Almost 40,000 potential homebuyers and curiosity-seekers crowded into a gathering billed as the "first official" Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, CO, over the weekend — a testament to the growing popularity of building and living in homes measuring as small as 100 to 400 square feet.
Attendees came from all 50 states and 10 countries for the three-day event, where 22 professional builders of tiny homes displayed their models, organizers told TV station 9News.
The station reported that long lines formed to get into the houses, which are designed to hold no more than three people at a time.
In communities whose zoning laws allow for the extra-small structures — which often include wheels so they can be moved — an increasing number of builders are specializing in designing and constructing them for a quickly growing market.
Some of the homes come with luxury features and can cost more than a the typical, 2,736-square-foot home. But the average cost to build a microhouse is $23,000, according to The Tiny Life, an online resource about what it calls "the movement," dwarfing the average sales price of $281,800 for a standard home.
Attendance at a separate, two-year-old annual conference on the small structures doubled to 400 this year, The Tiny Life’s founder and event organizer Ryan Mitchell told The New York Times last week. The popularity of the small abodes, he said, has been driven by consumers who want to own homes but can’t afford market prices.
"I do think the interest is more than just a response to the recession, because if that was the case, my numbers would have dipped" from year to year, Mitchell told The Times. "But since the recession my website traffic has quadrupled. I’ve got millions of visitors a year."