07/19 Builders see growing market for tiny houses

Builders Choice tiny house

Builders Choice tiny house

It’s just under 300 square feet, but touring this tiny house for sale in Vermillion takes some time.

The main floor at 240 square feet includes a living space, kitchen with fridge and stove, and a bathroom with a toilet and shower.

A table or desk can be converted into a window bench. One sink serves both the kitchen and bathroom. A sleeper sofa fits, but a Murphy bed would be an option, too.

“We crammed a lot of stuff into 240 square feet,” said Nick Larson, vice president of Builders Choice, which manufactured the house. “We tried to make it a convertible space.”

His company, which is based in Alaska, is among the first to embrace the tiny house trend in South Dakota…

“That’s how the project was born. We used it as a training tool for our factory employees to see outside our normal box and challenge them creatively and in their woodworking and challenge our designers and came out with that.”

The houses are meant to sit on a foundation and serve as a primary residence or cabin. They are listed at $58,500, which Larson called the high side of the market.

If demand warrants more production, efficiencies gained in manufacturing would allow prices to come down without sacrificing material quality and detail, Larson said.

The most serious interest so far has been from developers, he said, including some who see the potential for developing tiny-house communities.

“Developers see a lot of options for either a vacation destination or low-income housing, stuff like that. So it has opened the doors to a few creative developers, and that’s the most serious interest,” he said. “I don’t think the market is in the Midwest for it, so we will probably pack these up and ship them west, maybe to Washington, just to market in a different climate.”

The houses are built to withstand Alaska weather, however, he said. Builders Choice also is developing a website that will allow tiny-house buyers to customize projects. But it mostly is focused on its “bread and butter, which is manufacturing more repeatable things.”

Design concepts learned from the tiny house, however, have bigger applications.

Read more – http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/business-journal/2016/07/19/builders-see-growing-market-tiny-houses/87270512/


Elaine Walker