The current economic climate has driven some Americans to examine how much space they really need. And when it comes to purchasing a home, many consumers are finding they can do with less than an average-sized home of 2,600 square feet, a lot less in some cases.
The Small Home market is the subject of a new resource unveiled this summer through the NAR Library titled “Field Guide to the Small House Movement.” This field guide provides information on the various aspects of living in a smaller home as well as trends that are taking place around this market niche.
One of those trends includes Micro-homes, which have between 100-400 square feet in living space. Living in a home of this size will require certain lifestyle choices, according to an article titled “5 Fascinating Facts about the Small House Movement.” And for some homebuyers, many of these lifestyle changes are for the better, including the following:
- Seventy-eight percent of Small House residents own their home. Since about 26% of an average household’s budget is spent on housing this means owners will either have a lot more money in savings or maybe just enjoy working a little less.
- Buildings contribute to an estimated 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions, so with a Small House the home’s carbon footprint is drastically reduced.
- The average cost of building a Small House is $23,000 compared to $272,000 for a conventional home. As a bonus some choose to build their small homes themselves, saving even more money.
- Twenty-eight percent of U.S. dwellings house only one person. If the average home is 2,600 square feet then that’s a lot of space for one person! Just like all the cars with one person in them that can’t use the carpool lane during rush hour, one person living in a big house all alone just doesn’t make sense – especially when one thinks of the future of energy use and environmental sustainability in the U.S.
- Beyond saving money and helping save the planet, there is one more priceless thing owners will save with a Small House: TIME. Nearly everyone you ask will say they’re too busy and modern life for many seems like it is constantly accelerating. A Small House means less time spent cleaning, less time on maintenance and less time having to earn money to pay for the house.
Markets for Smaller Homes:
REALTORS® will find that many of these benefits of small home ownership resonate very well with several demographic audiences, including Baby Boomers and Millennials. These two population segments alone represent 155 million consumers, which is nearly half of the total population in the U.S.
Aging baby boomers find smaller homes appealing because they require less maintenance and are lower in price, which may allow them to downsize to a home in a more geographically desirable area. Millennials too are considering purchasing smaller homes because of lower pricing that fits their current income levels. In addition, some smaller homes also offer more green features such as reduced energy usage that is appealing to Millennials as well.
One thing to learn from the Small Home trend is that there is in fact something for anyone in today’s marketplace, at nearly any budget.