America has always been a place of simultaneous unity and division. We tend to be unified over those principles most near and dear to our way of life. Everything else is open to division. It is part of what makes the American experiment so great.
For example, we are a nation divided along real estate lines. If you are not sure what that division looks like, just take a little time to research new homes on the internet. You will discover that there are not many builders concentrating their efforts on raised ranches, cape cods, and traditional colonials. Very few are building homes in the 1,000 square foot range. Instead, all of the emphasis is on two extremes: tiny homes and large, luxury estates. That is where it’s at.
The Tiny Home Craze
Tiny homes first emerged in the early 2010s. People looking to simplify their lives and not have to spend a fortune on housing were more than happy to build structures with just a few hundred square feet of living space and very few amenities. Back then, tiny homes were thought to be a passing fad. It turns out they are not.
Statistics suggest there are more than 10,000 tiny houses in North America. That might not seem like much, but the tiny house market continues to grow. It increased some 67% just in 2017 alone. Moreover, an estimated 68% of all tiny homeowners don’t have a mortgage. Living mortgage-free is one of the most attractive aspects of tiny home living.
Tiny homes fit in nicely with the minimalist lifestyle. They allow people to live uncluttered lives without having all of the hassles that come with maintaining a larger house. But the reality is that tiny home living is not for everyone. You have to be able to exist in a very small space that leaves little room to stretch your legs.
Building Even Bigger
The other side of the tiny house coin is building even bigger than before. For example, barn-style homes are pretty popular in the Hamptons. These are large and imposing homes with two-story windows, imposing rooflines, and enough interior square footage to guarantee you’ll never be cramped.
In up-and-coming markets like Salt Lake City, builders cannot build large homes fast enough, and existing luxury homes for sale are quickly snatched up. Local real estate and design firm cityhomeCOLLECTIVE says Salt Lake City’s economy is a big part of the current housing boom on the Wasatch Front. Companies are moving in, recruiting from around the country, and increasing the local population.
Many of those people coming to Salt Lake City from other parts of the country don’t want tiny homes. They want big; they want modern; they want luxury. Builders are doing their best to give them what they want as quickly as they can.
Division Can Be Good
As a nation divided along so many lines, it can be easy to convince yourself that division is bad. But that’s not necessarily true. Division can be good, as exemplified by different tastes in real estate. Ask a tiny house dweller and the owner of a luxury barn-style home what it is they like about their two properties and you’re likely to hear at least one common answer: they like that their homes are somewhat unique.
Divisions along real estate lines encourage builders to avoid creating entire neighbourhoods of cookie-cutter houses. It encourages city leaders to think twice before embracing urban sprawl. Both are good things. After all, do we all really want to live in those “little boxes made with tiki-tacky” made famous by Malvina Reynolds and Pete Seeger in the ’60s?