Austin is often on the forefront of innovations when it comes to housing. Recently, one of the innovators in the movement toward smaller dwellings has been coming up in our conversation, so I decided to check it out. I thought you might enjoy learning about Professor Dumpster and his “tiny houses” along with me.
Jeff Wilson is a former professor of environmental science who did an experiment a couple of years ago where he lived in a dumpster (a clean, new one) for a year. He apparently actually liked it (see this YouTube video). Thank goodness, he decided that 33 square feet is a bit too small for the average person (especially since it lacked a bathroom), but it did get him thinking. Anyhow, he began going by Professor Dumpster and raising money for a new project.
He spent the next couple of years designing what sort of appears to be a tiny house for hipsters. But it’s a cool one (see first embedded video below). And if you’d rather read, here’s a recent article I found on Professor Dumpster.
He ended up with the Kasita project, which aims to manufacture the trendy tiny homes, which are stackable—perfect for single folks who want to live downtown amid the action, or whatever it is that those people want (I like space, so it’s obviously not for me, but then, I’m not everyone). It can also be stuck in the middle of the woods if you’re more of a peace and quiet type. It launched this week at Austin’s SXSW Conference and Festival. This interesting article from my favorite Community Impact newspaper, hints that these things will NOT be cheap at over $100,000 each, and has lots of pictures.
I know that there are a lot of tiny house projects going on. Practically everything on the home and gardening television networks is about tiny houses. I guess what I liked about this one is you don’t have to build it yourself, and it’s modular, but not made out of a shipping crate (nothing against those; we own two).
It really got me thinking, though, of how this trend could affect those of us who are real estate investors. This might be the modern equivalent of the mobile home park. Think how many of these could go in a small space, with trendy high rents! All you’d need is a lot of utility hookups and somewhere for the residents to park their transportation (including electric car hookups and LOTS of bike racks). Of course, we might have to wait until the price goes down! Maybe Professor Dumpster make a bare-bones model to sell in bulk someday.
Do any of you have other ideas for how we could take this idea and work it into our portfolio of investments? We’d love to hear them!
Below are a couple of videos you can watch to learn more.
Thanks to Russell for the YouTube links!