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As buyers prioritize their needs, options for the right home narrow into a floorplan that might be smaller than they expected. But why not? If they can afford a home that is in the right location, a tiny home becomes an appealing option, especially for Millennials.

NAHB regularly conducts national polls of American adults and home buyers in order to understand new trends and preferences in the housing market. This is the first in a series of posts highlighting poll results, as presented during the 2018 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, FL.

One recent poll suggests there might be a potential market for tiny homes (< than 600 square feet). More than half of adults surveyed (53%) said ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ when asked if they would ever consider the possibility of buying such a small home. This basically means that a majority of adults are at least willing to consider living in a tiny home now or at some point in the future.

But not all generations feel the same way, with potential interest waning with age. While more than half of Millennials and Gen Xers may be open to the idea of a tiny home, the feeling is shared by only 45% of Boomers and 29% of Seniors.

Prior to the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), a tiny home on a permanent foundation was subject to all the same requirements applicable to any other house built under the IRC. A new appendix in the 2018 IRC allows for the relaxation of certain requirements for a tiny home such as the ceiling height and staircase specifications. The appendix (Q) can be adopted by any jurisdiction that wants to allow tiny homes to be constructed.

Tiny homes, however, may be inviable in many areas. Many local zoning laws have minimum lot size requirements, which wouldn’t prohibit tiny homes, but would make them very expensive considering the cost of land. In addition, many communities prohibit the construction of accessory structures, preventing existing home owners from adding them to their lots (although it should be noted that some communities have passed ordinances in recent months relaxing this restriction).

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