02/01 Biggest costs for tiny homes lie in the old foundations

Developer Eve Picker in front of cityLAB's tiny house in Garfield, PA.

Developer Eve Picker in front of cityLAB’s tiny house in Garfield, PA.

The first tiny house in the city is like a wet finger stuck in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Will there be demand for more? And if so, will Ms. Picker be able to build any of the next three she plans less expensively than the almost $200,000 it took to finish this one? That’s about double her projected cost.

“Half of my cost is underground,” she said during the tour.

An old foundation had to be excavated and separate water and sewer lines created.

Old foundations lie under so many vacant lots in the city, and vacant lots are strewn throughout neighborhoods desperate for investment. Separated sewer lines are required of all new construction, but one could argue whose responsibility that should really be.

With those burdens, few small projects exist. Yet small houses cost less to build than large houses, use fewer materials and less energy. If they cost less to build, they cost less to sell, which means people with moderate to modest incomes can buy them.

Read more – http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/diana-nelson-jones/2016/02/01/Diana-Nelson-Jones-Walkabout-Biggest-costs-for-tiny-homes-lie-in-the-old-foundations/stories/201602010008


Elaine Walker