New tiny-house community planned for downtown Reno
A community of 10 miniature homes in downtown Reno is in the planning stages. The developers said HGTV's "Tiny House Hunters" wants to feature them when they are completed in summer 2017.
"Living in a tiny house was some of the happiest times of our lives," said Pamela Haberman, one of the developers. "It's so liberating."
Kelly Rae and Haberman build residential and commercial buildings under the name HabeRae. They said demand for small houses continues to rise as people shed their "stuff" to live a simpler life and spend less money. In the past, Rae and Haberman lived in a tiny house together while they developed properties and lacked the cash to buy a larger home.
The Tiny Ten
They've built several other tiny houses throughout Midtown and downtown Reno, too. Tiny Ten would be a larger, but not too big, planned community with 10, two-story, two-bedroom, one-bathroom houses ranging from 650 to 684 square feet on Ryland Street and Wells Avenue.
"It's a glove house because it fits like a glove," Rae said.
All the houses would face the center of the community's grass areas and water feature. Each house will also include a detached one-car garage. HabeRae plans to use contemporary materials, such as engineered stone and hardwood, for construction and interior design. Each house would feature a full bathroom and medium-sized kitchen and living area. They even added a tiny backyard for pets.
Recently, "tiny house" became an alternative affordable housing option for the poor and homeless. Those houses tend to be smaller than 400 square feet and made of cheaper materials. Many of them also sit on wheels, classifying them as a recreational vehicle or trailer and not a single-family home.
But the Tiny Ten are not that. Rae and Haberman said they want to help change city ordinances to allow for smaller, affordable tiny houses without wheels, since it's not currently allowed.
The price tag
For now, they said they will sell the Tiny Ten houses for the "low $200,000s" with the goal of making a mortgage payment lower than the current rent for an apartment of the same size.
The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the same area of town is $825 per month, according to a survey by Johnson Perkins Griffin real estate consultants. If one of the Tiny Ten houses costs $225,000, the principal and interest payments after making a 10 percent down payment would cost less than renting a similarly sized apartment unit, according to an RGJ analysis.
"There are zero new houses in the urban core for the low ($200,000s)," Rae said.
The most recently completed single-family homes in Midtown sold for more than $400,000 or more. But those were all more than 1,700 square feet.
Rae and Haberman said they hope to break ground by December and complete the community by June 1, 2017. In the meantime, they are also working on renovating an abandoned Salvation Army building into apartments. They also purchased 888 Willow St. and talked about converting it into two-story apartments, too.