Whenever we mention to people that we run a website dedicated to tiny houses and the tiny house lifestyle, reactions fairly typical. “Oh, I’ve seen those on TV. Those are COOL! I’d love to live in one!”; “Those are neat! Some of them are really amazing…but it’s not for me! Where would I put all my stuff.”; “They’re stupid! It’s a fad! I can’t wait until they go away!”
But are tiny houses a fad? Or are they just a natural reaction to the fad of oversized, overpriced “McMansions”? Are tiny houses a sensible alternative to a huge mortgage and big tax bills, or just the latest flash in the pan?
We believe that tiny houses are what we like to call: “A course correction to normalcy”. In order to understand and gain perspective on house sizes, it’s fairly important to look at the historical trend.
Most of the World is Already Tiny
To most of the rest of the world, tiny is normal consider these facts:
- In the UK, the average house is just 915 square feet
- France’s average house size is 947 square feet
- The average abode in Finland is just 828 square feet
- Greece’s average homestead is 861 square feet
- The average living space in Hong Kong is just 484 square feet
- Russia’s average abode is 614 square feet
Bigger has Always Been the American Way
Cadillac Sedan DeVilles, Lincoln Continentals…Americans like big cars, big tracts of land and big houses. It’s the American way! It’s always been that way! That’s what many would have you believe. But the truth is big, rambling McMansions are a fairly new advent, historically speaking. For example, in 1950 the average new home construction was 983 square feet. In 1920 it was 832 square feet. So, as you can see, things weren’t always the way they are today where the average new home construction is just under 2,400 square feet. The average new home size didn’t really take off until the 1980s when banks and mortgage companies convinced American consumers that bigger was better and eased credit requirements made it easier for nearly anyone to qualify for a loan.
Reaching the Point of Absurdity
In the United States households owe more than $14.5 trillion in mortgage debt. Student loan debt is more than $1.4 trillion and credit card debt is more than $1 trillion. The country is awash in debt from filling huge houses with stuff.
The tiny house movement was born, at least in part, from a desire to learn to live with less and to escape debt. Tiny houses are not a fad, but a course correction to sanity.
The Battle Isn’t Over Yet
While tiny housers are perfectly content to live with less, they do not go unopposed. Counties and municipalities are using statutes and zoning to try to curtail the tiny movement. A smaller house means smaller property taxes, and to bureaucrats with large budgets, that just won’t do. Tiny houses have also face resistance from the banking industry too. Growth in the demand for tiny houses has caused prices to rise. For some higher prices have necessitated the need for financing. Fortunately, some tiny house manufacturers offer manufacturer’s financing.
Tiny houses aren’t a fad. Tiny houses are a practical solution to reasonable, affordable housing.What do you think about the suggestion that tiny houses are “just a fad”? Do you love the tiny house movement? We’d like to hear your thoughts. Are you a tiny house hater? We’d like to hear from you too!