Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

Are Americans Craving Smaller Homes?

2/8/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: tiny house, National Public Radio, upcycling

One step forward, one step back.

We’ve been reporting, optimistically, on Americans’ move (finally) toward smaller homes since the housing market crash two years ago. A year ago we cited a National Association of Home Builders survey showing that after 30 years of continual growth, average single-family home size had declined from 2,520 square feet in 2008 to 2,480 square feet in 2009. In July, we cited an American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey that showed more homeowners eschewing upscale amenities in favor of flexible, open and informal spaces that allow for easy movement and family living—and that they were finding those spaces in smaller houses.

Natural Home magazine has made covering tiny houses a priority since 1999, when we first covered Jay Shafer’s 240-square-foot house, which led to his wildly successful Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. From features about a superbly designed small house in British Columbia to Brad Kittel’s Tiny Texas Houses,12- foot-by-20-foot houses almost entirely out of salvaged materials, we’ve inspired readers to ask themselves: How much space do I really need? The responses have been encouraging.
Tumbleweed Tiny Home on the road 

Jay Shafer's tiny Tumbleweed house was smaller than his town's minimum-size requirements, so he put it on wheels and called it a trailer. 

According to a recent National Public Radio report, however, home square-footage hasn't lost its luster just yet. Adam Allington of St. Louis Public Radio reports that a glut of cheap properties is keeping smaller, more energy efficient houses on the market's fringe. Steven East, who tracks national home builders for Ticonderoga Securities, told NPR that news of the McMansion’s death is premature.There has been a lot of talk in the press that the McMansion is dead and consumers are now permanently wanting smaller homes, etc.,” he said. “There's nothing in our research that indicates that's the truth.”

That’s too bad. Natural Home’s recent article, “How to Live Well in Less Than 1,000 Square Feet,” proves that living in smaller homes is not only more efficient, but usually more comfortable as well. Bigger isn’t better—and smart homeowners will soon figure that out. 



Related Content

8 Great Micro-Houses

In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative sm...

Avoid Germs: 5 Germ-Ridden Public Places

Avoid germs by knowing which public places and objects, from public bathrooms to grocery stores, con...

Mom and Son in a 650-Square-Foot Cabin: “It Exudes Cozy and a Whole Lotta Love”

Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile ...

96 Percent of Americans Believe GMOs Should Be Labeled

The vast majority of Americans believe labeling GMOs is necessary and ethical.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.