Have you ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? In order of importance it goes physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. Most of us thankfully have all of our needs met in one way or another, but one thing that I have noticed is our need of shelter is being threatened. As humans we need a place to call home, to live and feel safe. If that is in jeopardy or we don’t have one, it puts our basic needs at risk. While most of us are not in that situation, we are on the verge of possibly being without a home. Rent prices are soaring, buying a home is nearly impossible, and it’s illegal to live off “government” owned land. We are in a real pickle and have to think quickly and efficiently about how to handle this housing crisis we are experiencing. We only have 3 options- move, adapt, or die if an area isn’t meeting our needs. Thankfully we have a lot of technology and brains at our disposal, so while the housing market and economy may be failing us, we are rising up and being more creative about our living options.
So why is the housing market and rent in basically in the toilet? You can thank rising mortgage rates which decrease affordability for potential buyers, high demand for housing, and a shortage on for sale inventory to build homes. This along with rising cost in rent due to high demand and record-low supply of homes for sale. We are basically stuck in a loop of renting that we can never seem to get out of! As rent keeps increasing our living wage doesn’t seem to rise at the same rate, causing some of us to look for alternative ways to live. Especially young adults who are trying to figure out a new way to maneuver in this new world that has been established. Are we going to be able to afford rent? A house? Will we be able to have a family? These are all questions that we are struggling with and trying to find the best solution. Thankfully people have stepped up and new housing trends are coming forward. Here are some housing trends that are on the rise in this new economy:
Shipping Container Homes–people are looking to save money with prefabricated and modular homes, with lower construction and maintenance cost. On top of that we want to contribute to saving the environment by recycling, but is a shipping container the best option? What’s great about them is they are easy to transport, prefabricated designs, and a predictable cost. The bad is it’s not effective recycling due to using containers that are in good shape that could be used to transport goods again and again instead of becoming a home. On top of that there is way more steel in a shipping container than you need to build a house. If recycled as steel It could make steel studs for 14 framed houses the same size. Structural issues and limit of the space and shape of the container are also a factor. While the cost depends on so many factors including size and type of finishes and would be far cheaper if you could build it yourself, many pre-manufactured container homes have a high price tag almost equivalent to that of buying a normal home.
Tiny Homes- Downsizing the space that you live in to live simply and with less. While a typical house is around 2.600 square feet a typical tiny home is around 100-400 square feet. While you have to have a place to put your tiny home whether it be renting a plot of land or having your own, that is probably the biggest hurdle. Besides that, the biggest advantage of having a tiny home is the huge financial advantages and the freedom to live the lifestyle that you want to live. Most Americans pay 1/3 to 1/2 their income in rent. While the upfront cost of a tiny home can be anywhere from 10,000- 40,000 the cost of upkeep is pretty low. That’s basically like buying a really nice car to live in! The other cool part of getting a tiny home is 78% of people own their home. Something that most people can only dream of. The downside to owning a tiny home is lack of space, finding a place to put it, and having way to much money in your pocket. If you can downsize and like to have a big savings account this could be a great option for you.
Van life–Van living is great for those who want to travel and live a very minimalistic life. Especially if you have a job that allows you to work online. If you are super adventurous and like to live a nomadic lifestyle this is probably best for you. Not many people live this way in the long run due to having to continuously move, no bathroom/shower, and wear and tear on your vehicle.
While these options are pretty great and give way to saving money and having the financial freedom to invest in experiences instead of possessions, it may not be for everybody. But if you are sick of playing the renting game and being at the mercy of rental companies and landlords who don’t have your best interest in mind then you might want to seriously start saving for that house or look in to alternative living situations. We will adapt and not give up our desire to have a place to live.