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Ottawa Co. exploring microhomes as a way of dealing with housing shortage

File Photo: Microhome concept
Ottawa County Housing Commission
File Photo: Microhome concept

The housing commission is gauging interest in microhomes, buildings with a footprint of less than 1000 square feet, with high-quality design and construction

How would you feel about living in a microhome? Do you know exactly what that is? Those are questions the Ottawa County Housing Commission wants the community to answer as it explores new ways to meet critical housing needs, says Paul Sachs, Director of Strategic Impact.

“To look at how we construct one of these very practical, aesthetically vibrant microhomes for a price point of under $200,000”

A tall order for a tiny house when $400,000 is the average sale price of a home in Ottawa County, more than twice what most residents can afford. So the commission is gauging interest in microhomes – buildings with a footprint of less than 1000 square feet, with high-quality design and construction, largely for young professionals or aging seniors.

“The big equation is the profitability and what we’re hearing from builders lately is definitely interest in this housing type but there are some barriers to overcome.”

First, how to make such homes profitable for builders yet affordable for buyers without government grants and subsidies.

Second, overcoming misperceptions of what a microhome is, and isn’t.

“It may have a bad connotation in various areas because sometimes tiny homes - they’re often used for transitional housing for those overcoming homelessness.”

After exploring interest from the community, the commission will form a workgroup to look at potential issues such as costs, zoning, and profitability.

The Ottawa County Housing website has details about the Microhome Concept plus a survey to gauge residents’ interest.

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