A tiny house trend is becoming more visible on the real estate landscape. Personally, I'm thrilled with the prospect. I am a tiny house advocate. I'm building my own little house on my 25 acre farm. I believe that the trend of the 80s and 90s of real estate expansionism is a trend that is long overdue the impending death-rattle.
Yes, there will always be people who want the luxury properties -- the expansive, no-holds barred, traditional estate. And that niche is a lucrative one for many of my own clients. It's an enjoyable niche to market. The luxury arena is secure. It is a market that won't decline based on these new trends.
But the wanna-be market will. It already is.
McMansions, the "fast food" of the real estate industry with lower quality building materials and an eye on square footage for its own sake, are on the decline. The desire to keep up with the Joneses is finally starting to wane. People are becoming more comfortable with who they are and are making choices based on what they want, rather than on what other people think.
Consumerist inclinations are giving way to the more ecologically sound "smaller is better" view on real estate. People, now living longer, are more concerned with a quality home -- one that will last, be easy to maintain, and will feel like home throughout the stages of a lifetime. They are paying more attention to amenities in their communities that are within reasonable walking/driving distances.
Although we are a more mobile society, most people still want a place to call home. They still need a place to return between adventures and after the traveling becomes tiresome. They need a place that brings them comfort and joy.
Choosing to live in a smaller house means that less of your life is spent paying for, maintaining and buying stuff to fill a larger-than-necessary home. It means that there is more money for a secure retirement, more money for travel, and more resources. A single resource tops that list... Time. When less is required to maintain a bloated standard of living, there is more time to actually live.
These trends are now finding a mainstream audience. Once-radical ideas like "organic foods" and "ecologically sound practices" are now commonplace and we are entering a new era in Real Estate. The improved offerings of technology makes it easy to have a smaller home with all the "trimmings" and it's becoming cooler to keep things smaller. Think nano-technology and entertainment systems in the palm of your hand. Think about the idea of connectivity and access to vast resources rather than owning resources. People do more research online and less in books that must be dusted, packed, moved, maintained and housed.
If I were a real estate agent, selecting my own niche -- this would be it. Tiny houses, low maintenance living options built in stronger, more closely knit communities. Then, I'd advertise far and wide to attract just the type of people that seek and would appreciate these lifestyle options. I'd find a handful of quality builders and I'd create a resource list that would meet the needs of those individuals relocating into the "sensible lifestyle" community concept I'd built.
If I were an agent or a broker marketing my own business -- this would be my path, my calling and a niche I could really sink my teeth into. For anyone out there seeking a niche that's going to blossom over the next few years, and anyone willing to work to build the demand for that niche and organize those types of individuals and offer what they most need -- I encourage you to do this.
I encourage you to do what I would do... if I were you.