In this article, we will explore the kinds of people living in tiny houses. The outcome may surprise you; we all have our prejudices. We will see that the kind of people who have tiny houses vary greatly: tiny houses truly suit people from all walks of life.
Artists and craftsmen
When the tiny movement started, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, tiny houses were unique and mostly built by their owners. People working in the arts and crafts converted trucks, wagons, and caravans and made them into small houses of their own. Or they newly built a tiny house, with recycled and new materials, such as a log cabin. Their tiny house was their creative project, an expression of who they are.
This still is the case for many tiny lifers: a lot of them love to build their own homes. Many tiny lifers love working with their hands, building, and working with wood. Mechanics and carpenters, for example, have the skills to build their own home and customize it. A tiny house for them is the perfect project.
Nowadays tiny houses have become more mainstream: one can order a smart ready-made tiny house and there are even tiny house districts in cities now, for example. It is no longer necessary to do it all yourself. You do not need to be an artist or craftsman to have your own tiny house. The market has changed: tiny houses are now accessible to many people, and they are readily available.
A great portion of people who live in tiny houses is baby boomers. About 40% of tiny house owners are above 50 years old, according to www.thetinylife.com. Babyboomers often like to downsize after their children have moved out of the house; they do not need all the extra rooms. They might want to travel more and see their grandchildren often. Some even buy a mobile tiny house and park the tiny house at their children’s house when they are visiting and babysitting the grandchildren. Or they travel with the tiny house, which has a lot of advantages.
A large house requires a high mortgage (if there is a mortgage), high maintenance costs, and a lot of time to maintain the house and garden. Of course, a house does provide a lot of comfort and protection, but it can also be a headache. Downsizing can be a relief, and for babyboomers who have had a large family that might be a very attractive option. By living in a tiny house the costs of living are drastically reduced, and a tiny house does not take as much time to maintain. This way, babyboomers can enjoy more freedom because they have more time on their hands, to pursue their hobbies, travel, and visit grandchildren.
If the baby boomers are in debt, quite a few of them decide to sell their house, pay off the mortgage and buy a debt-free tiny house.
There are quite a few baby boomers that are divorced or widowed, and they do not need a big house since their household is small. For them, having a cute tiny house may be just what they need.
Baby boomers tend to have a substantial amount of savings, often much more than younger people, and many of them are in the position to buy a tiny house. Even if they do not own a house, they have often saved enough money to be able to buy a tiny house and make the move. Many of them have had years to build up a career, money, and several assets.
These days, there is a resurgence of grandparents living with their children and grandchildren. A tiny house for the grandparents, somewhere in the garden or on the land of their children, is an attractive option for a lot of families. The grandparents can babysit the children while the parents work, each has his privacy and yet all can enjoy rich family life.
About 63% of millennials are interested in buying a tiny house, according to Ipropertymanagement. The housing market is still up at the time of writing: for many millennials, it is difficult to find a house that they can afford. By buying a tiny house, they can still enter the housing market and own a home. Many millennials are in debt, largely because of their university tuition fees. The debt often prevents them from being granted a mortgage. By saving money, millennials might be able to afford a tiny house, rather than a traditional house that is too expensive for them.
Millennials that have just graduated from college, or that are just starting a career, may not have a large income yet, or savings large enough to be able to get a mortgage. However, buying a tiny house may be within their budget range. This way they can live by themselves, instead of in a dorm, at their parental home, or sharing an apartment.
Life in the cities is expensive, and many millennials have discovered the advantages of living in a tiny house, often outside of the city. But even that is changing: tiny districts and individual tiny houses are starting to become a regular feature in cities, although this is a relatively new development.
More and more homeowners are seeking to buy a tiny house as their vacation home, or as a vacation rental. According to the stats of Ipropertymanagement, this trend will surpass that of buyers buying a tiny house as a residence.
