I Design Tiny Homes. Who is Buying Them Would Surprise You.
Single People Do Not Buy Tiny Homes
I designed 30+ custom tiny homes, which were shipped all over the U.S. Not one client was a single person. The reasoning behind this I can only speculate, but it has to do with where you can legally park them. Single people want to live in urban centers and get a foothold in their career and network. Urban centers do not allow you to park tiny homes, so single people would have to live in suburban or rural areas. The idea of living in isolation away from friends does not make sense if you are single.
Young Couples Are the Biggest Demographic
Couples in their mid 30’s to early 40’s are the primary buyers of tiny homes. They have already built wealth, gotten a foothold in their careers, and want to get out of the city. Many of them telecommute, so they might request a small office or “phone booth” to be built in the tiny home. They choose tiny homes because of the lifestyle and control of their own destiny rather than the potential cost savings. With two people splitting the costs, they can splurge on luxury features such as an infrared sauna.
Retired Couples Are the Second Biggest Demographic
Retirees likely have grown up kids that live in different cities. Their empty bedrooms have become useless and a property tax burden on their retirement. They plan on selling their house, buying a tiny home, and then traveling to where their kids live. This way they can still have their own space and privacy while at the same time being closer to family. They will either move temporarily to an RV resort nearby or park in their children’s backyard.
Tiny Homes are Not an Affordable Housing Option (Yet)
If we are talking about cost per unit, multi-family apartment buildings are still the most economical. Tiny homes do not allow the same density per lot as apartments, so it would not be economical to park them in an urban area. One possible way to reduce tiny home expenses is to have shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. This way, each unit does not need its own appliances, showers, and plumbing. The advantage tiny houses have over apartments is that they are easier to renovate. Simply swap units in and out.
The concept of tiny homes are still foreign to most municipalities, and they are slow to adopt tiny home friendly rules. You can read more about the logistics of parking your tiny home in this article:
With the rise of telecommuting and the gig economy, tiny homes may one day be accessible to everyone. But for now, they are primarily sought after by young couples and retirees who have deep pockets.