Are Tiny Houses One Solution to Rising Austin Home Prices?
For many of us average lower-middle-class Austin Joes and Josies, the cost of a house and even rents in this city can challenge one's limited means. But after coming across the fascinating website Tiny House Listings, I found a few recently-listed local options that suggest one alternative to the high prices of local homes.
This house is indeed tiny at a mere 128 sq. ft. But it's also, as its listing says, "really cute." It lacks both a bathroom and a kitchen, which obviously calls for some flexibility on the part of anyone who might want to live in it. But it is a roof over one's head with a sleeping loft. And comes with new tires (as it's also mobile).
The demi-cottage's listed merits include:
• Super easy to tow to another location
• Has been used as an office, an extra sleeping space, a playroom, and a yoga studio
• Could really be anything you want it to be
For less challenging living, find another local tiny house (at right) that also was for sale on the site (which also lists some campers in our area). This one's a bit pricier at $45,900 for only 12 more square feet. But what you also get is a shower and a composting toilet, plus an electric tankless hot water heater as well as "[p]lumbing available in the 'kitchen...' ready for installation." And its seller offers free delivery of the house on a 20 ft. trailer within 50 miles.
The rub here as well as one factor in the low prices is that these homes come without land. But if you have a generous and tolerant friend with a large backyard.... Or wish to get into the real estate game at a lower price than usual, find an unimproved parcel, roll in your Tiny House, and wait for urban infill and rising prices to generate a profit. Since these homes are on wheels, you can clear out in a snap onto cheaper land as gentrification creeps your way. These structures also offer a way to expand the space of your current home with far less outlay than constructing an addition.
In all seriousness, the Tiny House movement is an idea whose time has come. And we're fortunate in Central Texas to have one of its prime advocates in nearby Luling. Brad Kittel of Tiny Texas Houses builds truly humble yet cozy and stylish lil' abodes (like the one at left) out of 99 percent salvage materials. The variety and style of compact homes means you needn't necessarily skimp when it comes to aesthetics.
Hence even a "new" home in or around Austin is possible at reasonable prices. Plus they can utilize green and low-impact environmental strategies, and come with lower utility costs simply by size alone. As long as we're talking "compact city" in these here parts, maybe the dialogue should also include compact homes?
If you happen to be among the fortunate one percent who live in a McMansion or a genuine full-size manor home, this holiday season adds another sales pitch to Tiny Houses. What better gift for the rich kid who has everything than a full-size playhouse?