By Dave Parrish
For The Trussville Tribune
While for decades the thought “bigger is better” has ruled, it looks like the tide may well be turning in the real estate industry. This change in trend is being brought about by two very different groups: Baby Boomers and Millennials. The Tiny House Movement has caught the imagination of these two outwardly dissimilar groups due to many shared realities as well as shared dreams or desires.
Simplicity… As a rising number become aware of the complicated lives brought on by burdensome debt, both groups seem to be leaning toward a more simple existence led largely by the desire to be less encumbered with debt. Simplicity, however, for both groups also includes a desire for peace of mind, as well as eliminating or reducing both the fiscal and emotional costs of following the aspirations of others.
Mobility… Another strong motivator for both groups seems to be mobility or the ability to see more of the world or to take advantage of developing opportunities for either career or life experience. The large expensive home is often viewed by members of both groups as an anchor holding them back from experiencing life without the limits of a permanent homestead.
Lifestyle… Much of this could be summed up as a refocusing on life experience rather than the acquisition of things. Lifestyle is seen more as experience than assets.
Independence… Of equal importance is the desire for independence. Millennials are so often burdened with excessive student loan debt and reduced or limited employment opportunities, and are opting for the independence of their on space rather than having to live through what feels like a protracted period of adolescence living with parents. Living smaller means being on their own sooner. For the Baby Boomers, living smaller means less to maintain and more independence to complete their bucket list.
Freedom… All of this should sound rather familiar. It really sounds like the forces that drove the development of the American persona for most of the past 400 years. The great American spirit seems to be more embodied in the search for freedom, independence and a better life beyond that our predecessors experience. I’m reminded of the words of Kris Kristopherson from the song Me and Bobby McGee: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
Now, I realize that this transition may seem counter cultural if not counter intuitive for many. And almost certainly, the masses are not moving toward living in a space less than 500 square feet. But the move is strong enough to impact the way the masses look at where and how they live and this will affect us all.
May the Market be with you…