Tiny Houses: Tiny is the New Big

An increased level environmental awareness and a flood of foreclosures are just some of the factors that may be shifting Americans' attitudes about home ownership. Particularly, consumer demand for bigger homes may be shrinking and shifting instead to smaller economical and eco-friendly homes. Who wants to pay for air conditioning or heating for a 2,500 square foot home? One interesting byproduct of this shift is the growing market for “tiny homes,” the term used to describe homes less than 750 square feet, though tiny homes can be less than 100 square feet.

Several companies will manufacture tiny homes, which are being used as primary residences, vacation homes and even portable homes that owners haul around the country with a truck. For about $45K (not including shipping) Tumbleweed Houses will build you a 102 square foot home in about three months. They also offer do-it-yourself instructions for between $695 and 995. Alchemy Architects offers the ultra modern weestudio, a 364 square foot home with a base price of $69,500.

If you take a look around, you will see a tiny culture emerging all around us. Tiny cars such as the Smart Car have overwhelmed projections with 14,000 sold in the U.S. and a year-long waiting list, according to Business Week. You can get a laptop that fits in an envelope and a dog that fits in a purse. Small is trendy. As author Seth Godin said, “Small is the new big.” With sales of small cars greatly outnumbering sales of larger cars, this shift in consumer demand could easily carry over to Americans becoming more likely to buy small or tiny homes to minimize their housing costs and environmental impact. There is an untapped market, which presents a great opportunity for investors in tiny real estate or the next Smart Car for the housing market.

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