Millennials Getting A Bad Rap?
Or Are They Much Wiser Than We Think?
From being complacent and not wanting to work, to being dependent on their parents and living in their basements to not wanting to commit to marriage, not wanting to buy homes and in many cases not even wanting to buy autos, Millennials are perhaps the single most brow beaten generation since the Hippies of the 60's-70's.
In fact some prognosticators feel they will be using Uber and Lyft more than they will be driving and owning their own vehicles. Personally I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. Janis and I use them both quite a bit and find them easy, quick, economical and great to work with. BTW, you'd be amazed at how many drivers are those poor unproductive Millennials we're referring to.
However, lately I've been hearing more and more about Millennials and their keen interest in "Tiny Houses". Naturally, since I've been in the sorta kinda Tiny House Industry for several decades (Manufactured & Modular) and have garnered 5 Children and 14 Grandchildren thus far, this has keenly peaked my interest. I've been doing quite a bit of research and I really do think there's a cottage industry (pun intended) looming on the horizon that may just revolutionize the entire housing industry from this point forward.
There are literally hundreds of Tiny House companies cropping up World Wide. From New Zealand, to China, to Europe, Central and South America, Canada and the USA they are on a roll (another pun intended). It's natural to assume that many perhaps most of these entrepreneurial little start ups are but mere hick ups on the horizon. But I can't help but believe that a few good companies who produce a quality product won't grow into some of the behemoths we saw during the early days of the Factory Built Housing Era
Building departments everywhere are starting to take heed and pay attention to this industry more and more everyday. Zoning rules and regulations are starting to change because they to realize that the Tiny House movement is here to stay.
Most importantly, however, are the 80 million aging Baby Boomers and an equal amount of Millennials which represent half the population of America of which many if not most are seeking some form of smaller and more affordable housing.
A lot of folks can't quite wrap their arms around the overall differences, if any, there really are between a Manufactured/Modular vs. a Tiny House. But the more I delve into this phenomenon the more I see it. The Tiny House movement is a renaissance; A move away from the cookie cutter "Wobbly Boxes" of the late 50's-70's that have covered vast amounts of our landscapes from coast to coast and in many cases have become dated and blighted.
Most of these innovators are thinking outside the box. They're thinking more individualistic, more artistic, more rustic, more modern, more curvilinear, more quaint, more individual and less and less mass produced assembly line pop em out of the toaster as fast as you can and send them bustin bugs down the highway. But most importantly they're thinking much much more affordable and practical.
I definitely think and feel that we all as RE Professionals and building and development industry stakeholders need to keep a very open mind and ear to the wall on this new frontier.
That's not to suggest that traditional housing development is dead by any means. Or that you won't be able to continue in a thriving resale market forever more. Or that the Manufactured home industry has gone the way of the Vikings. I'm just saying keep your eyes wide open. These young and innovative minds known as Millenneals are on to something BIG! But in a much SMALLER, more modest and affordable way.