Saturday, March 18, 2017
Why do "tiny houses" cost so much?
I noted a news report that an Oregon county was offering incentives for homeowners to let the county build so-called "tiny houses" in their back yards, and rent them out to the homeless. The price quoted for the first "tiny houses" was $75,000 apiece.
I find it impossible to understand that figure. After all, mobile homes are often much bigger, yet they're much cheaper, and frequently include appliances as well. A single-wide mobile home typically costs $35,000-$40,000, including all related costs (e.g. moving it to your site, connections, etc.), while a double-wide can be twice as much. Older models on clearance, or used mobile homes in good condition, typically sell for half to two-thirds of the cost of new ones.
There's also the cost of travel trailers. They can be very expensive, but basic models are relatively low-cost, even at retail prices - certainly in line with, or even below, the cost of mobile homes. While some travel trailers are flimsily built and won't last long in continuous service, others are sturdy enough to be adopted as permanent homes by so-called "fulltimers". I also know, from personal experience after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, that so-called FEMA trailers, widely used in disaster zones around the USA, can be bought used, in good to excellent condition, at prices ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 retail (and often half that at wholesale). Whatever their origin, travel trailers are as large as or larger than most "tiny houses", and can be parked anywhere there are power, water and sewage connections.
So, how do "tiny house" manufacturers justify charging such an exorbitant price for such a small structure? Can anyone explain? Has anyone built one, or had one built, so that they can tell us at first hand why these things cost so much?