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'Tiny living' becoming more of a trend in Austin as people visit TinyFest to look at options

With affordable housing hard to find in Austin and people wanting a more simple way of life, people are considering tiny homes as an option.

AUSTIN, Texas — With more people in Central Texas looking for low-cost living and a simpler way of life, many are choosing to live tiny. TinyFest was held at Pioneer Farms on Sunday.

"TinyFest is a big celebration of tiny living,” said Renee McLaughlin, the CEO of Tinyfest.

From tiny homes with folding beds to tiny homes with rooftops, people here in Central Texas are more and more buying into this simple way of life, especially because finding an affordable place to live is a challenge.

"Austin is such a trending spot, a very popular place to be. New ideas are happening in Austin,” shared McLaughlin. “And, honestly, we're having a bit of a housing crisis here in Austin, too. So tiny houses are a solution that we feel this community needs"

"Austin is great. I love living here. Who doesn't? But it's just super expensive,” said Miguel Vasquez, founder and designer of Waterloo Tiny Homes. “People are hurting financially and they're looking for solutions."

Austin-based company Waterloo Tiny Homes says its houses range from $80,000 to $100,000, and all sorts of people are looking into these options.

“I get a lot of interest from millennials and, of course, older generations,” explained Vasquez. “You know, they've lived their life. They've had their kids. They just need something, you know, ground level, simple, like a little studio. So really, it's from college kids all the way up to grandma and grandpa.”

There are also tiny communities, like Village Farm in Austin. More tiny home communities are coming too, like one being built by Casata Corporation in South Austin. Some of the tiny homes, like those made by The Folding Project, are used for situations where people need shelter, like those experiencing homelessness.

“Well, if you look at a lot of them, we have the tents everywhere,” said Travis Zieman, with The Folding Project. “This now puts them in a place where they can rest. We've talked to a couple of homeless and their like, ‘Man, if I had a place, it would help me get back on my feet.’”

Whether people are going tiny to save money or for flexibility, it's safe to say they have a lot of choices and are part of a growing trend.

"I've got so many clients that have sold their home and this is where they're heading, they're going to go tiny,” said Lindsay Wood, the Tiny Home Industry Association outreach director and CEO and founder of Experience Tiny Homes, which creates webinars and trainings for people who want to build their own tiny homes. “They don't need to live in the 3,000 to 4,000 square-foot home anymore. They've really taken stock of their life.”


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