Tiny House Statistics: Market & Trends (2023)
Interest in tiny homes is rising, especially among those concerned about the environmental impact of home construction and housing affordability in the United States. The desire to downsize and simplify one's life appeals to many Americans who want to spend less money on a home and minimize their environmental footprint.
We take a deep dive into what a tiny house is, its characteristics, who buys them, and more. Here’s a summary of the topics that will follow:
- How Big Are Tiny Homes?
- The Tiny Home Market
- Tiny House Trends
- How Much Do Tiny Houses Cost?
- Who Lives in Tiny Homes?
- Pros & Cons of Living in Tiny Houses
Key Tiny House Facts
- The average size of tiny homes is 225 square feet, 8x smaller than the average home.
- Tiny homes currently account for 0.36% of the total residential listings in the U.S.
- There are about 10,000 tiny homes in the United States.
- The average price of a tiny home is $52,000, which is 87% cheaper than the average price of a normal-sized house.
- Tiny homes cost 62% more per square foot than full-sized homes.
How Big Are Tiny Homes?
Before we dive deeper into tiny home statistics, we must consider the question, what is a tiny home? And just how small does a house have to be to be considered 'tiny'? There's no widely agreed-upon size to consider a home 'tiny,' but we have some excellent points for reference.
The International Residence Code, Appendix Q defines a tiny home as a dwelling 400 square feet or less in floor area, excluding lofts. CNBC states that tiny homes are those under 600 square feet, while Quicken Loans defines a tiny home as one that is 500 square feet or less.
Most would consider a house up to 600 square feet a tiny home.
Tiny homes can be built on permanent foundations or trailers so that they may be moved from one location to another.
Comparing Tiny Homes to Traditional Homes
According to an analysis of 2,600 tiny homes by the home services platform Porch.com, the average tiny home size is 225 square feet. Data from the National Association of Realtors suggests that the typical home purchased in 2020 was 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. This indicates that the average tiny house is over 8x smaller than a typical home.
|Type of Home||Average Size (Sq.Ft.)|
|Tiny Home||225 Square Feet|
|Typical Home||1,900 Square Feet|
Since many owners like the ability to move their tiny homes, it's common for folks to own a home with the maximum possible dimensions that still allows them to move it without a permit. The maximum allowable size for a tiny house on a trailer is 8.5' wide, 40' long, and 13.5' high. Homes that match this size have a livable area of around 320 square feet.
The Tiny Home Market
Technavio produced a market research report that indicates the worldwide tiny homes market may increase by $3.57 billion from 2021 to 2026 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.45%, with North America accounting for 59% of the growth.
How Many Tiny Houses are There in The U.S.?
It's challenging to determine the number of tiny homes in the U.S. today. Many people who adopt the tiny living lifestyle choose to live off the grid and are unlikely to participate in polls and registries. GoDownsize, a blog about tiny living, used data from tiny home sales and constructions from certified builders to estimate that there are around 10,000 tiny homes in the U.S. today.
Tiny House Trends
All signs point to the growing popularity of tiny homes. In fact, interest in them is gaining momentum.
Tiny Home Trends & Popularity
Over half of Americans in 2020 would consider living in a tiny home, citing affordability and efficiency as the top reasons according to a survey of 2000 respondents conducted by Fidelity National subsidiary IPX1031. The survey found that 56% of Americans say that they would live in a tiny home versus only 24% who said they would not.
Table showing percentage of Americans who would consider living in a tiny house:
|Would Live in Tiny Home||Percentage of Americans|
Google Trends data supports the notion that tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular. From 2011 to today, Google trend data shows a steady increase in interest in tiny houses; they are more popular now than ever.
Sources: IPX1031, Google Trends
State Where Tiny Houses Are Most Popular
According to Google search results reported by the IPX1031 survey, tiny homes seem to be the most popular in the northeast and northwest regions of the United States. Here are the top 10 states where tiny houses are the most popular, according to the report:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Another measure of tiny home popularity can be found in their availability. Porch compiled data and found the median number of tiny home listings among all states is 36 per 10,000 listings. Idaho topped the list at 139, or 1.39% of the total listings in the state.
Here is a table of the top 5 states:
|State||Tiny Homes Per 10K Listings|
How Much Do Tiny Homes Cost?
Americans interested in tiny living cite affordability as a primary reason, so it's worthwhile to dive into how much tiny homes cost.
Cost of a Tiny Home vs. Standard Home
IPX1031 reports that tiny homes typically cost between $30,000 and $60,000 to build or purchase, while the median price for a typical 'starter' home is $233,400.
Several factors can influence the cost of a tiny home, including whether someone decides to build or buy prebuilt, what amenities they would like the house to include, the size of the home, materials used, building permit costs, and more. On the low end, someone could buy a tiny house for as little as $8,000, and they could cost up to $150,000 on the high end.
