15% of young people would definitely live in ‘tiny’ homes

November 14, 2013, 8:21 PM GMT+0

Tiny homes could be the next big thing on the US housing market – among 18-34 year old Americans, 15% would definitely want to live in a small abode, while 19% would seriously consider it. Tiny houses are generally smaller than the average parking spot and can be dramatically cheaper than the average US property.

Older Americans are much less likely to even consider living in a tiny home. 57% of over-54s would definitely not live in one, and 22% say they wouldn’t give it much consideration.

Cost could be a major factor in attracting youngsters to tiny homes. One tiny house blogger wrote that she built her home for $33,000 on top of an 8 by 16 foot trailer, and uses the outdoor garden around the home as a personal living space. These scaled down properties have shot up in popularity in recent years – with a Tiny House magazine now in circulation for homeowners to show off their small scale builds and a documentary ‘TINY: A Story About Living Small’ set to air in the US next week.

Currently 38% of 18-34 year olds rent from a landlord, whether commercially or through a friend or their parents, and 16% have a mortgage on their own home. Just 8% of this younger demographic are living in a house they own outright, compared with 39% among over-54s.

And among US renters, finances are a factor in determining living arrangements. Among 18-34 year olds, just 18% say they rent because they like the flexibility, while 51% are renting because they cannot afford the down payment on their first home.

And more than half of Americans (54%) think a tiny home is most suitable for young people to get their foot on the property ladder. 43% of Americans say they’re most suitable in emergency situations, such as if someone is made temporarily homeless by a natural disaster.

People after a more nomadic lifestyle could also be drawn to tiny homes. $30,000 will buy a NOMAD sustainable house kit – delivered in a flat pack and fully transportable – for a 10 by 10 foot living space. The house includes a living room, kitchen and an upstairs living loft. Every inch of space is precious – the stairs double as kitchen shelves and the entire bathroom can be used as a shower. For those looking for a truly transportable home, a houseboat could be another cost-effective and mobile alternative to the traditional US home.

18% of Americans say tiny homes could be ideal for an artist to live in ­– but financial concerns remain the top reasons for living in a tiny home. Americans listed first time homeowners (22%) and anybody needing to readjust their finances (38%) as suitable dwellers in a tiny home. 30% of Americans thought retirement age was a good stage to live in a tiny home.

Tiny homes can still fetch top prices, meaning they might not always be the cost effective option – a small house in Seattle, listed at $397,000, was snapped up in October this year. At its narrowest point, the wedge-shaped cottage is 55 inches wide, and the media has been speculating at why the house – built very close to its neighboring property – was even built, with one theory being that the house was built to annoy the homeowner next door.

And with 64% of Americans saying their house size is just about right, we might not see tiny homes extend to families across the US. 29% of Americans with kids under the age of 18 say their house is too small, while 63% say it’s just about the right size – so no tiny homes for these families. Just 7% of Americans say their home is too big, although downscaling to a 10 by 10 foot property might be too radical for some.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and omnibus services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

Find the full results here.

Image: Getty