The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on the world – millions have lost their jobs, millions have gotten infected, and millions more are trapped in their homes, waiting out as we try to flatten the curve.
But there are a few silver linings throughout all this, particularly when it comes to the tiny house movement. While the lockdowns have made it more difficult to park mobile tiny houses and RVs in public places, they’ve helped spur the movement forward in ways that might have taken years without the virus.
Here are some ways COVID-19 is actually helping the tiny house movement gain traction globally:
1) In Australia, Tiny House Inquiries Doubled
In Australia, one of the biggest sellers of tiny houses is Aussie Tiny Houses in Queensland. And according to their managing director, Fabio Paulucci, tiny houses have never been more popular.
About 10 days into Australia’s lockdown, Paulucci reports that there was “a massive influx of emails and calls from people asking very directly when they could get a tiny home. Some wanted more than one. Some wanted three or four units.”
They were getting demographics that they had never gotten interest from – adults looking for homes for elderly parents, and parents looking for homes for their young adult kids. Paulucci believes that this has to do with families realizing they need space away from each other during the extensive lockdowns, and tiny homes are the best way to do it.
2) Seattle Opened a Tiny House Village to Address Homelessness During Lockdown
Just last week, Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute opened the T.C. Spirit Village, which is a small village made up of tiny houses. These tiny houses are designated to specifically house the unsheltered population of Seattle who need protection from coronavirus exposure.
T.C. Spirit Village is just the latest in a trend of tiny house villages opening up in the region, with 13 tiny house villages located in Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle, some of them like T.C. Spirit Village offering free and easy shelter for the homeless and unsheltered. These villages are run with the help of thousands of volunteers, and over a thousand people live in the villages at any given time.
Because of these villages, more and more people are realizing the value of tiny houses – quick, easy, and affordable housing solutions for areas that need help.
3) Tiny House Hotels Are Offering Discounts for Self-Isolation Space
Looking for a place to self-isolate away from your family? For healthcare workers that don’t want to risk bringing home the virus to their loved ones, the Caravan-Tiny House Hotel in the Alberta Arts District of Northeast Portland is offering insane discounts.
Prices have dropped from $125 to $185 per night to just $40 to $57 a night, depending on how long you stay. Caravan-Tiny House Hotel is the first tiny houses on wheels lodging area in the world, first opening in 2013. According to a Facebook post by owner Deb Delman,
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Caravan is now offering our unique and beautiful tiny homes on wheels at greatly reduced rates due to the drop in regular hotel business. We are shifting our tiny homes on wheels, which are typically used as nightly rentals, to serve those who need a short-term rental for 1-4 weeks. We will be prioritizing healthcare workers who need a place to self-isolate while they work to help our community through this crisis.”
This is a great opportunity for tiny house rentals to show new and untapped markets the charm and unique style of tiny house living.
In early April, the city of San Jose, California passed a plan to construct up to 500 tiny houses in just a matter of weeks. The aim of this project is to help house some of the 6000 unsheltered population of the city, who have typically been housed in motel rooms and temporary trailers (less than 15% of the homeless residents of San Jose have had housing with these solutions).
Each unit is expected to cost up to $25,000, costing an overall $17 million for the entire project. In just a few weeks, 500 new tiny houses will be helping the unsheltered community in the city, perhaps inspiring more cities to embrace the tiny house solution.
5) San Diego Allowing New Tiny House Law for Backyard Tiny Houses
While San Jose is building tiny houses for their unsheltered community, nearby San Diego is easing restrictions on where and how you can build tiny houses to encourage more people to construct it in their own backyard. How? By allowing people to build tiny houses in their backyards.
According to a newly approved proposal passed by the Planning Commission of San Diego last week, San Diego homeowners are now allowed to install mobile tiny houses in their backyards. This will allow them to build separate dwellings for their friends and family members, or rent out tiny houses to interested tenants.
According to Commissioner Doug Austin, “The last 30 years of wrong-minded policies have gotten us into this housing crisis, and I think it’s innovation that’s going to get us back out of it.”
6) Atlanta Experiencing a 150% Increase in ADU Sales
Australia isn’t the only place reporting a boost in tiny house homeowner interest. In Atlanta, tiny home manufacturers experienced a 150% increase in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) this year compared to last, and the boost is attributed to coronavirus lockdown concerns.
While some of the new interest in tiny homes is from people looking to downsize during the crisis, some of it also comes from an unexpected demographic: homeowners who are looking for more space to self-isolate away from their “main” home. This means they’re looking for ADUs that allow them to find peace and quiet on their own, by installing an ADU in their backyard. There is also interest in tiny houses as a homeschooling area for larger families.
"Since working from home will be a reality for many people for the foreseeable future, we expect to see a greater interest in people building an accessory dwelling unit to use as a home office space.”Frank Golley of Golley Houses
The Silver Lining – Tiny House Movement Growth
You might be wondering – “is it really good for the tiny house movement to grow? How does this personally affect me?” While it might not affect you immediately and directly, the growth of the tiny house movement can only be a good thing for tiny house homeowners. As more and more people see the value and importance of the tiny house option, more laws and regulations will be shaped to accommodate this lifestyle.
And a healthy market is a successful market – with more interest comes more tiny house possibilities. Who knows where this new interest in tiny houses could lead?
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.