Tiny houses: are they worth it?


Tiny homes are more popular than ever. As traditional home prices soar, buyers are often able to buy small homes with cash, freeing up their wallets to save, invest and travel. Tiny house advocates also point to the green benefits. As climate change becomes an imminent threat, tiny homes use only 7% of the energy of a traditional home.

Tiny homes are classified as “400 square feet or less of floor space, excluding lofts,” according to the International residential code. Although tiny homes can be built on a foundation, they often come with a trailer hitch that allows the resident to move around. The small family life forces residents to reduce their business. And while many of us are wedded to creature comforts, minimalist living offers the opportunity to cut costs, travel, and do our part to help the environment.

Tiny House Statistics

Although tiny homes are generally less expensive than traditional homes, the costs associated with them can still add up. Additionally, the minimalist lifestyle, while great for travel and the environment, may not be for everyone. It may be a good idea to consider the following statistics before deciding whether or not to buy a tiny house.

  • Tiny houses became popular during the Great Recession of 2007 when families were looking for ways to save money. (Business Intern)
  • To be considered a tiny home, a structure must have a ceiling height of at least 6’4″. (iManage properties)
  • The smallest tiny houses are around 80 square feet. (iAsset Management)
  • On average, a tiny house costs less than a fifth of what a traditional house would cost. (iAsset Management)
  • The average sale price of a new single-family home is $383,900, while the average cost of a custom-built tiny home is $59,884. (iAsset Management)
  • A small house uses only about 7% of the energy of a traditional house. (iAsset Management)
  • Moving into a tiny home can almost halve a household’s ecological footprint. (iAsset Management)
  • 85% of tiny homes have above-average energy efficiency. (iAsset Management)
  • The states with the most tiny homes are California, Florida, and Colorado. (iAsset Management)
  • 89% of tiny home owners have less credit card debt than average. (little house society)
  • 60% of tiny home owners have no credit card debt. (Little House Society)
  • 55% of tiny home owners have more savings than the average homeowner. (Little House Society)
  • 2 out of 5 owners of tiny houses are over 50 years old. (Little House Society)
  • Tiny homes are appreciating twice as fast as the broader market, at 19% versus 9%. (real estate agent.com)

How much does a tiny house cost?

You might be wondering: how much do tiny homes cost? According CBS News. However, these costs can vary considerably. It is possible to build a tiny house for as little as $2,000 or as much as $180,000.

This table can help you estimate the cost of building a house, both for small houses and for traditional houses.

Ground Varies depending on the condition and size of the lot. According to the National Home Builders Association, the average cost of land is $90,000. If you’re building on wheels, you’ll need a large trailer that costs between $4,500 and $9,000. (HomeAdvisor) Varies depending on the condition and size of the lot. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average cost of land is $90,000.
Building permits and taxes Varies by location, but you can expect to spend around $1,350. (Bob Villa) $18,300 (NAHB)
Foundation and framework $5,000 to $8,000 (Bob Vila) $87,000 (NAHB)
Home systems (electrical, HVAC, plumbing) $30,000 to $60,000. If you need to connect to pre-existing electrical and sewer lines, you may need to spend around $250 a month (Bob Vila) Between $40,000 and $45,000 (NAHB)
Exterior costs (roof, siding, windows) Combined with interior costs, expect exterior costs to set you back between $14,050 and $60,000. (HomeAdvisor) $51,500 (NAHB)
Interior costs (furniture, flooring, insulation) Combined with the exterior costs, expect the interior costs to set you back between $14,050 and $60,000. (HomeAdvisor) $70,000 (NAHB)
Home Insurance $600 per year (Treehugger) $1,383 per year for $250,000 housing coverage (discount rate)

When answering the question “how much does a small house cost”, it is important to consider the cost of insurance. Insuring your tiny home can be more expensive than the average cost of homeowners insurance for traditional homes. Many tiny homes are built with a trailer hitch for easy travel. Moving a tiny home increases the risk of damage, and as a result, tiny home owners may pay higher home insurance premiums.

If you are looking for home insurance for your tiny home, note that you may need to purchase a mobile or prefab home insurance policy. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent from one of the best home insurance companies out there can help you figure out which type of policy would be right for you.

living off the grid

The hope of “living off the grid” is one of the reasons people consider tiny homes. Off-grid living refers to the practice of living away from the trappings of modern society, such as internet access, school, and even the power grid. An offshoot of off-grid living is called “homesteading,” which refers to the practice of gaining self-sufficiency by making your own clothes, your own food, and generating your own energy.

Eco-responsible living

People choose to live off-grid for a wide variety of reasons. Many small owners are concerned about the climate crisis and want to avoid overconsumption. Living in a smaller, more energy-efficient home with fewer belongings helps them reduce their waste. In fact, a small house uses only about 7% of the energy of a traditional house. Even if you’re not totally off the grid, tiny homes can help you live sustainably, especially if you install solar panels or use wind power.

Wallet friendly lifestyle

Soaring home prices have prompted others to consider small homes. The median monthly mortgage payment for a traditional home is $1,889, an amount that many millennials cannot afford. Tiny houses, on the other hand, can cost as little as $8,000 in total. Even if you can’t afford to pay cash for one, monthly mortgage and utility payments can be as low as $450. Seventy-eight percent of tiny house dwellers own their homes, compared to 65% of traditional owners.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need a tiny house to cut costs. Those not ready to embark on the tiny house lifestyle can consider buying tiny homes with just enough space for their belongings and needs. Tiny homes can reduce utility and mortgage costs while meeting homeowners’ needs.

Family capitals

The largest settler center is in Livermore, Colorado, where residents plant their own food, raise chickens, build their own homes, and make their own clothing. Saratoga Springs in New York State is an East Coast hotspot for settlers. If you’re looking for the best places to live off the grid in your general area, you can check out HomeAdvisor’s “off the grid” hotspot. map.

Domestic Small Capitals

If you’re not ready to become a homesteader but are interested in the small life, Portland, Oregon; Austin, TX; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and Seattle, Washington, all maintain large Tiny House communities ranging from 10 to more than 100 Tiny Houses per community. Currently, the nation’s largest tiny home development is underway in Salida, Colorado, and will include 200 tiny homes for rent.


While settling in a small home community may be fine for some people, others may use their small home as a way to travel. Some small houses are built on foundations, but many are built like trailers and can be pulled from place to place. Want to spend the summer in Maine and the winter in San Diego? With a mini mobile home, you can easily move from place to place. In this case, renting land rather than owning it would be more suited to your needs.


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