Measuring the popularity of tiny houses

I enjoy looking at pictures of tiny houses, those abodes with around 100 square feet. Perhaps it has something to do with my interest in home designs or my liking of cozy places or thinking about how Americans are finding alternatives to buying large homes.

But it is difficult to get a handle on exactly how many people like these houses or actually decide to buy them. One thing is sure: it is a small number of people. But this story suggests the number of people interested is on the rise:

Tumbleweed’s business has grown significantly since the housing crisis began, Shafer said. He now sells about 50 blueprints, which cost $400 to $1,000 each, a year, up from 10 five years ago. The eight workshops he teaches around the country each year attract 40 participants on average, he said…

Since the housing crisis and recession began, interest in tiny homes has grown dramatically among young people and retiring Baby Boomers, said Kent Griswold, who runs the Tiny House Blog, which attracts 5,000 to 7,000 visitors a day…

Gregory Johnson, who co-founded the Small House Society with Shafer, said the online community now has about 1,800 subscribers, up from about 300 five years ago. Most of them live in their small houses full-time and swap tips on living simple and small.

Johnson, 46, who works as a computer consultant at the University of Iowa, said dozens of companies specializing small houses have popped up around the country over the past few years…

He said his small houses, which sell for $20,000 to $50,000, are much cheaper than building a home addition and can be resold when the extra space is no longer needed. His company has sold 16 houses this year and aims to sell 20 next year.

These numbers are small – and anecdotal. Even with this rise in popularity, there are still few people interested in selling or buying tiny houses. Are there enough people here to declare that there is a “tiny house movement”? Why not include figures about how many people have joined Facebook groups having to do with tiny houses?

While the popularity of these homes might be indicative that more Americans are interesting in downsizing, the better figure to look at is the average size of the new American single-family home. Taking into account national data, this figure dropped this year and suggests that houses across the country are becoming slightly smaller (or at least reversing the trend of always getting bigger).

4 thoughts on “Measuring the popularity of tiny houses

  1. Pingback: Journalists need a better measure for when something has “taken over the web” | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: McMansions as debtor’s prisons | Legally Sociable

  3. Pingback: Trailer for documentary about tiny houses: “Tiny – A Story About Living Small” | Legally Sociable

  4. Pingback: “Tiny Houses Are Big” – with 10,000 total in the United States | Legally Sociable

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