Micro Housing – How Big Will Small Living Get?

Micro Housing – How Big Will Small Living Get?


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tiny houseThe Pensacola News Journal posted an article recently that talked about tiny living in Tampa. Considering the attention tiny homes are getting, especially with TV shows that promote such lifestyles, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the trend is continuing.

In the article, an owner in Tampa planned on turning a vacant office building in downtown into a micro apartment building with 120 units. The plan was developed to create 120 units with 300 sq ft each (reminds me of the apartment the bunny cop rented in Zootopia). Upon announcing the plan, the phone lines blew up and they had 90 reservations almost instantly.

On learning about the popular demand for small, affordable living in the city, the owner quickly learned that parking and city code required that each unit have its own parking space, creating the problem. Without adequate parking available, the plan changed and the building became a 48 unit apartment with 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom options, saving the owner millions of dollars!

The appeal of the small living was not just from college kids wanting simple modern amenities like fast internet. Some of the appeal of small living came from seniors that were wanting to downsize. This isn’t the first time this has crossed our radar. Tiny home communities are popping up in many locations, some especially for veterans. We have friends in Washington State working on such communities.

Seeing how the US has such a consumer culture, it isn’t hard to see why people are wanting to downsize. Maintaining properties and all the stuff we treasure takes time and energy. Part of this push is that seniors are tired of home maintenance, but don’t want to move into a nursing home. They are reverting back to a simpler life with less distractions. Look at the diminishing returns on retirement and social security and you can see how challenging it might be to maintain certain lifestyles in retirement!

The demand seems to be consistent and shouldn’t die down anytime soon. Small home communities are appealing for so many people on both sides of the equation: developers, investors and owners/renters. It is a win for everyone! The appeal of the micro housing in downtown Tampa takes that to a new level due to location and public transportation. A lot of people want to live downtown, after all!

I don’t expect this trend to be solely driven by students and seniors. Families are doing the same (us included) by downsizing unimportant things from their lives. Considering the appreciation of real estate and the current economy, I expect that more affordable housing will be in huge demand in the future. Statistics support such a movement and some of the future of investing could very well be in these tiny homes and their communities. Pending zoning, county/city master planning and permitting, of course…

 

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