OK, so there is this thing called the Tiny House Movement that really seems to be taking hold. You know, building and living in really small homes of 100-400 square feet in size. It is amazing how everyone thinks this is something new. Obviously, they haven't driven around the Lakes Region and northern N.H. and seen all the cottage colonies. I remember one called the Seven Dwarfs' Cottages. You didn't have to be a dwarf to stay there but it helped. I'm not sure if they are still there or not as many of these places have been torn down because they were, well, too small. But these were all vacation get-a-way places and not something you'd really want to live in, right?
It turns out that there are a lot of people that want to live in small houses today. I'd have to say it is all about the low cost of building and maintaining a home. According to thetinylife.com website Americans spend a third to one half of their income on keeping a roof over their heads. This site says that the average cost to build a tiny house comes in around $23,000 if you do the work yourself. That's far less than the average 2,100 square foot home costing around $272,000. That's a pretty hefty savings.
Tiny home owners say they like being debt free with 68 percent of them having no mortgages. They also like the fact that they are simplifying their lives and being more environmentally conscious. They are going to have to simplify things a lot as they aren't going to be have many extras like pool tables, wide screen TVs, or big leather recliners in a one hundred square foot home. It'll be more like cribbage, iPod, and a bean bag chair. But, to each their own.
I took a look around the Lakes Region to see what I could find in the way of year round tiny houses. There are a few seasonal cottages near the lakes that would qualify, but I wanted to see what there was available for a year round residences. Turns out, there isn't a lot, but I did find a few. They are definitely not in the 100-150 square foot range, but we need space in New England to store lots of winter clothes.
On the affordable end of the scale is a property at 41 Carver Street in Laconia. This five room, two bedroom 841 square foot gambrel built in 1900 is cute, cozy and has new paint, refinished floors, a new roof, an oversize one car garage, and a fenced in yard for your miniature Doberman. It is located at the end of a dead end street and is being offered at only $99,900!
You want something smaller? Check out the property at 65 Hemlock Road in Barnstead. This is a 688 square foot, 1988 vintage, three room, one bedroom, a-frame/chalet style home on a half acre lot just a short walk to a shared private beach on Huntress Pond. There's even a large deck for outside dining and barbecuing. It has three heat sources: electric, gas, or wood. Actually, in something this small, you have four sources if you include body heat. This grand estate is offered at $143,000.
Down in Alton at 10 Larry Drive there is a five room, two bedroom, 850 square foot ranch with beach rights to Sunset Lake and Hills Pond that was built in 2006. You'll find a nice kitchen with oak cabinetry, a large living room that has a slider out to a 27' x 10' deck, a master bedroom with not one, but two closets, and an unfinished basement offering expansion potential and a slider out to a brick patio in the level, grassy back yard. This property is offered at $185,000.
So there are a few tiny, but not real tiny houses around currently on the market. I did look to see if there are any honest to goodness tiny houses anywhere in N.H. I did find a 100 square foot, year round, one room, no bathroom, cottage built in 2005 on 7.54 acres available for $39,900 It still needs some finishing. The only problem it is a heck of a commute from Northumberland, N.H.
There were 848 homes on the market as of April 1, 2015 in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by the report. The average list price was $633,667 with the median price point at $264,900. This inventory level represents a 10.5 month supply of homes on the market. To be honest, that number should be tinier.
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others.
Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 4/1/15. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.
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