American homes, especially suburban American homes, continue to grow in square footage. But like all trends, this one may be reaching its turning point.
Today, more Americans are scaling back and building tiny homes, for a multitude of reasons. But the general consensus amongst tiny homeowners, is that their tiny homes provide them with economic freedom and peace of mind.
While the definition of what constitutes a tiny home varies (some say 1,000-square-feet or less and others say 500-square-feet or less) one thing is for certain, compared to the average American home, tiny homes pale in comparison. Some find pride in scaling their homes down to the bare minimum. You can take this tiny house virtual tour of Jay Shafer, a forefather of the movement’s, 89-square-foot home in Sebastapol, California. Jay sells plans for the model for $859.
But tiny homes are about more than just practicality. Most tiny homeowners find a renewed sense in beauty and architecture when they’re designing and constructing their home. Doug Immel, a school teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, completed his dream home with cherry-wood floors, cathedral ceilings and stained-glass windows. The 164-square-foot home cost him $28,000, which is a seventh of the median price of single-family residences in Rhode Island. Because of his tiny home, Immel predicts he may be able to retire in as few as three years.
”I am infinitely happier,” he told Bloomberg News.
Tiny homeowners note a variety of economic benefits from investing in their tiny homes including the freedom to explore a new, more rewarding career, the freedom from mortgage constraints, and the potential for early retirement.
While the movement is still relatively small, it has experienced a rapid growth rate in recent years, which may be attributed in part to the economic recession. 23 percent of tiny homeowners range between the ages of 31 and 40, according to “The Tiny Life” blog, which surveyed more than 2,600 tiny homeowners in the U.S. Almost 90 percent said they had at least some college education. There is even a real-estate market dedicated solely to tiny homes at Tiny House Listings, where buyers who want a tiny home, but don’t want to put in the work themselves, can peruse tiny homes listings.
The best thing about his little house, Immel told Bloomberg, is that it gave him “complete peace of mind.”
Pictured: Oct. 14, 2010, Jay Schafer, owner of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, exits a tiny house he built for himself in Graton, Calif; Photo: Ben Margot
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