In fifth grade, Mckean Matson recalls, she and a friend wanted to build a fort in the backyard of her parents’ home in College Station, Texas. They put his swing and slide together, but then his father came up to them and said, “Why don’t we build a fort?” Little did she know the 350 square foot result would later become her home for five years, delaying her trip to the housing market.
After living in a dorm during her freshman year of college, Matson’s parents gave her two options: She could either rent a place of her own or live in the “little house” in their backyard rent-free for as long. that she needed it. “It felt like you could be on your own, but when you’re ready you can move,” Matson said. Fortune. Looking back, she says, “I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
Courtesy of Mckean Matson
Over the next five years, Matson lived in the backyard fort and gained nearly 100,000 followers. on TikTok, where she posted content about housing and the “little life”. She says she gets tons of messages from her followers asking for advice, and many of them are young adults looking to save money in a historically unaffordable housing market. Some even asked for plans to replicate his house for themselves.
It’s hard to put a figure on how much Matson saved, but the average rent for all rooms and all property types at College Station is $1,800 per Zillow. She says her friends typically pay around $800 a month for a room in a shared apartment, which equates to $48,000 over a five-year period. A studio comparable to Matson’s tiny house would be closer to $1,200, meaning she could have saved up to $72,000 over those five years. She also eats her mom’s home-cooked meals every day, Matson says, so she’s been saving on food, too.
The savings go a little further than that too.
She recalls that it took her and her father about eight months to turn the fort into her little home. They did everything themselves except the granite countertops. Her parents paid for everything, from building costs to furnishing (she says there wasn’t much to furnish because it’s so small). Matson said she thought it cost them less than $100,000.
Courtesy of Mckean Matson
And now it has helped her buy her own house.
Growing up, Matson said she always saw her father build everything by hand. He owns a hardwood flooring business, and that’s where she currently works, earning around $60,000 a year. Just two months ago, she closed a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home 10 minutes from her parents.
“That’s a lot for one person,” she says, especially since she used to live in a 350-square-foot house and now lives in a 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. baths. Matson says she bet 3% (about $7,500) on her new $250,000 home. With a 30-year fixed rate of 6.87%, her monthly mortgage payment is over $2,000, which she says is “insane.” THE average home value at College Station is just over $325,600, a 6.4% increase over last year, according to Zillow.
Matson’s experience is not an anomaly – adults are increasingly moving in with their parents over the past five decades, 2022 study finds report from the Pew Research Center. After the start of the pandemic, 2020 was the first time since the Great Depression that more than half of all Americans under 29 lived with their parents, and most said their motivation was to save money. As home prices rose more than 40% nationally during the pandemic housing boom, and continue to rise in some markets, many young adults are priced out of control and have no choice but to live with their family.
Young people who live with their parents typically live inside their parents’ home, but arrangements like Matson’s are becoming more common. Two professors of architecture at the University of Miami have recommended for Matson’s style of housing, also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU. However, the city of Huntington Beach attempted to ban ADUs, but reversed that ban after the state of California filed a complaint against the city.
“If I had to rent, I never could have bought a house,” Matson said. “I don’t think I would have (been) able to buy for another five to seven years.”
Whether interest rates had not climbed since their pandemic lows with house prices, it could have been a different story, Matson added, given that she doesn’t absolutely love the house she just bought, but thought it was a good investment. Either way, she says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of her parents.
“My parents didn’t grow up with a lot of money, they started with nothing and paid cash to have their whole house built,” Matson said. “They didn’t want me to have to go through that, so they wanted to trap me.”
Matson says she loved everything about the process of building the tiny house with her dad, including choosing paint colors and scrolling pinterest for inspiration. Downstairs, Matson says, there’s a loveseat, two bar stools in front of his counter, and a narrow refrigerator designed for smaller homes. Upstairs there is a double bed, chest of drawers, clothes rack and hardly any storage space.
But of course, it’s called a tiny house for a reason: it’s small. In one of the Matsons TikTok Videos, you can see a big bundle takes up the entire living room and kitchen, while Matson says not putting away your laundry for a day means not being able to walk anywhere or do anything. Overall, she said it was “no big deal” living in her parents’ backyard, although she said hosting girls’ nights out was quite difficult in such a small house.
Courtesy of Mckean Matson
Now that she’s in the process of moving, she’s cutting back on expenses by buying second-hand furniture to fill her new home — small life hasn’t prepared her for expensive furniture, she says. Although life is getting more expensive, she says she is happy to have taken this step.
“I felt like I was 24, at some point I had to leave my parents’ garden,” Matson said. Still, she added that she had told her parents that she would one day return to live in a family compound, where she might not be as physically close to them as her previous situation, but would at least be surrounded by his family, which Matson really appreciates.
As for his little house? He will soon have a new tenant: his 22-year-old brother, accompanied by his wife.