The Tiny House Movement May Fail. What Then?

Tiny House Movement

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?

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17 Comments

  1. Kim Sanchez
    April 23, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    Yes I agree that a slowdown in momentum will occur especially with the explosion of popularity for tiny homes. What I believe will not slow down so quickly is the lack of affordable housing in and around heavily populated cities. You throw in a dash of soul crushing student debt along with ever increasing revolving lines of credit…it begins to make tiny housing or moving back home more of an option for graduates. I was paying close to $1500 a month to rent an apartment 20 miles and 1 1/2 hours from work in the city. My hope is that there is an increase of legal communities.

  2. Laycee
    April 23, 2018 / 11:52 am

    I hope this doesn’t happen. My 17 year old daughter loves tiny houses and wants to build one herself when she gets a little older. We have a travel trailer and have been camping for around 10 years or so and gosh has this industry changed. We use to go anywhere now we are waitlisted to campspots and we can never get into state parks. But don’t sale your tiny house we aren’t selling our camper. It’s a fad and yes it will fizzle but we will still be kicking when it’s unpopular again. Just like jumpers and crimped hair it goes out of style but give it a while it will come back. LOL

  3. Sandra Walters
    April 23, 2018 / 4:39 am

    I seriously want to own one of these homes. I just hope that the frenzied greed that comes with something unique and marketable, doesn’t ruin my dream

    • Cheeri B.
      April 23, 2018 / 5:50 pm

      I had a nearly half million dollar inheritance stolen from me which completely changed my plans for the future. I’m in my 60s. I was joking with a friend that I’d probably end up in a tiny home at the end of my life because of what happened and she gifted me with her 35 foot motorhome. I’m going to redo the inside but I’m going to leave it as a motorhome so it won’t be subject to any changing tiny house laws.

  4. suzsteil
    April 23, 2018 / 4:00 am

    I think that all tiny houses are not handmade by the owner. I think that’s ok. I am 72, my husband is dying and I will sell our farm and buy a tiny dwelling. It might not be handmade, but it will have some customizations. I think that the idea that the tiny movement must be made of handmade customized THOWs is elitist.Folks like me, who don’t want to pull a rig of any kind, but want to live the rest of our lives sustainably with a small footprint, within a set budget will carry on the tiny movement way beyond. We’ll maintain the movement way beyond when you young folks have left the highway to settle down, hopefully in a very small environment. Be strong. This movement is.

  5. Cam Dooley
    April 22, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    I understand completely where you are coming from and believe it’s already moving quickly into commercialized status and more and more standardized homes are popping up. The novelty is wearing off. But it doesn’t mean the movement is over or will die. In China the tiny home idea is a very old one because of population explosion. We must go to smaller dwellings in the future because we are more and more people all the time. It can solve much homelessness now and in future.

  6. April 22, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    There are till a few places that will custom build an RV. Maybe there will always be a few places that will custom build a Tiny House. We can only hope so.

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