can't say 'most', but I would say that is the theory behind tiny houses.  If one has a bunch of tiny houses stacked together, it's called an apartment building...
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: shelivesthedream on October 29, 2016, 04:20:42 AM
I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet . 

There are a few of these that have recently sprung up in my city. Very nice, attractive, well-appointed homes in the 1000 sqfoot range. A little less yard to maintain, as the lots are smaller, but look great. It kinda feels like you've wandered into a munchkin village at first, but once you get used to it the neighborhoods look great and really make a lot of sense.

Something has just occurred to me about the unspoken assumptions in this thread when contrasting tiny houses with various 'normal' houses: are most houses in America detached? I'm thinking of ordinary houses in cities, towns and suburbs. Because when I think of a 'normal' British house in any given city or town, it's definitely a terraced house.

I can't say 'most', but I would say that is the theory behind tiny houses.  If one has a bunch of tiny houses stacked together, it's called an apartment building...

I read a lot of American internet and a lot of discussions about housing on here and I've always been a bit confused as to why some things are such a big deal in America, but I now realise that for years I have been projecting all these discussions about mowing your too-big lawn or American houses being too big or whatever onto my mental image of the Victorian terrace I grew up in (which was actually quite big for its type). Makes much more sense of the complaints about the endless pavement-free, low-density American suburb if I think of the houses in American Beauty or The Truman Show.

We Brits are notoriously obsessed with having our own front door and would stereotypically rather live in a mouldering back-to-back than a modern block of flats. Do Americans have a similar thing about terraced houses? Is there a 'national hatred' of sharing walls with your neighbours? Because terraced housing is actually pretty space-efficient.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: TomTX on October 29, 2016, 12:56:07 PM

I read a lot of American internet and a lot of discussions about housing on here and I've always been a bit confused as to why some things are such a big deal in America, but I now realise that for years I have been projecting all these discussions about mowing your too-big lawn or American houses being too big or whatever onto my mental image of the Victorian terrace I grew up in (which was actually quite big for its type). Makes much more sense of the complaints about the endless pavement-free, low-density American suburb if I think of the houses in American Beauty or The Truman Show.

We Brits are notoriously obsessed with having our own front door and would stereotypically rather live in a mouldering back-to-back than a modern block of flats. Do Americans have a similar thing about terraced houses? Is there a 'national hatred' of sharing walls with your neighbours? Because terraced housing is actually pretty space-efficient.

There is quite the cultural "you've made it!" stereotype of the separate dwelling. Also, a lot of flats have rather thin (not noise blocking) walls.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: clarkfan1979 on October 30, 2016, 10:51:52 AM
Tiny houses have existed for a long time in Hawaii. However, it's very easy to incorporate outdoor living in HI due to the mild weather.
Title: Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
Post by: Kitsune on October 31, 2016, 07:53:30 AM
Tiny houses have existed for a long time in Hawaii. However, it's very easy to incorporate outdoor living in HI due to the mild weather.

Yeah, if I had Hawaii weather I'd seriously consider a smaller house.

And then I think about being stuck in the house during -20 Quebec winters, with 2 small children ricochet-ing off the walls anytime they're not outside (and it being too cold to spend THAT much time outside), and... I think we need a bit more space to survive the experience. ;) Not like 3000 square feet, just... more than 500 square feet.