Writer: Catie Schwartzman
2 min read March 2021 — Tampa Bay’s real estate boom has meant big things for tiny homes. Not surprisingly given COVID, most purchases have been for extra work or study spaces, entertainment spaces, guest homes: an accessory extension to a larger property and an opportunity to change home life scenery. However, the industry looks lucrative far past the pandemic.
Nationally, 2020 was a record year for tiny homes, according to the Global Tiny Homes Market 2020 report. The report estimates that “this market could increase by $5.8 billion between 2020 and 2024.” In Tampa Bay, expansion of the market is on the horizon.
In the heat of the pandemic in August 2020, Escape Tampa Bay Village in Thonotosassa opened in Tampa Bay. The 10-home eco-friendly community offers a living-working outdoor environment, an appealing feature for those fatigued by the extended home life caused by the pandemic and in search of a safe haven. Additionally, many owners of larger homes are grappling with increased utility bills and maintenance costs due to the prolonged time at home. This has helped spur sales of Escape Tampa Village in Thonotosassa’s properties, which are up 25% since the start of the pandemic.
“There’s a growing expansion of people who want to live smaller. In return, they also get to spend their money in places other than wasted space at their homes, huge electric bills,” said developer of Escape Tampa Bay Village in Thonotosassa David Peterson to WFLA-TV.
Escape Tampa Bay Village in Thonotosassa is expanding into a second phase of construction, growing its community from 10 to 23 tiny homes to accommodate demand.
“Each unit is going to be a 40-foot shipping container,” said Brandon Casten, co-founder of Path Communities, to FOX 13 Tampa Bay.
These 31, 320-square-foot micro-apartments will provide affordable housing in a desirable location. Casten says with maximized use of space, the small size of the apartment is an asset that sets Path Communities apart from other developers.
“There’s a lot of giant apartment complexes going up that aren’t affordable for the average person,” said Casten. “And this is gonna look, feel, and act very differently from the other developments in the city.”
In Southwest Florida, the next tiny home community is expected to be expansive. Commissioners have approved the land for Simple Life Ventures for up to 230 homes, and construction is expected to start this upcoming summer and open to tenants in the beginning of next year. Mike McCann, President and CEO of Simple Life Ventures, sees the community as an opportunity for affordable living for the 40-70 year old demographic looking to downsize.
“We’re not age-restricted, but really, we see 40 plus to 70 looking for higher quality, but lower footprint, lower cost,” said McCann to WINK News. “It’s in our name. We hope to convey that we’ve made life simpler. But we haven’t taken away any of the quality.”
Whether shoppers are looking to downsize or expand their home space, tiny living offers a remedy to pandemic cabin fever.
Photo Credit: Andrea Davis