Tiny homes: Q&A: Derek Huegel, owner of Wolf Industries

CRBJ talks with an advocate for ‘tiny houses’

Published on July 27, 2018 4:04PM

One of two tiny homes at 1510 and 1514 259th Place in Ocean Park. “With housing costs skyrocketing, people are looking for an alternative way to live,” said Derek Huegel, owner of Wolf Industries. The homes range from $50,000 to $80,000 and generally take five weeks to build.

LUKE WHITTAKER

One of two tiny homes at 1510 and 1514 259th Place in Ocean Park. “With housing costs skyrocketing, people are looking for an alternative way to live,” said Derek Huegel, owner of Wolf Industries. The homes range from $50,000 to $80,000 and generally take five weeks to build.

Buy this photo
Derek Huegel
Derek Huegel is the owner and president of Wolf Industries Inc., a tiny home builder based in Battle Ground, Washington.

LUKE WHITTAKER

Derek Huegel Derek Huegel is the owner and president of Wolf Industries Inc., a tiny home builder based in Battle Ground, Washington.


Has there been a demand in Pacific or Clatsop County seeking your services for tiny homes?

“Yes, the demand is very strong. The newness of what we bring to the market is actually causing people to stop and ponder: Do I really need a large house with all the associated costs that go along with that? We’ll reach a point where it will be difficult to keep up with demand.”

What is the primary force behind the demand for tiny homes?

“With housing costs skyrocketing, people are looking for an alternative way to live but like giving a piece of candy to a child, modern luxury conveniences are hard to take back away from them. So what our tiny homes do are blend both of these ideals together. High quality inside a small space, thus allowing more benefits than originally thought about. Less time cleaning, less upkeep and maintenance, less overall hassle, etc. Then blend in the mix of the TV shows and the promoting that they do, this quickly becomes viral.”

Have you delivered any tiny homes to Pacific or Clatsop County?

“Yes, two in Ocean Park at 1510 and 1514 259th Place. We currently build all of our homes offsite in Battle Ground, Washington. When they’re finished, we haul them via a large truck and large trailer to the site.”

How strong is the demand on the coast relative to other places?

“I feel the demand on the coast is equal to other places — you can get a beach home for about $150,000 or $400/month, which can easily pay for itself if you rent it out for any period of time.”

Like other small towns along the coast, there is a housing shortage here. How could tiny homes help alleviate the problem?

“These tiny modular homes meet that demand with quality, creativity and cleverness, certainly not brawn and sheer size. At prices starting at $50,000, you can get a home for virtually any budget.”

What is the price range for your tiny homes?

“The house itself starts off at $50K and goes up to $80K. And then you have the foundation, septic, water, other improvements, driveways, power, etc.

How long does it typically take to have one constructed?

“The fastest we’ve built here in the shop is nine business days. We typically take four to five weeks. We keep five or six being worked on at any given time.”

Who are your customers? (Is there a particular demographic you’re targeting?)

“In general, it is the emerging and aging markets targeted through middle-aged women, who are trying to solve the problems of the younger and older generation.”

What’s the biggest misconception regarding tiny homes?

“That they’re not legal. We’ve busted that myth by getting set up through Labor and Industries up in Olympia and they inspect our homes at each phase of construction here at our shop as if they’re a conventional home being built onsite. That way, when they get to the site, the local building official will know to what code and specifications that particular home was built.”

What do you feel is the future for the industry?

“The market is just starting into the early growth/adoption phase. With tight land use laws and restrictive urban growth boundaries, we’re going to see values on homes continue to rise, not because of demand out pacing supply but rather an artificial restriction on supply as alluded to before. If you look at Vancouver, B.C., our neighbor to the north, their values of the average home is above $1.5 milion,l and in order to even help pay for a home, they must have these small [units] in the backyards to help pay the mortgage.”



Marketplace

Share and Discuss

Guidelines

User Comments