Sure, most of us love scrolling through photos of adorable tiny houses—but not everyone is quite as enamored of the tiny living movement.
Concerns over how these small structures could impact the property value of neighborhoods are popping up all over the country. Case in point: When developer and founder Kelvin Young recently made plans to build a tiny house community in Charlotte, North Carolina, community members went to City Council in an attempt to stop the development over fears that it would threaten the property values of their own homes, reports the .
Young was hoping to build 56 500-square-foot tiny houses for first-time home buyers and people looking to downsize, each costing $89,000—far less than the city's median home price, which is $190,000.
"You specifically designate areas for mobile homes, and this is no different," Robert Wilson, who lives a half-mile from the potential site, told the Charlotte Observer. "We want this stopped. We aren't against [zoning that allows three homes per acre]. We are just talking about these types. It will greatly diminish our property values."
Kim Skobba, an associate professor of financial planning, housing, and consumer economics at the University of Georgia, believes the concern over property values primarily comes from pushback over who would live in the tiny homes. "You would have that same response if there were affordable apartments or Habitat for Humanity," she tells Ikaroo.info.
On the other side of the country, in San Jose, California, a plan to build a community of 70-square-foot tiny homes for the homeless was reduced from 99 potential sites to just four, according to the . Nearby residents were concerned with how the development would affect the property value of their neighborhoods, so San Jose officials added restrictions that specified the tiny home community would have to be at least100 feet away from existing homes and creeks, and 150 feet away from schools and parks.
Home Owners' Associations (HOAs) often have a minimum building size requirement because they say it preserves the character of the neighborhood, the property values, and the tax base of the community, according to a report from the .
"Property values are [about] uniformity and control and keeping [the houses] the same," says Skobba. "HOAs are used as an authority to keep out things out of the ordinary. [Meaning] you would have to incorporate tiny homes in a way that fits in with the neighborhood."
But according to a report from , smaller homes are actually appreciating in value faster than larger ones. The study found that homes under 1,200 square feet have appreciated at a rate of 7.5 percent a year for the past five years, whereas homes over than 2,400 square feet only rose 3.8 percent a year in value. As Millennials and Baby Boomers alike continue to seek more affordable housing options, we may see the property value of tiny houses increase even more—and see fears over who's moving into the neighborhood dissipate.