The Tiny House Movement May Fail. What Then?

The Tiny House Movement May Fail. What Then?

When a certain lifestyle becomes popular, and everyone starts wanting “in,” the sudden popularity can kill the entire movement. Sometimes I wonder: Can the Tiny House movement sustain this growth?

Consider the RV industry. . .

Prior to the birth of the manufactured RV in 1910, the first unofficial RVs were homemade. These units were custom built pieces of art, made by regular people. I imagine the first RVs were very similar to the first Tiny Houses on wheels. Neighbors and friends must have noticed these cozy homemade RVs. Some of them may have even been inspired to make their own. Then, one day, a savvy businessman began building and marketing his own design, and people bought them. It was a successful business.

Over the years, RVs became more standardized. Customizations are now unheard of, or very expensive. Regulations have been put in place, discouraging DIYers from building their own models. Businesses, who have lost touch with the soul of the RV movement, started mass producing units for cheaper and cheaper, but selling them for the same price or more. Quantity, and manufacturability, is more important than quality for most RV manufacturers. Now, there are so many RVs in the world, they are no longer special.

So, I wonder, are there too many Tiny Houses?

I’m torn. As a Tiny House owner, I love that others are embracing the movement. I don’t mind when people buy a Tiny House from a builder or Tiny House company. I don’t mind that there are more and more builders starting businesses. Most of these small businesses have something new and interesting to bring to the movement. What does make my stomach turn is the mass-manufacturing and the forgoing of customizations. Some companies are doing this to save on overhead and to expedite the construction process. But I see this as the beginning of the end…

Before we all know it, “Tiny House parts” will be manufactured in China and Tiny House models will be displayed for sale at big box hardware stores. If something breaks in your Tiny Home, there will be Tiny House repair shops with specific Tiny House mechanics to fix it. Tiny House villages will look like cookie cutter neighborhoods. And, worst of all, there will be more regulations which will only hurt small businesses and DIYers. Eventually there will only be a handful of models and designs you can purchase.

The Tiny House movement could be over soon.

I’ve heard some of my fellow Tiny House friends mention that the bubble is about to burst. One former business savvy individual predicts this will happen in about two years. What will I do then? Will my homemade Tiny House be grandfathered-in or condemned? I don’t know.

Some people have even told me to post my Tiny House for sale while the market is still on an upswing. But, whatever happens in two years or ten years, I don’t think I can ever walk away from my home. I just hope that no one will try to take it from me.

What are your thoughts on the state of the Tiny House movement?



  1. Marc Fournier
    December 7, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    who cares if they are not hand build and 100% custom ? If the person buying that Industrial tiny house with 1000 replicas, and that person is happy with it ..what is it to you ? how can that bother you? the person is probably cost him less, he knows its not custom and hes content with that…as are 100s of thousands of RV owners. The tiny house movement is a success. The most important part of its success was to make people realize that it is possible, that you can live in a 14ft tiny house up to a 40ft tiny house, on wheels or not. Just that is success by itself. It has allowed me to hop on board and build my own, and im happy with that. Tiny house mouvement should not be exclusive to customs builds, self builds etc. I see too much of this on youtube, where people are so quick to brag about this and that on their tiny house, ”oh i have this hidden compartment and this one…I never use these features..but hey look at me”…if anything bugs me…its people that think its ”in” and show off their Tinys. Just be happy with what you have, if RV manufacterers start building them, they cant stop us from building our own. You can still build your own house, people have just lost the know hows to do so, but nothing stops you…so same goes for Tinys and no governement official will stop me from living where and how I want to live..if I decide to live in a tent, I will…or they will have to drag my ass out of it physically.

  2. meena
    August 25, 2018 / 7:29 am

    What does make my stomach turn is that many people think they are buying tiny house, when in fact so many new manufactured “tiny homes” are not tiny at all. With fully fitted bathrooms with bathtubs!, with TV rooms!, kitchen with standard size appliances some even with kitchen islands!… Not right, it’s not tiny house they are selling… Or when this lady decided to buy tiny house (video on youtube, and she just thought all the houses were too small. As if people have some wrong idea about tiny homes, just being simple uneducated into something they want to live out, but not really know what is it all about?

    Anyway, not to be all negative.

    I believe those who truly like to live tiny, or small, won’t give up on this lifestyle.

    I personally don’t live in a tiny house. The legislature over here in EU wont let me legally to do so, BUT… Since a small child I always liked small spaces (my parents had to stop building a laundry room because I loved the small room next to the staircase… and yes, it became my room until I left home 🙂 ) . Now, all grown up and after living in apartments and even a house, which on purpose I chosen the smallest one… now I live in a city, in studio (345 sq ft) which I think is still that little bit big (but it’s got small balcony, which is such a pleasure to have in a city) …

    What I want to say, all in all, nope tiny house movement wont dissapear. It may shrink, because many people just decide it’s not for them. But for those as yourself others, including us, not owning a tiny house, but tiny apartments…. living small or tiny is the way to live. And nope, I don’t think we are minimalist in a way of “minimalist movement”, we just don’t need so much stuff 🙂

    Sorry for lengthy post. Also to add, I very much enjoy your Youtube channel as well! And loved your report on the “bee” converted van while you travelled in the UK.

  3. JDA3 WI
    June 23, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    I’m a semi disabled man and will be looking to buy a tiny house (used) so I think the market going though a maturation process is a great thing for people such as myself. My plan is to live in my tiny home here in WI and follow my son to college in MI a few years. Then go where the wind takes me, or if my son needs residency for grad school in another state I can move out a year ahead of him.

    My hope is to find people who have an existing home with land to rent to me. It seems that around here in SE WI that is the best bet for being able to park a tiny house with the least amount of hassle.

  4. Mike
    May 28, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    I see the point of your article. Still, do what you like, live how you want to live and let the price points in some market or another do what they want. Just look down on the newcommers with their US assembled, foreign made modular units. Maybe even write a country song about them.

  5. April 24, 2018 / 10:40 am

    I don’t think you need to worry about the movement ending–there is a much bigger conventional housing market, and a much bigger RV market, where individuals still overcome barriers to entry, no? The main challenge in that regard is really not Chinese manufacturing (tiny homes do NOT fit in shipping containers well!), but rather regulation. As long as building codes allow you to do your own wiring and carpentry and plumbing, you’re good that way.

    My take is that the movement is at a crossroads as many question whether they really want to own a one ton pickup in the name of the environment, and then whether they really want to have a home they can tow, or whether what they really want is less home than most builders want to build, and less home than most city councils will allow to be built. What one might want to do is to simply buy a plot of land, install a well and community septic, and put a maximum house size in the building covenants and see what happens.

  6. Es
    April 24, 2018 / 8:20 am

    It’s not dying, just going through the stages of maturation that every concept experiences. Lovely ideas go through the grassroots movement, eventually get picked up by mainstream society / businesses, have regulations put in place as they become more mainstream, and eventually become a normal part of our everyday. I think that tiny houses becoming a normal part of society / mainstream is a good thing because it signifies a movement away from materialism and the capitalistic notion that more is better / bigger is better.

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