‘A Test-Drive for Tiny House Living’

November 9, 2015

Living in less than 200 square feet can be a life-changing challenge. That’s why some tiny home makers are now allowing potential buyers to “try out” living in tiny corridors before they commit to buy.

Tiny-home maker Getaway, based out of Croydon, N.H., is enticing visitors from across the country by letting them try out what it’s like to live in a 160-square-foot home.

"It's a way to test-drive tiny house living," says Jon Staff, the founder and CEO of Getaway. "We operate them a little bit like hotel rooms in the woods."

Getaway is the first project at Harvard's Millennial Housing Lab -- a group of business, law and design students that are exploring new housing ideas.

Other tiny-home makers across the country are also letting buyers test out the homes before they buy. For example, Caravan, a hotel in Portland, Ore., is offering six tiny houses – from 84 to 170 square feet – for $145 a night. Tiny houses are also becoming more available through vocation rental web sites.

Companies tout that the tiny-living movement is growing, particularly with villages of tiny homes that have been popping up in cities such as Portland and Seattle. Some cities have considered relaxing zoning rules to allow for more tiny houses too. Also, some cities are exploring using tiny houses as a way to fight homelessness.

However, the share of home buyers who are opting for homes with less than 1,000 square feet has remained at about 1 percent for the past five years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

"The data is revealing that the tiny-sized home is not what people will consider the American dream," says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

He predicts that the growth of big cities will fuel demand for smaller apartments and condos, but not stand-alone houses.

Source: “Think You Want a Tiny House? Businesses Offer a Tryout First,” The Associated Press (Nov. 6, 2015)