5 Alternative Housing Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

It’s a fact that many parts of the U.S. are experiencing an affordable housing crisis. For most people, housing is one of the largest fixed expenses. When you think about the cost of housing, you can’t just consider your mortgage or rent. You must also add up the price for insurance and utilities and in some cases, property taxes and repairs.

Some of these cheap housing solutions can reduce your living costs considerably and in many different ways. If you’re deciding to downsize or simply find an affordable place to live, you may want to consider these affordable housing ideas.

First, do you live in one of the country’s least affordable cities:


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  • California tops the list with San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
  • Many people assume that New York City would make this list, but more affordable living in the Bronx and Staten keep average housing costs down somewhat.
  • Some affordable urban areas in the U.S. include Kansas City, Buffalo, & Cleveland.

These housing affordability rankings come from a CNN Money article that rated cities with an affordable housing index. Hong Kong ranked the least affordable with a score of 19; in contrast, San Jose ranked 9.7.

The Big List of Affordable and Alternative Housing Ideas

Portable Housing

These days, there are several portable housing alternatives that are attracting attention. One of the most traditional and common is a full-time RV lifestyle. However, there are also mobile tiny homes, yurts, boats, and a number of other options to consider. Of course, the advantages of living in a portable and mobile dwelling is mobility and typically, lower costs.

The disadvantages of mobile homes may include the lack of a permanent address and some inconveniences. For example, many people who live in RVs say that it’s tough to find a place to do laundry and deal with dirty clothes. On the other hand, there are plenty of RV or mobile home communities that supply these as amenities, so these problems aren’t overwhelming.

Living in a Hotel

There are residential hotels that offer monthly rates at steep discounts over daily room rates. It might be possible to live in a hotel for $1,200 a month or even less in some areas. One advantage of hotel living is that utilities and even cleaning are included in the price. This might also be a good solution for people who have lost their homes and don’t have credit that is good enough to buy a house or even rent an apartment. Hotel living isn’t for everybody, but even some fairly wealthy people like the lifestyle.

Co-Living

Co-living has evolved into many different forms these days.It could include everything from simply chipping in for household expenses in exchange for a room to setting up a formal arrangement with multiple families in one house.

Of course, multi-generational housing is an old idea that is coming back into fashion these days.This arrangement may include children, parents, and grandparents all living in the same house. It may help the homeowners with living expenses and give the other folks in the arrangement time to get their finances in order. In some cases, it is a permanent or temporary arrangement.

Many homeowners are willing to rent our rooms in order to help with their own living costs, and you might be able to find some good offers in Craigslist or other classified advertising sources. Shared rents, mortgages, and utilities can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month.

Jobs With Housing

This is most associated with colleges and universities. Residential advisers and instructors may be offered college housing while they are employed at a school. If you do have an RV or another form of mobile housing, you may consider camper workforce jobs. These employers usually provide a site for your mobile home, and they may also include utilities.

Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing for seniors is common, but you can also find low-income housing for families and adults. To learn more, you might start with the HUD public housing portal. A better way to find local options might be to simply use a major search engine to search for low-income housing options in your own city, town, or local area.


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