Posted by: Peter Coy on April 16, 2007
Let us pause in our worship of square footage and his ‘n’ her master bathrooms to count the joys of the small house.
1. There are fewer places for things to get lost.
2. You can vacuum more quickly.
3. The heating bill is lower.
4. No room for furniture you can’t afford anyway.
5. Families spend more time together (because they have no choice).
The Small House Society …
... is dedicated to talking up the benefits of living small. Needless to say, the message hasn't exactly caught on like wildfire.
Here is the society's overview on its web page:
The Small House Society is a voice for the Small House Movement. That movement includes movie stars who have proudly downsized into 3000 square feet, families of five happy in an arts and crafts bungalow, multifamily housing in a variety of forms, and more extreme examples, such as people on houseboats and in trailers with just a few hundred square feet around them. Size is relative, and mainly we promote discussion about the ecological, economic and psychological toll that excessive housing takes on our lives, and what some of us are doing to live better. It's not a movement about people claiming to be "tinier than thou" but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.
I would guess that most people living in small houses are doing so out of necessity, not choice. But the environmental benefits of living small are just as great if they're forced upon you as if you took a vow of poverty.
If the Small House Society succeeds, people who can't afford to move into a bigger house might start feeling proud of the good they're doing the planet. And wealthy people who are thinking of trading up to a rapacious 12-room chateau with power skylight blinds might just reconsider.
Hmmm. No wonder the National Association of Home Builders reported today that its index of builder sentiment fell this month to its lowest level since December.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.