The real estate market is demonstrating its resilience in recent months, indicating that we’ve finally reached the recovery stage following the subprime housing crisis and 2008 economic recession. This is good news for many, including those seeking to sell their homes to downsize and young people who are finally positioned to buy their first homes. Still, even with steady job growth and improved wages, many remain concerned about overinvesting in a large first home.
Instead of purchasing a traditional single family home, many today are looking towards the tiny home movement as an alternative market – but does it make sense to invest less when the market is strong? Tiny homes are still an uncommon choice, leading to significant misunderstandings about their benefits, but many residents see great potential in these small spaces.
Why start small – and stay small – in a booming house market? For many young people saddled by college loans, the tiny house movement promises a life free from additional debt. Simply put, taking on a mortgage is untenable with thousands of dollars of student debt to manage, and many see the tiny house trend as a wise investment in their future, allowing them to better save for retirement. Real estate, they argue, isn’t the only way to invest.
Another reason tiny homes have grown so popular with millennials is that they’re considered a more sustainable option in a culture obsessed with possessions. In a tiny home, there’s no room for all of those extras, and these young people are more than okay with opting out of conspicuous consumption. It’s seen as environmentally and economically more responsible.
It’s not just what happens inside tiny homes that’s considered more environmentally friendly; the structure of tiny homes themselves also lend themselves to sustainability culture. One popular tiny home foundation is the recycled shipping container, an affordable alternative to other housing materials that also capitalizes on its strength and versatility. As seen here, shipping containers make an extremely flexible building material, so why not put them to work as homes?
Freedom and Community
Because investment is so often focused on the concept of money and material goods, alternative values are often overlooked when discussing why the tiny home movement is so appealing. Many of those who’ve opted to live in tiny homes do so because they see it as a way to invest in their own freedom – a truly tiny home is much like a mobile home and can be taken anywhere. Not happy in the area where you’re living or hoping to spend a lot of time on the road? Tiny homes are a great alternative.
On the flip side, those with slightly larger tiny homes often choose to live where they do because they can build community with others who share their values and way of life. These tiny home dwellers might have about 500 square feet – think more like a studio apartment or small cabin than the miniscule 150 square foot homes most associate with the movement. Clustered together with other tiny home owners, they’re able to create a community.
Not Ready To Scale Down?
Finally, its important to note that you can invest in the tiny home movement without actually choosing to live in one of these small spaces. Because of financial constraints, many people within the movement actually rent their land, while owning only the home. Some investors, then, are choosing to buy land to rent out to this unusual market. It’s a great way to ensure that you have additional monthly income and can help older investors secure money for retirement.
The housing market may be rebounding, but that doesn’t mean everyone is excited to participate in the traditional path to ownership. Keep an eye on the tiny home movement in the coming years – it looks to only be growing – and consider how you might make a personal or financial investment in this market.