Building Micro-Homes in Portland

By
Real Estate Appraiser with Ashcroft & Associates

A Portland developer is starting a 29 dwelling site of micro-homes ranging from approximately 360+ to 650+ square feet. The houses prices are yet to be determined.

It is located in a bike and transit friendly part of the city, which is essential as there will be no room for anything more than limited street parking.

As an appraiser, I have run into lending issues with dwellings under 500 square feet and I'm not sure if the developer is offering financial assistance.

Other than the forementioned issues, I'm excited to see if the public will envelope the idea (especially as we just purchased a tiny house of our own recently, but that will be the topic of a later blog).

Here is the link to the news story.

Here is a link to the developers page.

               Micro-Homes SE Portland

 

Update 11/15/2011:

 

According to D.R. Horton, over 50% of these micro homes have been sold.

My only current thought is 'how do you fit 2.1 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms in 687 square feet?'


More articles:  KGW

                     Sustainable Business Oregon

                     Building News

                     Portland Mercury

 

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Tags:
microhomes
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japanese ultrasmall homes
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Rainmaker
115,950
Sara Goodwin
Portland, Oregon Appraiser
Ashcroft & Associates

Hi Michael -  I think that is my conclusion as well ~

May 15, 2011 12:38 PM
Anonymous #15
Anonymous
Alex

Ther is a "cool factor" to micro homes in Portland, but these places at 700+ Sq ft don't fully qualify as "micro", most like "small".   In fact, I don't think you can build a true "Micro" and still be up to code in the state not to mention city limits unless it is on wheels.   The Ikea store here (which is huge business in Portland and easily the single largest furniture retailer by a long shot) has sample living spaces in their upstairs showroom which get a lot of attention, a lot of people saying "I wish they would make houses like this".   I have found some areas where true micro homes can be built and I think profitably sold in the $60K range except that there remain those pesky issues of zoning and taxes.  Then the question gets to be what is truly "real estate" vs just a fancy trailer in a trailer park, and the layout of trailer parks is usually so awful that people only live there out of economic necessity.   Combine that with the fact that the most exclusive and costly trailer parks look like nothing more than manicured parking lots, while the ones with the best potential for cute landscaping look more like homeless camps.  Then there is "Dignity Village" where it is shaping up to something, except it was built from the beginning as a magnet for bums and still lacks required amenities like real running water with the city wanting something like $20K up front from the charitable organizations before one shovel breaks one clod of dirt on the construction of a real full size park style bathroom facility.

The lifestyle that sells here for the young people is artistic low to middle cost housing, access to bike and train commuting routes (nobody really loves the busses) and at least some parking for car storage.  I bike commute when I can, but reality is that I still need to own a truck for work.  The young people want to walk to a bar, and if possible, carry their beer to a food cart court parking lot and catch a "free" concert or dance, spending plenty of cash along the way, just not signing over many payment agreements for big ticket items or cars.   They want to buy something and own it, not be obligated to make payments forever because in reality, they are maybe not that stable, and all know horror stories of someone who paid $250K for a house they can no longer get out of.   Betting $70K to $100K on a mobile home makes economic sense on the higher end of the younger people who were not given a lot of "starter money" by their parents, until they get a look at the mobile home parks and say "no fucking way".  There is currently a series of videos on Youutube right now of a 16 year old Portlander building himself a true micro-house on a trailer frame, but he will still run into zoning issues when it is done.   They estimate costs on those things to be in the $12K range for self-build, although some single wide manufactured variants are a flat $9995 at mobile home dealerships in Washington along I-5.  Lumber scavenging is for those with more time than money, I don't see a large contractor really coming out ahead sending employees to shop for scavenged lumber and materials when new specification stuff can be ordered from naufacturers.  

Jantzen Beach currently has lots of homes under $100K, condos and mobiles, decent neighborhood, just bad traffic to and from and limited mass transit access.  (busses that also have to navigate the bad traffic going to the crowded bridge). 

The $100K small houses will probably sell, but they should make sure to keep the "cool factor" in play and have a food cart court within a very short walking distance.

October 16, 2011 02:53 PM
Rainmaker
115,950
Sara Goodwin
Portland, Oregon Appraiser
Ashcroft & Associates

Hi Alex -

We actually have acquired a tiny house but never anticipate it being housed in a trailer park.  In fact, I'm not sure if mobile parks allow houses with axels still attached (I'm admittedly no expert on that, however).

I talk to people quite a bit about downsizing and try to grasp their opinion on how small they can live with (when the opportunity arises).  If I had to guess, I would say that few 2+ people would dare think of anything smaller than 700 square feet for a full time residence (myself included).

And yes, when you park a car next to a 200 +/- sf dwelling, it tends to dwarf a tiny house.

November 15, 2011 11:30 PM
Rainmaker
115,950
Sara Goodwin
Portland, Oregon Appraiser
Ashcroft & Associates

Updates posted above ~

November 15, 2011 11:47 PM
Anonymous #18
Anonymous
heidi

Did anyone find comps for places under 400sqft in Portland? Did anyone find a lender that is good to work with? I have been watching all the 50's tiny homes turn into UGLY narrow lots with garage faces....it's ruining the community and I want to save a old tiny lot and racing our neighborhood developer. 

May 10, 2013 11:57 PM
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Rainmaker
115,950

Sara Goodwin

Portland, Oregon Appraiser
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