Porch reported that the average price of a tiny home in 2021 in the U.S. is $52,000. The cost of a typical home in the U.S. is $403,000, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. By this comparison, a tiny house is 87% cheaper than a typical home.
Here are the 5 cheapest and 5 most expensive states for tiny homes the Porch found in its analysis:
Here is a table of tiny house prices (highest and lowest states):
|State||Tiny Home Average Price|
Sources: IPX1031, Porch, St. Louis Fed
It is worth noting that at an average cost of nearly $150,000 for a tiny home, Hawaii is nearly twice as expensive as the second most expensive state for tiny houses. Here's why: Hawaii has a disproportionate number of tiny homes on the water (a.k.a houseboats), which are more expensive than typical tiny homes in other states.
Tiny Homes Price Per Square Foot vs Typical Homes
The median price per square foot of a tiny home comes in around $199 or 62% more expensive than full-sized homes, which typically cost $123 per square foot.
Below is a data table breaking down the top 5 least and most expensive states for tiny homes by square foot:
|State||Tiny Home Average Price/Sq.Ft.|
Who Lives in Tiny Homes?
What characteristics are most common among tiny house owners? Here we look at tiny homeowner demographics such as age, gender, and income.
Age of Tiny Homeowners
We find a pretty even age distribution when it comes to the age of tiny homeowners. Tiny homes can appeal to young adults under 30 who want more financial freedom, middle-aged adults looking to downsize, or recent retirees seeking a simpler life in their older years.
According to research by The Tiny Life, approximately 2 out of 5 homeowners are over the age of 50, 2 out of 5 are between the ages of 30-50, and around 1 in 5 are under the age of 30.
Here's the table of tiny house onwership by age:
|Age||Percentage of Tiny Home Owners|
Sources: Rise, The Tiny Life
Gender of Tiny Homeowners
Women are slightly more likely to be tiny homeowners than men, with The Tiny Life reporting that women own 55% of tiny homes.
Here's a table of ownership by gender:
|Gender||Percentage of Tiny Home Owners|
Source: The Tiny Life
Tiny Homeowner Income
The average tiny home occupant’s income came in around $42,038 in 2013, slightly higher than the average American's (by $478). This data suggests that those who live in tiny homes don’t necessarily make less money than people who opt to live in typical homes.
Tiny homeowners may be more financially conservative than typical homeowners, with 68% having no mortgage, compared to 29.3% of all homeowners in the U.S. who don’t have a mortgage. The Tiny Life’s survey also showed that 55% of those who live in tiny homes have more savings than the average American, and 89% have less credit card debt than the average American.
Source: The Tiny Life
Pros & Cons of Living in Tiny Houses
There are many things to consider when choosing whether to live in a tiny home. Here we've compiled a list of the most common pros and cons to think about when it comes to tiny living:
Pros of Living in a Tiny Home
Tiny homes cost less than a traditional home. Not only do tiny homes cost less to buy or build, as we discussed above, but living in a tiny house also cuts down on utility bills. Smaller homes cost less to run as people living there are likely to use less light, heating, cooling, water, and more.
Tiny homes can be mobile and allow for more freedom. If you opt for a tiny home that you can easily move with a trailer, nothing is tying you to one place. Many people enjoy the portability and freedom of not being stuck in one location. The tiny home lifestyle is especially appealing for those who want to travel or have a place in nature.
Tiny living is environmentally friendly. A smaller home makes it easier to lower your carbon footprint, consume less, and be more efficient. It's been shown that those who live in tiny dwellings consume much less than the average American- which makes sense when you consider that they've got much less storage space.
Cons of Living in a Tiny Home
Tiny homes have less space than traditional homes. Having less space than a traditional home should come as no surprise. Living with others in such a tight space can lead to a lack of privacy and cause challenges.
Tiny homes have less resale value than typical homes. Similar to how cars and vehicles can depreciate fast, tiny houses depreciate faster than traditional homes. Although living in small homes is cheaper compared to a normal-sized lifestyle, it's rare for people to recuperate their entire investment when they sell their tiny homes.
Tiny homes can come with logistical challenges. Tiny homes are not legal housing in some states, and they can fall into zoning regulation grey areas. Tiny homeowners may be asked to leave after finding a great remote location to park their homes. In addition, it's worth noting that towing a tiny house requires a truck. If you plan to travel with your tiny home, it's essential to factor in the costs of owning a truck, hitch, trailer, and wear and tear from taking your home from place to place.
Although tiny homes are few compared to the number of typical homes in the U.S., they have become increasingly popular over the years. They present an attractive option to people of all ages who want to save money, simplify life, or do their part to help preserve the environment.
While tiny living is undoubtedly less expensive than purchasing a full-sized home, the per square foot cost of tiny homes is higher. It's also worth noting the costs of having a truck, trailer, and lower resale value compared to a typical home.
With most Americans now saying they would be open to experiencing tiny living, many seem to think that the pros outweigh the cons. Although it may not be for everybody, the tiny home trend will most likely expand and become even more popular in the coming years.
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