Go Big or Go Home

In 2009, the average American home was 2,343 square feet, well more than double the average in 1950.

But in the aftermath of the housing bust, interest in tiny homes has grown dramatically among young people and retiring Baby Boomers, said Kent Griswold, who runs the Tiny House Blog, which attracts 5,000 to 7,000 visitors a day.

“In the last couple years, the idea’s really taken off,” Griswold said. “There’s been a huge interest in people downsizing and there are a lot of young people who don’t want to be tied down with a huge mortgage and want to build their own space.”

Builders are projecting the square footage of new homes to continue trending downward. Even in the higher-end market, families are demanding smaller homes with more amenities, said Tommy vice president of Byrnes/Ostner Investments, in a recent article about Shelby County’s building permits.

“It is no secret that when we get out of this recession, the homebuilding business will be different,” said Byrnes. “We built houses in the heyday where each kid had their own walk-in closet and their own study area, but that’s just not going to happen anymore.”

The following are the past five years of new home permits’ average square footage for Shelby County, according to the real estate company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com:

  • 2006: 3,034 square feet
  • 2007: 2,880 square feet
  • 2008: 2,980 square feet
  • 2009: 2,972 square feet
  • 2010: 2,847 square feet

Couple size reduction with green initiatives, and you’ve killed two birds with one stone on reducing your carbon footprint. Check out this “18 Incredible Small Green Homes That Live Large” slideshow – one is 70 square feet!

To learn more about green homes in Shelby County, check out my upcoming story running Jan. 26.