At a recent tiny house event, I overheard a conversation between a young twenty-something and her fifty-something father – it went something like this:
Her: “I LOVE IT! IT’S SO CUTE! I WANT ONE!”
Him: “How could you live in it?! It’s like a shoebox! I think my first car was bigger than this!”
Her: “Yeah dad, that’s the point! It’d be perfect for me. I can keep it behind your house until I find a place to park it.”
Him: “You could. I think it’s smaller than our shed. Are you sure you could handle living in something that small?”
Her: “Absolutely! Why would I need any more right now?”
What the young lady’s father couldn’t get, is what is the strange allure of tiny houses? Why would anyone want to live tiny? But in today’s economy, more and more millennials are opting to eschew the debt of a big house or the negative returns of an apartment.
So, What’s So Special About the Tiny House Lifestyle for Millennials?
The answer to that question might be as varied as the number of people you asked, but there are a few common themes
- Little or No Debt – The price of college tuition has skyrocketed in recent years and along with skyrocketing student loan debts. The average 2016 college graduate has over $37,000 in college debt. The last thing millennials want to do is go deeper into debt on a house they don’t need. Many can scrape enough money to buy a tiny house with little, or in some cases, no debt. This is preferable to a sizable mortgage or a monthly rent payment that never ends.
- Minimalism – Many millennials are not only avoiding debt, but also what they view as “the trappings” of modern living. There is great appeal to living within one’s means and not accumulating “stuff”. Transitioning from a tiny dorm room to a tiny house seems like a natural segue.
- Lower Expenses – Having a tiny house means lower expenses. Typically expenses such as utilities and insurance are drastically lower than in a typical house or apartment. More savings means they can allocate their budget to paying down student loan debt or more “mad money”.
- Reduced Footprint – While many Gen Xers would scoff at the motion of their house contributing appreciably to global warming, most Millennials are committed to doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leaving the planet better than they found it. A smaller house means less energy consumption, which translates to a reduced carbon footprint. All this adds up to a better, more sustainable way to live.
- Freedom and Independence – The notion of having their house on wheels and being able to pull up stakes and move at a moment’s notice has great appeal to millennials. Having a Tiny House on Wheels (THoW) means that you could be looking at the Rocky Mountains one weekend and on the Coast the next.
There are lots of reasons why tiny houses make sense for nearly any age, but millennials are definitely a strong fit for the tiny house lifestyle. Are you a millennial who’s gone tiny? We’d love to hear your reasons for going tiny, so please leave us a reply in the comments section. Thanks, and always, THINK TINY!