The Next Housing Crunch May Be Here Sooner Than We Thought

One of the big questions when it came to tiny houses was “is this just a fad because of the recession of 2008?”   Now that we are out of the slump and down the road to recovery we are able to see that it is certainly not a passing trend.  If it was because of the recession, we’d see a slump in metrics, but in the past year the traffic on The Tiny Life has doubled, houses are being built at an ever increasing rate, and media attention has been strong.

One thing in the back of my mind during the whole recession is will we learn our lesson?  While there lies much blame with banks, lenders and Wall Street, the collective population also played their part.  In the end, I don’t think Americans in general have learned much, their actions tell a story that isn’t much different from life leading up to 2008.  I think if you’re reading this blog, you’ve woken up from the “American Dream” to find a nightmare; you get that we need to make changes and by living tiny, you’re taking significant steps to that end.

In the past few months I’ve been following a large number of stories pointing to another recession coming sooner than we expected.  The most recent I saw was this article.  Places like Forbes, Bloomberg, and other big names have spelt out why they think we’ll see a downturn soon.  Estimates range from end of 2015 to early 2017.  Reasons are varied, but all seem to point to the same thing: recession.

Now I’m not going to claim that there will be a recession sometime soon, obviously at some point there will be another, but I think the message is still the same: we know there will be ups and downs in life, how can we best setup our lives to make the journey smoother and less likely to get ourselves into a bad situation?

Hope for the bestPrepare for the worst

With wages stagnating, costs rising, wage gaps ever increasing, wealth concentrating into a scant few bank accounts and our economy being based on an ever increasing capital despite living on a finite planet, something has got to give.   We see these forces in play and know that they aren’t sustainable, we know they will catch up to us at some point.

So far in this life of mine I’ve discovered a few truths:

  1. Building in resiliency in your life will help you today, but also in bad times
  2. Peace of mind is something that is invaluable
  3. The more control we have over our life, our money, our decisions, and our time the better

So what can we do to prepare for a potential slump? 

1. Get into your tiny house

2. Get out of debt

3. Consider your employment, how stable would it be in a downturn and what can you do now to build your network

4. Can you make the jump to solar, partial food production, or other self sustaining practices

5. Can you put away more money for the rainy day we know is coming


Your Turn!

  • What are you doing to prepare for the next slump?
  • How are you becoming more resilient or self sufficient?
  1. Love the message- but you wrote Hosing instead of Housing in your title

  2. Perhaps he meant “hosing”….lol….That’s what caused the problem!!!!

  3. Great topic, Ryan. I’m really curious about the economy too and the potential for another recession/downturn which might come sooner than most people expect due to the government not allowing the economy to go through it’s natural cycles (ie- we pumped a bunch of money into various industries and companies to give the economy a ‘boost’ so we can avoid a depression). Because of this, some economists think we’ll see another downturn soon. Those of us who are living small, tiny, below our means, etc., are going to end up ok. Great post! And how true… it’s definitely going to happen. Why not continue preparing?

  4. Excellent article! I think another important thing to consider is our voting choices. In January, we will have in place leaders who I fear will belligerantly defend and expand the continuance of the staus quo: the wars-for-profit, the income inequality, the ever-increasing poverty, the increase of cocentration of the nation’s wealth in the hands of a few ultra-rich who care nothing about people outside their class or the environment. We are in for dangerous times because voters have put in place a very dangerous group of people. Voters seem to care mire about the players on their favorite pro-sports team, than about researching the potential leaders as to what and whom they really stand for. The “bigger is better, and biggest is best” mentality will continue, I fear, because it is in the best interest of those in power and their major supporters. I fear for the future, although I am working on getting out of debt and planning my tiny house around the freedom of solar power, producing part of my own food, and avoiding being pulled into the frenetic, gadgeteered lifestyle, and embracing “sufficient is enough” and “live simply so that others can simply live” philosophy and life values.

    • Wow! The Kool-Aid you are drinking is really strong! There is little difference between the Dems and Reps, we (Americans that is) voted both of them into power. It is a myth that one party is for the poor and the other is for the rich. Every congressman and senator–and president–leave office extremely wealthy, Rep or Dem.

      Who cares for the people? Which party helped bring an end to slavery?

      Income inequality? What a joke! I started out poor and by most standards I’m not far above that now. But, I have never expected anyone else to pay for my needs. Despite that I own my own home, cars and possessions. I have been debt free more than twenty-five years because I lived on 80% of my net income, cf. above re. level of income.

      Whine, whine, whine. Work, save and be generous. Who do you think builds the hospitals, feeds the poor, helps orphans and widows? Don’t forget, the government has no money, they have your money. And all they want to do is spend it!

      The government does not owe you anything and their job is not to redistribute wealth.

      Stop whining, pay your way and help someone else do the same!


