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July 18, 2008 6:31 PM

The Dream of Cottage Housing

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

The Wall Street Journal’s article on cottage housing, here, datelined Kirkland, talks about a the idea of 1,100-square-foot houses—places that are “half the size of the average U.S. home and cost a lot more per square foot.” A small footprint saves energy and operating costs, and it forces you to live with less stuff. I know about that; I lived in Hong Kong in a 926-square foot apartment. Every time I was tempted to buy something bulky, I had to imagine where I was going to put it, or what I was going to throw away to make room for it. It is a different lifestyle, and will never appeal to most Americans, but will appeal to some. If builders can build small houses, people will buy them if they’re not too expensive. The article prices one at $600,000, which undercuts the idea of this as a mass-market product.

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July 2008