Raleigh looking to tiny homes to help solve a big housing problem

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh is looking to tiny homes to help solve a big problem in the city, affordable housing.

Tiny homes are not currently allowed, but the Raleigh City Council is looking at allowing smaller homes, up to 600 square feet, to be built. The planning committee recommended the council approve the change.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said diversifying housing makes it more affordable.

“What we’ve tried to do is really look at housing choice, giving people different choices,” Baldwin said. “Not everybody could afford a 2,500 square foot home, or a 4,000 square foot home, not everybody wants to live in a home that size.”

Tuesday is the next step in the process. The city council will set a date for a public hearing for mid-November or early December at which time it will vote on the issue.

Peter Chachaj is a tiny homeowner in Wake County and founder of Tiny Living NC. He said he and his wife and their dog have all the amenities they need in their 294 square foot tiny home.

He built his tiny home about three years ago, to save money and do away with unneeded space.

Appliances like a washer/dryer in one, a specially sized microwave, and storage under the stairs help with space. Chachaj has a living room, kitchen, one bathroom, and one bedroom with a queen-sized bed.

“I love everything about it, whether it be the low cost of it, the low maintenance of it, I can clean this house in probably, if I did it quick, it’d probably be 15 minutes,” Chachaj said.

Chachaj said his house cost about $55,000 to build and saves him about $1,000 a month.

NC Housing Coalition executive director Samuel Gunter said tiny homes are a piece of the puzzle in the affordable housing crisis.

“This is something that could be incredibly helpful because what you need is a diversity of housing types,” Gunter said.

He said allowing tiny homes, however, is not the same as building affordable housing.

“This isn’t building housing for folks at low incomes, this is building housing options that increases our supply in a market that is in desperate need of more supply,” Gunter said.

He said the smaller homes can relieve pressure across the market, which hopefully allows prices to go down.

Raleigh currently allows tiny homes as accessory dwelling units on existing properties.

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