There’s a myth that first time buyers are somewhere between 28 and 35. For the average millennial American, the idea of a mortgage seems about as realistic as riding an eagle to work.
Housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s estimated that the average 30-something would need to double their current income in order to afford buying a home.
The housing market has left an entire generation in rental limbo. As long as employment and the economy remains volatile, there’s no immediate solution in sight. Or is there?
Despite a lurch in housing sales, there’s been an unexpected shift towards DIY craft homes. If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest, or perhaps watched the documentary Tiny, you might already be familiar with the tiny house movement.
What Is The Tiny House Movement?
For tiny novices, a tiny house is approximately between 100 and 400 square feet. So, yeah — it’s small! But advocates of getting little say that the ample 2,000 square feet of regular, single family homes are unnecessary.
Why Go Tiny?
For the environmentally conscious home-dweller, a tiny house is a green alternative to mainstream living. Tiny houses are usually powered by solar energy, which drives down the cost for budget strapped buyers. Going tiny can make a big impact on your bank account, too. You won’t be able to afford a tarp in Manhattan, or a ramshackle trailer in the sandlands of outer LA. — but apparently $250,000 will nab you a single family property in states like Iowa, Nebraska, or Alabama.
However — even in uber expensive states like California or Hawaii — a tiny house will still cost you, on average, $40,000 to assemble. To bypass weird zoning laws, most tiny houses are on wheels — so you can call yourself King of the Road and dodge stringent city building inspectors.
So it’s no surprise that the tiny house movement is particularly appealing to millennials, who are already drowning in student loans, and other debts. When you take into account the cost of utilities, HOA fees, taxes, and repairs, the real cost of buying a home could soar into the hundreds of thousands. It’s just not tenable for struggling first time buyers to cope with the financial burden of a home, unless they have some family jewels to trade in. For those without an inheritance to help them out — owning a tiny home is the closest they can get to homeowner autonomy.
Not that’s it a bad gig — did we mention these tiny houses are absolutely adorable? If Disney transmogrified your dad's toolshed into a home, this might be the outcome:
Tiny houses are affordable. Plus they’re really helping to save the environment. Perhaps best of all, you can stroll around your tiny pad, and pretend to be a wizard. Money can’t buy feels like that!
However, as utopian as a tiny house seems, it’s not all toadstools and magic. If you’re a young family — or over 5'8" — is tiny living practical?
Is Tiny House Living For Me?
The biggest concern for families is downsizing with kids. Is it practical? This entirely depends on you. After all, our ancestors lived in caves and warriored through — so yes, anything is possible. Will it be super comfortable with tots? Well, if you’re okay with no personal space, it’s probably fine.
You don’t see many parents taking up the tiny cause. At least not as often as their childless counterparts. Storage is the biggest downer with lil’ living, and as any parent can tell you — kids come with stuff. A lot of stuff. Choosing to be a zen, tiny house parent is up to the parent in question — and others have done it, to varying degrees of success.
If you’re unwilling to purge your possessions down to the bare minimum, then tiny house living probably isn’t for you either. Many tiny aficionados have insisted that our culture is obsessed with useless junk, and it’s an unnecessary burden. Here’s a snapshot of an average tiny house closet.
If you have an average to large collection of clothes, you might want to rethink your options for storage! If you live with someone else, spending all of your time in close proximity to each other, may cause some tension in your relationship. Everyone needs their space from time to time, so if you’re okay using the great outdoors as your space — go for it.
But if you love the minimal lifestyle, and aren’t about to double down with a large brood anytime soon — tiny house living might be the perfect solution for affordable housing.
Thirty percent of greenhouse gases are caused by large buildings and building projects. Tiny houses are also low-carbon, and ideal to run off of renewable energy, like solar panels. You can even build your tiny house out of recycled materials to be uber-green.
But if the environment is your top motivation to downsize, there are many ways to send out green good vibes without having to compromise your living space.
For the outdoor loving, free-spirited traveler who wants to get off the grid altogether, the tiny house is the perfect solution. Tether it to your truck, and take off into the horizon!
Have you lived in a tiny house? Tell us about it in the comments!