The Tiny House Movement

Boneyard Studios Tiny House Village

Check ’em out online. You can build one for as little as $2,000, or buy one for $10,000 and way up! The Little Cottage Company will send you one for $3,199 with free shipping. It’s a new movement. According to Forbes, tiny houses “are having a moment.” The tiny house movement has gone huge. They are inexpensive, ecologically motivated, and force owners to change their lifestyles… reducing possessions and tying into the de-clutter movement. They’re part of the quest for simplicity, a rejection of stuff and waste. Experts note that the movement has appealed to a surprisingly broad demographic.

The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas a typical tiny house is 100 – 460 square feet. This bucks a trend: In 1978 the average American house was 1,780 square feet in size. This grew to 2,479 square feet by 2013 despite a decrease in the size of the average American family.

The “small house” movement is for homes less than 1,000 square feet in size. “Tiny houses” are generally less than 500 square feet. Tiny houses on wheels have also gotten lots of attention at about 96 square feet in size. They often have the cabinetry reminiscent of the galley in a sail boat.

In 2002, the Small House Society was formed. Then in 2005, and after Hurricane Katrina, “Katrina Cottages” were developed that were 308 square feet as alternatives to FEMA trailers. There have been reality TV shows, Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters. There are even tiny apartments in New York and San Francisco.

Yes, tiny houses are more affordable and they are certainly ecologically friendly… but in fairness, they are a tiny part of real estate transactions. Less than 1% of new sales were for homes of less than 1,000 square feet in size…often in the form of “accessory dwelling units” for mother in laws.

Tiny they are, but in terms of cost per square foot, they can be quite expensive, in the $200 – $400 per square foot range. Why? While compact, tiny houses still have all the expensive mechanicals of a “normal” home…appliances, bathrooms, etc.