Tiny homes and multi-generational households helping residents save on housing costs

After losing his larger house in Hurricane Ian, Mark Wildman made a big decision to go smaller.

He moved into Escape Tampa Bay Village, a tiny home community in Thonotosassa.

"My house that I had in Fort Myers was about 1,800 square feet. Now, this home right here is 262 square feet. I still have a full size bathroom with a full size tub, shower," explained Wildman. "Everything else, even has the washer dryer combo inside the bathroom. It's got a door for privacy. If people come over, I have a full size bedroom with a queen-sized bed, door that also closes. I have three closets. I've got a full size kitchen, full size refrigerator, freezer." 

His cost of living has gone down too. 

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"You know, the cost of just rent, especially in the Tampa area, can push several thousand dollars a month, which is just to me, just a crazy waste of money. This home that I got right here was $55,000," said Wildman.

As the cost of rent rises in the Tampa Bay area, some are deciding to downsize.

David Peterson, the Development Director, manages the property.

"We've fallen into the tiny house category. We are actually a licensed RV builder," said Peterson.

He said this has become an appealing option for those looking for affordable homes in Florida, which has become a bit of a holy grail.

"People are starting to really love the idea of not paying for stuff that they don't need. I've met people from Texas to New York to California. They are very interested in downsizing and moving into areas like this," explained Peterson. "The payments and the lot rent actually is cheaper than renting. Our electric bills are from about $30 to maybe $40."

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Some are choosing to go bigger and save by pooling people and money together for multi-generational homes.

Residents are sometimes choosing to pool resources and live in multi-generational homes.

"So multigenerational homes can come at all different price points. It depends really on what you want. A lot of the lower priced multi-generational homes would just be homes that are either split floor plans where you have bedrooms on two sides of the house where people can have a little privacy," shared Melanie Atkinson, a realtor with Smith & Associates.

It can be a living situation similar to the classic TV show "The Golden Girls."

"I think the Golden Girls way of life is becoming more and more accepted. 18% of Americans now live in multi-generational households which is four times the amount of people that did that just 40 years ago in the early 1970s. Because prices have gotten really high in real estate the pooling together of financial resources has become really important," said Atkinson.

And, so has finding the right place to call home.

"I don't need a whole house. I can wash, clean, dry the whole house in 10 minutes. It’s wonderful," shared Wildman.