The Tiny House Market: The Opportunities for Oregon Contractors

With a housing crunch sweeping much of the nation — not to mention uncertain economic times that have many people pinching pennies — plenty of would-be homebuyers are looking for an alternative. And many are finding it with micro houses.

Tiny houses, also called micro homes or micro houses, are exactly what they sound like: very small homes. But what micro houses lack in square footage, they can make up for in clever design, low maintenance and utility bills, and small carbon footprints. All told, people across the country are considering micro houses — including many Oregonians.

If you’re a contractor looking for a new market to explore, this is it. Here’s your quick-start guide to these houses, the market for them in Oregon, and how you can learn what you need to know to break into micro house construction. 

What is a tiny house?

It depends on who you ask. Generally speaking, though, most people seem to agree that a tiny house is anything under or around 500 to 600 square feet. Some micro houses are built on foundations, while many tiny homes are built on trailers, making them mobile. 

Ultimately, the primary defining characteristic of a micro house is its small size. But these houses aren’t just larger homes, shrunk down. Instead, they work to maximize the available space with creative solutions like furniture with built-in storage or sleeping lofts. 

If you want to get an idea of what micro houses are and how they can look, check out this roundup of eight examples

Are micro houses popular in Oregon?

Yes, and they’re becoming increasingly popular, too. 

Micro houses function well for the wide variety of Oregon lifestyles. In the city, where housing costs are high and space is hard to come by, micro houses give people the chance to put down roots without overextending their budgets.

In less populated parts of the state, tiny homes offer a way to have a place to shelter during Oregon’s infamous weather while still maximizing the available outdoor space. In such a beautiful state, it’s no surprise many people want to build on as little land as possible, leaving more natural beauty to enjoy. 

How can contractors break into the micro house market?

Because micro houses differ from standard houses in both form and function, working on them requires some specialized knowledge. Fortunately, you can use some of your Construction Contractors Board (CCB)-required continuing education hours to educate yourself on this topic, and you can go to this link for a list of CE courses to help you keep your CCB license current.

For example, you could get two hours of CE credit with this online, on-demand micro house course. Or, if you’re in your first six years of licensure and you need 13 hours of CE (plus the three CCB-taught hours), you could choose this 13-Hour CCB Residential Contractor CE: Hot Topics & Best Practices course, which features a section on micro houses.

All told, you shouldn’t have to go too far out of your way to learn about micro houses, nor should you have to put free time toward it. Instead, you can use the CE hours you’re already required to take to get educated about this increasingly popular type of construction.