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SBS 2016: Tiny houses, big market?SBS 2016: Tiny houses, big market?https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=140822016-08-05T05:00:00Z

​​​GRAPEVINE – Anyone who's ever watched a television show about so-called "tiny houses" might assume that particular type of home has an extremely narrow market. Not necessarily, said two keynote speakers at this week's Sunbelt Builders Show.

Not surprisingly, millennials are a big market for this type of home.

"They're all about downsizing and urban living. They also recognize the need to be mobile," said Jonathan White, owner of Austin-based J White Design + Build, noting their tendency to change employers more often than Gen-Xers or baby boomers. "They want the ability to uproot easily."

White said millennials will drive two-thirds of all household formations over the next five years, and 32 percent plan to buy a home. He didn't provide figures on how many of those will be in the market for a tiny house, but the National Association of Realtors reported earlier this summer that only about 1 percent of first-time buyers are looking for a house with 1,000 sf or less (tiny houses are generally around 300 sf).

Millennials also don't want to have too much of their income tied up in living expenses, White said.

According to White and Kim Lewis of Kim Lewis Designs (who's also the lead designer of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), tiny houses can cost from $15,000 to $65,000 or more, depending on the size, features, materials, and whether the owner does the work or hires a builder.

Sixty-eight percent of tiny house dwellers have no mortgage, and monthly utilities average $100, compared with $450 for an average-size house of 2,600 sf.

It's not just millenials making themselves at home in tiny houses.

Lewis said they're popular with Gen-Xers in need of live/work space in urban areas, or who are interested in small homes as AirBnB rentals.

Baby boomers, meanwhile, are using tiny houses as mother-in-law guest houses, hobby spaces, office space for small businesses, and as housing when they want to be near family.​

Real Estate Center
Texas
Housing
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