Buying a second home is not within the reach of everyone of course. It is a relatively large investment, and it costs money to maintain the house and pay taxes. Buying a tiny house takes a lot less money to invest in. Maintenance is cheaper, taxes are lower, and the house will be a lot cheaper than a traditional house.
As a rental, a tiny house can create quite some revenue, and this, coupled with low investment, is attractive for homeowners to invest in. A lot of homeowners buy a tiny house to have a vacation home as well as be able to rent it out. This way they can vacation for free and the investment of the tiny house will pay itself back by renting it out.
Most people living in tiny houses are nature lovers. Since the indoor living space of a tiny house is limited, often more emphasis is placed on the outdoors by people living in tiny houses, than is the case with people living in a traditional house. Most tiny lifers live in a warm and moderate climate, where they can enjoy the outdoors for most of the year. This way their living space is expanded, much more so than most people living in a traditional house with a garden or balcony. The outdoors that is available to most tiny lifers is generally much bigger than a garden or balcony; it may not always be their own, but they tend to have easy access to it.
Most people living in tiny houses love to garden, venture out into the woods or fields, hike, forage or find other ways to enjoy themselves in nature. This enables them to enjoy a certain kind of freedom that is not found readily in cities.
A lot of tiny lifers care greatly about the planet: they wish to treat it well and wish not to use up all of the resources the earth has to offer. By living in a tiny house, a smaller amount of resources is being used up, and it is also easier to live off-grid and not use fossil fuels. It costs fewer materials, and thus less energy, to build a tiny house, than a traditional house. It is also relatively easy to build with natural materials when building a tiny house, such as wood, earthbags, or cob.
People in tiny houses tend to use less plastic, they often like to grow their food and eat organic, more so than most people living in traditional houses. They may not consume as much as people living in traditional houses and may have a different spending pattern. They might invest in trekking gear, in organic seeds for example, rather than having some fast food and going to the cinema.
Singles, couples, families
It will come as no surprise that most people living in tiny houses are singles or couples. A tiny house is simply less fit for families, because of the limited space available. Some families live in tiny houses though, such as a converted bus, and they tend to travel around with it. But all in all not so many families live in tiny houses.
The concept of tiny houses is being stretched though: tiny houses often are not so tiny anymore. These bigger tiny homes are more fit for families, small families, anyway. There is a group of people who make a conscious choice to live with their family in a tiny house, simply because they enjoy the freedom that comes with it, the community life which can be a part of it, and the outdoors life. There are communities all over the world where families live in tiny houses, and where they have communal buildings that serve as educational buildings, music halls, sports halls, etc. The communal buildings can be seen as an extension of the tiny house, and this serves tiny lifers well, be it singles, couples, or families.
All in all, most tiny lifers live alone or with a partner. And if we take into account that most tiny lifers are either baby boomers or millennials, this makes sense. Babyboomers have grown-up children, and millennials often do not have a family of their own yet.
Two-income households and yuppies
Whereas the first tiny lifers may not always have been affluent, there is a trend that points to more and more affluent people living in tiny houses. For example, if you want to live in a houseboat in a city and make it sustainable, you can easily pay as much as you would for a nice traditional house. You would need a high income, and preferably, two incomes.
These days you can have a tiny house built for you that is like a luxurious small villa, smart and off-grid, with all the comforts you can think of, in a prime location. You can buy such a home in a district in a respectable neighborhood of a city, in a spectacular location such as on a cliff overlooking the sea, or in the forest, overlooking the valley.
We can conclude that it is not just the nature-seeking individual or hippie family in their bus that occupy tiny houses. No, more and more people from all walks of life are discovering this sustainable way of life. Yes, one needs to downsize and do away with a lot of belongings, but the rewards of living in a tiny house surpass material pleasures and, for many people, are certainly worth this sacrifice. Young and old, low and high income, urban and rural-loving people: tiny houses offer an attractive way of living for many people around the globe.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this article and that you are enjoying the tiny life or are inspired by reading about it! Stay tuned for our next article.