  5. This coming generation we will pass oil peak, encounter major climate warming, experience drought and water pollution, see food quality and quantity decrease, likely see American capitalism buckle, shift to alternative energy, reinvent education and jobs, see sociopolitical revolution at the ballot box as demographics inexorably darken from white to brown, suffer drops in healthcare quality at rising cost, and fracture our nation along values and belief lines into multiple regions. The 21st Century will see a New Normal quite unlike the past 150 years. Not since the Civil War will there be such schism.

    The economics of consumerist more-is-better, belief that greed-is-good and white-is-right, and a century of growth-driven “prosperity for all” will be unsustainable and shortly collapse, requiring new models for housing, transportation, education, healthcare, energy use, food production, water use/reuse, communications. Even reproduction and population will be impacted as limited planetary resources are shared and shrink.

    We will have tiny houses, tiny vehicles, tiny gardens, tiny communications, tiny energy sources, tiny families, tiny schools, tiny jobs and tiny self-reliant communities. Our hope cannot be to return to pre-recession false prosperity, but rather to create a New World aligned with the constraints of the New Normal, to teach our children how to survive and prosper wholly different from their parents and grandparents. They will have the advantage of generic drugs, cheap technology, and scientific knowledge that their forefathers could not enjoy. Building a degrowth life where less is more will replace the catastrophic more is better that brought us to our peril.

    Recession and depression are terms that apply to collectivist capitalism that implodes where our lives depend on a monetary economy, where we work for, save up, and depend on money as an intermediary between us and happiness. But that intermediary is out of our control, and thus our lives and future are beyond our own control. We need to demonetize to regain our freedom and restore our lives. The Tiny Movement does just that.

    Housing is traditionally our largest investment, often encumbered by mortgages, leases, taxes, regulations, and burdensome maintenance. Tiny housing can reduce or replace all of this load, and free up resources for improving quality (and perhaps quantity) of life. Same can be said for automobiles, created by Henry Ford as an object of envy and desire. Large televisions, expensive appliances, fancy furniture, even elaborate holidays all joined in as iconic symbols of success, and all were purchased on borrowed dollars as credit cards, consumer debt and second mortgages washed over the land, increasing our dependency on the monetary house of cards that collapsed in 2008.

    First step toward a new normal is an attitude shift that disintermediates money as our über goal, and replaces that direction for housing, furnishings and transportation with an ethos of “small is beautiful” (in the words of EF Schumacher) and better yet “portable property” as one of our “great expectations” (thank you, Charles Dickens) if we build our home on a flatbed trailer. If we do our best to prepare for the worst (Proverbs 21:31), we will be largely insulated from the impending recession.

    Start with paying down debt by saving dollars on day to day expense. A tiny house (on wheels), a tiny vehicle (Elio), and The Tiny Life come next. Less _is_ more — a repeated lesson I’ve learned over the past 70 years.

  6. Such optimism! Recession and depression are nothing new.
    Runaway government spending and taxes on every little thing.
    Let’s not forget about monetizing the debt!
    It doesn’t matter if there is a D or an R in front of their title,
    it’s all about lining their pockets and YOU pay the price when
    you swallow the party line!

    Maybe it’s about time the politicians started living the tiny life!

  7. What I’m trying to do is get a permanent job and steady income. I’m also looking to have my own small house in the next four or five years. I’ve downsized to a studio apartment and so, gotten rid of extra stuff (though I keep buying new materials for my art making!) i am also trying to start a small business selling my miniature/postcard sized originals and prints. Small art for small houses and small wall spaces!

    • I’m about the same place as you Kay. I have my own business already, but just went from 1500 sq ft to 700sq ft condo for me, my 19 year old daughter and 21 year old son and a small dog. Cody, my son is in a power wheelchair, so we have accessibility to deal with too. I’m seriously considering a bus with a wheelchair lift, and making that into a tiny home at some point! Just have to master this space first.

  8. I was so seriously annoyed when the whole system didn’t come crashing down back when I was younger, as it looked so imminent then. The years went by and financial crises came and went but the basic underlying environmental crisis has only deepened. I never did manage to get financial security over the intervening years but I did remain debt free and am almost where I can set up a tiny reasonably manageable house and life. Unfortunately it took a lot longer than I anticipated, with lots of side tracking along the way, so there are not so many good years left to enjoy it. But enjoy it I will, for as long as I can.

    Learn from my missteps, get yourself set up as soon and as well as you can and you will never regret it. You can still go on to do a lot of other things but always have your backup plan ready to go.

  9. One strategy that has not been mentioned is the group strategy. It can be cooperative, communal or multigenerational. It can be as small as buying groceries together or as big as buying land together to split it into building and gardening parcels. Maybe even a community taking over several lots of derelict property and turning them into a little garden of Eden, resplendent with tiny houses.

    Sometimes you just have to have help.

  10. Thinking of building tiny house on my land in maine, minus 20 winters. Would like full basement, porch, big garden, chickens, wood heat and solar hot water, about 500sq ft. For 10k. ? Possible

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