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Popularity of tiny homes on the rise

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CHARLOTTE—The Tiny House Movement is gaining popularity in the Tar Heel state and across the country.

This is a social movement where people are downsizing the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, while the typical small or tiny house is around 100-400 square feet.

Tiny homes come in all shapes, sizes and forms but they focus on smaller spaces and simplified living.

"The word is growing, the movement is spreading. It's just gonna get bigger and bigger,” said Graham Wales, East Coast Tiny Homes.

People are joining this movement for many reasons. The most known reasons are:

• Environmental concerns

• Financial problems

• Seeking more time and freedom

“Tiny homes are absolutely an extreme. It's a radical shift and we don't think it's for everyone," said Ryan Mitchell, of

Mitchell became intrigued by the idea of a condensed living space five years ago after he lost his job, so he decided to sponsor the Tiny House Conference in Charlotte in 2014.

Mitchell has now found another way to cater to the Tiny Movement crowd. He runs website which chronicles his efforts to build his own structure and provides tips and resources for others.

"It's doable, you know, and it's all about a lifestyle change and a shift in what's important in your life," said Teal Brown, Wishbone Tiny Homes.

Plenty of others have discovered tiny houses and there are an estimated 4,000 of them now in the U.S.

"I looked at my budget and I realized that housing was a lot of that cost and that's when I found tiny houses," said Mitchell.

The interest is definitely growing in the Carolinas.

"North Carolina in general is really kind of raised, rising to the occasion and creating some great companies," said Brown.

Wishbone Tiny Homes in Asheville is one of those companies.

"There's a million different applications for a tiny home and we absolutely think there's a market for, to support it," said Brown.

Companies are finding that a segment of society is rejecting the notion that bigger and more is better.

"People get sick of it and they downsize and have more time and money to devote to other things that really, truly enrich their lives," said Wales.

There are challenges when adopting a tiny house lifestyle, but there are plenty of individuals who calculate that the advantages outweigh any downside.

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