It’s been almost a decade that I’ve been involved in the tiny house movement and during that time I have seen it go through so many changes. Perhaps a better way to put it is, the tiny house movement has involved in so many ways. Generally speaking, tiny houses don’t look like they did many years ago.
Having a front row seat to the buying and selling aspect of the house movement, it has been interesting to see tiny houses make the shift from homes that appealed to a very small segment of the population, to larger ones with more conveniences that appeal to a much broader audience of potential tiny house dwellers.
Back then, tiny houses were usually something like 16 feet long, the bathroom had barely enough room to do your business (knees pressed against the wall) and if you were a guy like me at 6’4”, good luck. Circa 2009, I can remember sitting in the barber chair asking the question “have you heard of tiny houses?” Of course, a blank face stared back at me. Now, I ask the same question and I have the entire barber shop’s attention. The reply is usually something like “I love tiny houses!” Needless to say, there have been alot of people coming into the tiny house fold that in the past would have never considered this sort of lifestyle. Why is this? Well, alot of I think it because of social media, hugely popular YouTube channels, TV shows, new solutions being create and so on.
But the true reason I believe more people are interested in living in a tiny house is because of things like uncertain market conditions, more and more people becoming disinterested in a consumerist lifestyle, living continuously with debt and overall just wanting to live more simply.
To accommodate the changing taste in tiny houses, tiny house builders began building larger tiny houses and with more amenities like dishwashers, washer/dryer units, off-grid systems, high-end kitchens and so on. It isn’t uncommon to see a 40’ long tiny house for sale at Tiny House Listings.
Now I know alot of you would probably say “40 feet, that’s not a tiny house” but you would (respectfully) be wrong. A 40 feet long and 8.5 feet wide tiny house would be 340 square feet. In 2018, the average size home built in The United States was a whopping 2,660 square feet. That means that 40’ tiny home you thought was big actually has about 13% of the square feet as its larger counterpart. Anything that’s only 13% the size of its counterpart can be considered tiny. Hold up a tomato in one hand and then hold up another 13% the size or the regular-sized one. You get the point.
The Tiny Casa
So, giving that tiny houses have gotten larger because that is what people are wanting, naturally the prices have risen to meet the tiny house dweller’s requirements. Even still, tiny houses are a fraction of the price of regular homes. And if you consider the amount of money you save by living in one? Not even comparable.
While the purists out there (admittedly, I was one of them for a good long while) would love for the tiny house movement to stay what others would consider fringe, I personally see so many people considering tiny that otherwise wouldn’t have being a very very good thing. The good news is, if you think that tiny houses are still too expensive or are getting too luxurious, there are lots of builders out there that can help. Or you could always go the DIY approach and make your tiny house as cheap and tiny as you want!
Here’s a video I put together that goes into what I’ve been saying here in this post.
Steven Harrell is the founder of Tiny House Listings and long-time tiny house advocate.