Tiny Houses Offer Affordable Housing Solutions


For people just starting out in life, it’s becoming more difficult to afford a place to live. Bunking up with several roommates is becoming more common around the country. But it’s tough.

I remember once talking to a flight attendant who had two children recently. When her home flight base was closed, she had to transfer to another one in a different city. So her only recourse was to share an apartment with 15 other attendants! She said that everyone had their own bunk bed, taking up all the rooms in the apartment. But this was the only way to make it affordable.

Tiny housing trend hits big

Have you seen TV shows like Tiny House Nation or Tiny House Hunters? There’s a trend toward smaller housing going on all over the country. It started in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and Boston. But now it’s going on away from the coasts too.

Microhousing is what happens when you get an entire apartment’s worth of living space into the size of a traditional hotel room — somewhere around 320 sq ft. Using CAD, developers can get in a galley kitchen, a bathroom, and either a 1 BR plan or a studio setup, depending on the layout. 

Rents are in the range of $500 a month to $650 a month when you’re out of the most expensive cities. (That’s not true in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and Boston)

When you’re talking about the bigger cities, an architect in San Francisco came up with a design for a 250 sq. ft. condo — roughly one-tenth the size of a typical house in America. That’s smaller than a typical bedroom in a modern house. By using intelligent design, it may not be roomy, but it’s functional. But here’s the kicker. How much do you think these condos sell for in San Francisco? $279,000 – $330,000! Most places in America, you can buy a whole house for that kind of money!

Yet still, if you think about affordable options, this is a good start. The Habitat for Humanity homes I help build use computer aided design to utilize every inch of available space. This allows them to build 4 bedroom, 2 bath homes with only 1,000 square feet.

The upshot is, if we can live with less, we can make places for people that are decent and affordable.

  • Show Comments Hide Comments