Best Alternative Housing Ideas to Consider in 2022

Best Alternative Housing Ideas to Consider in 2022

Are you looking for an affordable housing option or an eco-friendly one? Then check out these alternative housing ideas for 2022!

Ever since the massive global economic crisis in 2008 that the housing market has never really recovered from, buying a house became more of an extreme sport rather than a rite of passage it once was. For more than a decade, millennials have been accused of preferring to rent their houses rather than buying them. But is that really so?

what are the best alternative housing ideas to consider in 2022

In reality, buying a house is out of reach for many millennials. The generation that graduated high school in the early 2000s and hit the job market just when it got the toughest yet (and only got progressively worse since) had to wade its way through a severe real estate crisis as well. 

That is why many millennials, still crippled with student loan debt, can’t really afford to buy a white picket fenced property to house their picture-perfect family of four.

That’s precisely why the words “alternative housing” have been on everyone’s lips these past few decades.

The Uprise of Alternative Housing Ideas

Unlike traditional housing, that’s practically been made unreachable to many, alternative housing is a good fit for anyone’s budget. It’s a different (more affordable) way of owning instead of just renting. Alternative housing options range from ADUs all the way to Earth Berms and tree houses. SO, there’s something for everyone.

With the affordable housing crisis hitting record highs, especially amid the pandemic, alternative housing is slowly but surely overtaking the idea of owning traditional homes.

The average price of a house in the US increased by 13% last year. That means that the average cost is now around $287,000. That isn’t something that low-income families (or even those who don’t fall into that bracket) can afford.

Alternative Housing Ideas

Alternative housing isn’t just an option for millennials who can’t afford to buy a home. The American Dream is no longer a viable option for younger generations, but the older ones are also ditching it. 

Baby Boomers that are now retired and are looking to downsize by cutting the unnecessary couple hundred square feet (and the maintenance costs that go with them) are looking into alternative housing as well. 

Overall, alternative housing can offer a cost-effective, eco-friendly way of owning property. It can also mean getting off of endless renting waiting lists and seeking rental assistance. Depending on which route you opt for, alternative housing can improve your quality of life, lower your carbon footprint, and provide you with a living space that’s functional (and small).

So, let’s see which alternative housing ideas are worth considering in 2022, shall we?

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

As we mentioned many times before, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are becoming increasingly popular. They are a fantastic way to make good use of your backyard space while also increasing property value

cedar adu unit

Of course, the most significant benefit of ADUs is that they are affordable. Not to mention, they also come with substantial tax benefits

Although the initial cost of building an ADU can be somewhat high, it’s an investment worthy of your time. An ADU is a fully functional home with separate amenities and a separate entrance from the main property. Because they reside next to single-family homes and don’t require that much space, they can be built in affluent neighborhoods. 

In other words, they are an ideal way for people who can’t afford the rent in densely populated, job-rich areas to actually reside in them. That’s one of the reasons why ADUs are as popular as they are in California. Considering that the average worker can barely afford rent in California, which is a massive part of the affordable housing issue, ADUs are a great alternative housing option for many. 

2. RVs

When the pandemic hit us, most of us were wildly unprepared. Staying inside, completely changing the way we live and work, and minimizing social contacts changed how we view and understand the concept of luxury. 

So, owning a huge house was no longer the dream of many. Instead, owning a home on wheels, like an adapted van or an RV, became what many dream about. 

Once vacation items, RVs now have a new title of luxury alternative housing options. 

3. Tiny Houses

Tiny houses, especially those that have an axel that means you can attach them to your vehicle and go on the road with them, have also become increasingly more popular during the pandemic. 

Although not as cost-effective or convenient as ADUs, tiny homes are a great alternative housing option. You don’t need as much to build them (both in terms of labor and building materials), and they are more affordable than RVs. 

4. Houseboats

Adapting a boat into a floating house is cost-effective. Owning such a house is much cheaper than owning one that’s on land because you:

  • don’t have to buy land to own a house
  • can source your own food (at least some of it)
  • don’t have to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars to actually own it


Like the RV option, owning a houseboat also gives you more freedom. It allows you to be a homeowner without making you tied to one spot. Traveling or simply relocating is always an option. 

At the same time, if you buy a houseboat, you instantly become a part of a vast, welcoming community. Having a community is no small benefit. Other houseboat owners will probably be more than willing to share tips and tricks with you.

5. Cob Houses

If you’re looking into alternative housing options because you want to be more environmentally conscious, then cob houses might be the option you’re looking for.

Arguably the most eco-friendly option on our list, a cob house is a house built of cob (yeah, no surprise there, right?). Cob is a mixture of various natural materials such as clay, straw, and sand mixed with water to become pliable. 

But it’s not just the fact that the materials are natural that makes these houses eco-friendly. Cob walls are naturally thermoregulatory. That means you won’t have to spend as much energy or heat or cool your cob home. 

Another great feature of cob houses is that cob is naturally fire-resistant. That might not be a huge benefit for many. But here in California, where people are working hard on building the best houses that are resistant to disaster, that’s a massive plus.

6. Silo Homes

Silo homes are an affordable alternative housing option. However, they require work. You will need to put a lot of work into making this dream a reality. But if you love rustic design and fixer-uppers, then silo homes might be for you. 

Dragging an old agricultural silo to your property and adapting it into a home might not sound like everyone’s idea of a good time. However, you can buy old silos for next to nothing. Thus, a silo house is a great way to save on building materials.

7. Fixer-Uppers

Many people are looking into alternative housing simply because they can’t afford to buy a new, traditional home. If you’re one of those people, then consider getting a fixer-upper. 

construction work with kid

How is that alternative, we hear you ask? Because you can get a house for next to nothing and adapt it to your own needs and desires. Of course, that won’t come cheap. However, if you have the time and energy (as well as the know-how), you can get a newly renovated house for a lot lower price than average.

Of course, since you probably aren’t a builder, you’ll still have to hire a construction crew (or at least a handyman) to help you with your fixer-upper. But, if you pick the right builder, you’ll still pay less than you would if you were getting or building a new house.

Cedar Dwellings — Eco-Friendly and Sustainable | Alternative Housing Ideas

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are the perfect alternative housing ideas for all generations. They provide millennials with a property of their own, which they’d be hard to come by in any other way. Furthermore, they are a great way for older generations to downsize or age in place. They are also a good source of extra income or just a way for you to extend your living space beyond your single-family home.

Overall, ADUs are:

  • affordable
  • environmentally friendly
  • a way to own property without compromising your lifestyle
  • a great way to live in densely populated areas (without paying an arm and a leg for rent)
  • excellent investments (especially for first-time investors)
  • ideal retirement plans

So, are you looking to build one or a few granny flats in your backyard? Do you want to increase your living space or offer housing assistance to friends, family members, or potential tenants? Then call Cedar Dwellings today! We’ll be more than happy to design and construct the perfect backyard cottage for you!