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Living in a place that's a lot less than 1,000 square feet is usually reserved for people just starting out on their own.
But a growing group of people are choosing to live in smaller homes, even if they can afford something bigger. Tiny houses or "micro-homes" appeal to buyers who want to pare down their lives in every way.
In San Francisco and New York, tiny apartments measuring as small as 220 square feet have begun to seem like a viable way to combat rising rents. Mayor Michael Bloomberg challenged architects to design a New York micro-apartment, and chose a winner in January.
The real estate downturn was of course one of the biggest catalysts behind the small home movement, says Michael Janzen of Tiny House Design. “A lot of people who are retired are looking at tiny homes as a way to downsize,” he said. “Younger people are interested in it as a way to get a foothold on homeownership, and a lot of people like the environmental aspect.”
And, adds Janzen, not only do smaller homes cost less, you can also build a tiny home yourself.
“It’s an empowering movement,” he said.
While there are resources and plans to build your own tiny home, it’s also possible to buy one currently on the market. First up is a 600-square-foot cottage within walking distance of the beach in Southern California's Dana Point.
Cute, clean and within walking distance of the beach! The Dana Point home has 1 bedroom and 1 bath, but if you’re looking for a bit more room, the city recently approved plans for a possible second level.
Two bedrooms and 1 bath make up this charming and freshly painted Aurora home. The small cottage has already had a price cut; it was first listed in April 2012 at $60,000.
An adorable “doll house” measuring 128 square feet costs just under the price of most mid-sized sedans. Ideal for a getaway cabin or as a place to downsize, the petite place has 1 bedroom, 1 bath and a tiny kitchen.
Although it measures less than 600 square feet, this St. Petersburg home makes enough room for 2 bedrooms and a bath. The home is move-in ready with recent updates, including renovations to the kitchen and bathroom.
This home has less than 500 square feet, but it sits on nearly an acre in the capital city of Washington state. Custom-built with cedar siding, the Olympia home has energy-efficient, dual-pane windows, a solar-reflective roof and marmoleum floors.
Located in Alhambra, just south of Pasadena, this SoCal starter home boasts just 1 bedroom and 1 bath. But where it lacks in space, it makes up in charm; the little home has been redone inside and out.