A number of trends are converging to make small, affordable housing a growth industry. All over the US, from Boston and New York to Portland and Sacramento, micro & mini housing projects are proliferating because of a lack of supply, high rents, high purchase prices and a resurgent interest in urban living.
Just 20 years ago in most of these cities, it was easy to find affordable rentals and homes for sale. With many Americans now priced out of homeownership or struggling to pay steep rents, 250 ft.² to 750 ft.² apartments and homes are becoming a consideration.
Those who are paying say $1,500 a month, for example, can payoff a $65,000 home in just a few years and have money left over to spend on travel, eating out and attending city events. Who wants to be tied to a huge mortgage these days?
The following is a 300 ft.², micro unit:
Competitions-adAPT NYC Micro Unit (Image Courtesy www.nyc.gov)
Big Cities Embracing Change
Big city mayors, if they wish to make their constituents happy, are getting on board.
The Seattle Department of Planning and Development, for example, has approved 41 micro housing projects since 2006. Many of the projects serve low income and minorities but with economic stagnation, affordable small houses are becoming attractive to nearly everyone.
New York City created a competition, adAPT New York, a pilot program for the city’s first micro-unit apartment building, currently owned by the city, at 335 E. 27th St. in Manhattan. The winner was Monadnock Development, with its entry pictured above.
Another trend in is shipping container housing. A Montana-based company, Montainer, is shopping its prototype around in major urban areas that need more affordable housing, and most of them do.
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