More Arkansans downsizing their homes to cut costs

It started during the recession that began in 2007, as people sought a simpler, less expensive way to live. But today, the desire for simple living remains.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The tiny house movement has made waves across the country as people search for a simpler, less expensive way to live.

People in central Arkansas aren’t bringing in many super tiny homes because of zoning laws and regulations, but that isn't stopping Arkansans from downsizing in major ways. Many are still choosing homes that are thousands of square feet less than what used to be typical.

Chris Lowery says his 1,100-square foot home has been perfect for him, his wife and child. 

“It’s really great because there is an intimacy to it. You don't have to yell so loud to reach someone at the other end of the house and we all get to sit together and have a sense of family.”

Lowery said he enjoys having a smaller home because of the smaller utility bills and reduced cleaning time.

“It’s a lot less maintenance,” he said.

Real Estate Agent Ray Ellen said more and more clients are coming to him because they want to downsize.

“The tiny home movement was popularized and it allowed people to see what you could do with 700 square feet. A lot of people started living in those homes and realized it wasn't practical so now they are looking at a little bit larger homes like 1,000-1,300 square feet."

Ellen says people are willing to give up bonus rooms and larger kitchens for bigger yards and their desired locations. He says many are also wanting to move closer to the city center by their favorite restaurants, bars and conveniences. 

“Most of those homes in downtown areas are generally smaller,” said Ellen. “People are finding smaller homes, renovating them, and using some of the same practices they learned in the tiny house movement.

He says anytime he lists a smaller home, it's gone in the blink of an eye.

“A three bedroom, two-bathroom home that is about 1,000 to 1,300 square feet that has been remodeled and looks really great and really cute is going to sell really quickly.”

While some people are working with real estate agents to find their perfect small home, others are building their own.

Alise Piggee is building her dream small home on a piece of family land in Scott. She said she can’t find what she wants in the homes already built. Her goal is no more than 1,000 square feet. She is hoping the smaller home will save her a large amount of money. 

“I like the idea of not having to have huge expensive utility bills for such a large area. I want to use the extra money to travel.”

Bret Franks construction is working with her to build the home. His company gained national attention for building a 600-square foot house in Little Rock dubbed "The Little House of Little Rock.”  Franks said he gets calls from people wanting to build small homes all the time.

He also said he has seen a shift in interest from clients. He says his clients, in general, are wanting to build smaller houses more often.

“A 3,500-square foot house used to be the average size, but over the last 10 years or so we are seeing that coming down and averaging more like 2,000 square feet and under.”

On Thursday, Amanda Jaeger will look at new, trendy downsizing options that could be making their way to Little Rock soon.  
 

Read More:

A Road to a Better Community: Tiny Homes

Homeless advocate wishes to see housing options come to Little Rock

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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