Tiny homes in San Antonio

7 Replies

My husband and I just got back from meeting with a developer in San Antonio, TX, named Peter French. He has done a ton of work in San Antonio, with his latest news coverage being around his Risingbarn.com project of tiny homes for affordable housing. He also does commercial and custom project tiny homes. He also tries to minimize waste when building and keeps building time low by using templated floor plans and each home is equipped to be 100% solar power reliant. Amazing stuff. For all of you local SA folks- what is your sentiment around these tiny homes? Good or bad for the community and neighborhoods?

Have you heard the phrase, "Everything is bigger in Texas"? lol

Personally my wife and I are moving UP to 1900 sf in a few months. I think there is a fringe group that is looking for the tiny house, but it is definitely NOT mainstream. Most people equate bigger with better. Most do not realize that you will be cooling less square footage and will have less to clean AND a lower tax bill with a smaller house. Most friends and family have much larger homes. 

There is so much space and it seems people want to take up as much space as possible. Gas is so cheap that people keep moving out farther and farther to build bigger and bigger homes. NOT my thoughts, just my observations.

@Jessica Chow

It is an interesting concept to me. Looks to be a great option for first time home buyers with small families, or just starting out. Also, the affordability of a tiny home itself coupled with solar power is awesome! People could afford upper scale finishes and materials for a home this size.

Is he planning to build communities/ subdivisions of these homes or build to order?

@Jessica Chow That would only be popular around downtown where the millennial and "hippie" population is greatest. San Antonio is known for having big homes at low prices. That is a trend, and like most trends they die. This isn't like California or NY where that would work due to limited space and expensive cost of living. I would personally stay away from developments like that. I hate to make assumptions but California investors are known for not being wise when investing here in SA. He may have his heart in the right place but that is a very specific niche and if you do go through with it you need to REALLY DO SOME DUE DILIGENCE. DO NOT ASSUME. I personally would stay away from that, but that is just my 2 cents. Whatever you do please do your due diligence, and really drive the area here and get to know the neighborhoods before you purchase or build. Feel free to reach out next time you are in SA! 

@Jessica Chow   Peter does great stuff.  The large scale commercial development he does at Grey Street Partners certainly has a positive impact on San Antonio.  Rising barn is a great concept, but kinda a niche market.  They have couple cool projects in Dignowity Hill, and a pre-fab structure at Broadway News ( camerarenting.com), but most of their stuff is one-offs out in the Hill Country.    

While I like the idea of tiny houses, I don't think San Antonio is the best market for it.  They are much better suited in Austin, where real estate prices are so crazy that one can benefit from the cost savings of a tiny home.  Here in San Antonio, you can still buy a regular sized home for less than the price of some of the Rising Barn tiny homes.  This means your buyer pool is limited to people that really want a tiny home and care about the environmental impact reduction their building process has.

@Rick Pozos and @Michael Guzik - Thanks for your POV. I definitely thought about those things as well (everything really IS bigger and also, what areas would attract more people to live or rent a tiny home). We actually were just in San Antonio to drive around different areas, and decided to focus on the up and coming/hipster areas, like Tobin, Government, and Dignowty hill. 

@Brandon Miller - He does both communities and single homes, with his ideal being a community. He's just finishing up on a community of about 6, and he's done individual homes as well. If we can find a piece of land in an attractive area for tourists, we are thinking of doing just one tiny home there to test it out.

@Seth - Totally hear you on Austin, but I'm finding even Austin is a bit expensive for land, even. Something for me to weigh! 

Thanks everyone for their input!

@Jessica Chow

I would encourage you to look into the New Braunfels area if interested in tourist locations. The river and lake are huge weekend and summer get away spots. I think something like this would be a hit for air bnb renters on the weekends.