Are half-sized houses the answer to affordable housing?

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  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 20, 2014 9:05 p.m.

    ". . . 98 square feet?!"

    In other words, the bathroom is in the kitchen next to the bed.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    June 17, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    The concept is not new. Following WWII many people built hope houses, which were essentially a basement with a staircase. You lived in your basement until you could afford to build the main floor. I pass one almost daily where the simply turned the upstairs into a deck.

    While housing prices are a concern, it is largely because we want so much more in our houses. In the 1950s the average house was just under 1000 sq. Ft. Now the average is 2400. The challenge with small homes is keeping the neighborhood nice. If people take care of their property, values rise and people want to stay in their property. When lawns die, driveways become auto junk yards and houses look worn, the neighbor spirals downward.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    June 16, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    On the positive side Americans often raised families in smaller homes (around 600 square feet and up): built up until the forties and fifties of the last century. Plenty of these still around.

    After WW2 homes were also often available that were built for expanding as your family grew. The foundation was made strong enough to build a second storey without any further strengthening; basements were unfinished, lots large enough to add extensions, a large closet on the main floor to facilitate the building of a staircase in the space etc.

    On the more negative side I have seen condos that had awful 'per square foot' prices and pokey rooms selling at only abuout 20K below far better homes; recently I saw a minature "manufactured" home of about 150 square feet that only qualified as an "RV" though not built on wheels, the square foot price also outrageous, and price exclusive of land.

    There are sometimes problems financing any home that is delivered on wheels and so without foundations, or the lending rate is higher for such homes..

    With honest builders, sufficient land to extend, and fair prices it could work and seems much needed.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 16, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    When I got married, my wife and I bought a 5 year old pu truck and a 26' 5th wheel travel trailer. We owed about 15 thousand dollars in dept between us in the 70's. I worked construction, we lived in our 5th wheel for 2 years and was total out of debt in our first year. Than life happens when you least expected. We starter a family. Than meant another car and a bigger place to live and a lot of stuff to spend money on. When the kids left home, The utility bills got lower and lower as each one left. It took a whale to learn to cook for 2 not for 6. I thinking about the 5th wheel again if I could live in it on my own property without the city making problems.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    June 16, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    I would choose one of these over an apartment if I needed to move out of our home we have now. We have lived in apartments--way too noisy. Too many stairs. Funky smells. Lazy managers.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 15, 2014 11:20 p.m.

    Re Mom of 8

    We really don't disagree. My philosophy and advice to my kids and anyone else who will listen is buy the smallest house that will accommodate you. This leaves money left over to avoid debt, invest for the future and live life (not be house poor).

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    June 15, 2014 10:50 p.m.


    These houses have the opportunity to be so much more than a single-wide. Also known as Tiny Houses, such structures are built much more sturdily and have much more of a "home" feel rather than a "trailer" feel. That makes all the difference.

    Such small houses also usually transportable having been constructed on strong trailer platforms (they are frequently classified as RV trailers, but again--have much more appeal than a plastic and flimsy RV). These houses are modifiable, can be added on to, and give people like my husband and I, who have no hope for a retirement, the option of building a "dream house" albeit tiny, when our youngest leaves the house which we fear we'll never afford to pay off.

    I'm so excited to see this movement growing. Fascinating contrast to the McMansions of the last 20 years.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 15, 2014 7:31 p.m.

    A single wide trailer is quite affordable. They are less expensive per square foot than site built homes.