This past weekend I decided to visit the Tiny Home show in Ancestor. With non of the homes coming in over 500 sqft they are forced to get creative on how to use the space. I have seen many of these homes online, however never been inside one to understand how it felt. I went to the show to answer the following questions.
Could someone who is used to living in larger spaces like most of us feel comfortable living in these spaces?
What elements are they incorporating into their designs to efficiently use their space?
Do they make financial sense?
Are there any investment options in tiny homes investors should be aware of?
Could someone who is used to living in larger spaces feel comfortable in these spaces?
As average home prices continue to grow and become out of reach of many Canadians, it is only natural that the average size of unit people will become accustomed to will get smaller. Properties and houses will be divided to create ever higher density within our urban areas. Making these spaces feel as large as possible will be important so that they feel like homes.
Did the houses feel comfortable?
I personally found that most of the homes felt quite comfortable. Most of the home’s at the show were 400-500 sqft and felt similar to a standard 750-850 2 bedroom apartment. One of the presenters at the show had a family of 3 living in a home that was less than 300 sqft and claimed it was comfortable.
For investors I really think this is something to take note as one could get close to doubling there rental yields from one home with efficient use of space while also helping more Canadians by creating more housing.
What elements are they incorporating into there designs?
The general concepts behind making these work are minimalism and flex spaces. Every element of the design of these homes are carefully thought out. The designers are looking at every square inch wondering, what can I do with this and how can I make this space feel good.
A common element was lots of windows and high ceilings making the spaces feel larger while also allowing the extra ceiling space to be used, often as bedrooms.
This was one of the designs that I liked it was roughly 400sqft, as you can see the bedrooms are in the ceiling. It had a 10 foot ceiling which gave just enough headroom for someone my size to sit up in the bed without hitting my head. Personally I would have preferred 11 foot ceilings to make it feel a little more spacious, but it is a great use of space.
The issue with these designs is that under Ontario building code these could not be used as bedrooms as you do not have legal head height. There is always the option to label the living room as the bedroom, however I don’t think these can legally be marketed as a 2 bedroom home.
There were homes built to the Ontario building code standard at the show. They often didn’t use any space above as living space however they incorporated murphy beds like the one above, so that spaces could be used for multiple purposes. This one was in a bedroom/office combination.
They were also very efficient with appliances. Washer and dryer combo machines were common place in these units.
Space under stairs was always used to it’s full potential. I think this one was my favorite having 2 side by side mini fridges under the stairs in a home under 300sqft.
I also thought this was a great use of space having the hot water tank above the toilet as this space is rarely used in any home.
Mini Splits were used in practically all designs as space was to precious to dedicate to a furnace room.
Do they make financial sense?
I was actually fairly impressed with some of the pricing at the show, with many of the homes coming in less than what I had previously seen for prefabricated home’s. They were averaging between 200-300,000 for 400-500sqft models. However a purchaser would still have to factor in paying for service upgrades, permits and some form of foundation system which in most cases would add roughly an additional 50,000 to your building costs. This would Bring the average price to 250-350,000 before landscaping and site work.
For some perspective if we priced the coach house model that we built in line with their pricing would cost 924,000 dollars! Because of this it’s hard to recommend to anyone to go with prefabricated home. This indeed will likely be the future of housing however it is still a ways off at this point.