British Columbia

$50K micro-home the ideal housing solution for B.C. couple

Katie Wintersgill and her boyfriend David Fehr quickly realized that they didn’t want to spend the rest of their lives tied to a mortgage. Instead, they’ve opted to live in a micro-home.

Owners say decision to move into a micro-home a direct reflection of sky-high housing market

Katie Wintersgill and David Fehr's micro-home measures 160 square feet at the base with an additional 50-square-foot bedroom. (Judy Kucharuk)

Katie Wintersgill said the first time she heard about micro-home living she thought it was a ridiculous concept. Now, she and her boyfriend David Fehr are the proud owners of a 160-square-foot home in Fort St. John.

"It was something that I had seen when we lived in our first apartment and it immediately caught my eye," she told CBC.

Wintersgill says before purchasing the micro-home, they initially bought a starter home and envisioned working their way up over time. However it quickly became clear to them that they weren't set on being stuck with a long-term mortgage.

"You start getting the bills and it's just not what you think it's going to be. We realized getting involved in the housing system was not something that we wanted to do."

Their house was custom built by an Albany, Oregon based company called Tiny SMART House. The couple then drove down to the U.S. to purchase the home and drive it back attached to their vehicle.

"It was weird to say I brought my home home," says Wintersgill.

$49,000 price tag for a long term solution

Wintersgill says they paid $49,000 US for their custom-built home. While she acknowledges it may be on the pricey side for a home of that size, she says it's a better option than any alternative.

"I know that sounds like a lot, but if you go to a dealership right now and look at a brand new RV, it would be bigger and flashier but you're going to spend the same amount for arguably lower quality if you're looking to live in it long term."

She also says she anticipates living in her new home for the rest of the foreseeable future.

Katie Wintersgill and David Fehr choose to buy a micro-home after being disillusioned by the housing market. (Judy Kucharuk)

"The idea is we'll live in it long-term, buy property, and set it up there to live in."

Micro-home a reflection of the housing market

According to Wintersgill, the growing popularity of micro-home living is a direct reflection of the high cost of living across the province.

"This idea that you have to work a 40-plus hour week away from a home to pay for a home you can't afford is such a backward logic.

"A lot of people have come into micro-homes for different reasons, from college students who are trying to handle tuition payments to retirees who can't justify paying the heat of a five-bedroom house when their kids are grown and gone."

"I like to think that not only are we doing a more [financially suitable] option, we're also doing our part to show people that there's something you can do differently."