- Elm Trails is a nearly finished tiny-home community near San Antonio.
- The 96-home community is halfway sold out, a representative of the developer told BI.
- But skeptics online are questioning whether a tiny home priced at over $140,000 is a fair deal.
A tiny-home community near San Antonio, Texas, is raising eyebrows for marketing pint-sized houses for over $140,000.
Elm Trails is the first tiny-home community built by Lennar, a home construction company based in Florida.
Rhonda Ober, a Lennar representative, told Business Insider that construction started eight months ago and is expected to be completed within a year.
Around half of the 96 homes in the community have already sold, Ober said. The success may come as a surprise given that local coverage of the project in the past few months has highlighted a debate over whether the price tags are too steep.
The controversy resurfaced on Tuesday after a Texas-based entertainment TikTok account shared a satirical real-estate tour of an Elm Trails property priced at upwards of $140,000.
Kicking off the video, which has over 213,000 views, the user said there have been plenty of jokes about Elm Trails and the people who have bought homes there.
“Personally, I’m not sure how you can make fun of somebody for investing in themselves and their future,” he says.
He then gives viewers a lackluster run-through of the small home before ending the video by saying: “Change of plans, we actually are going to make fun of people buying these.”
The video comes after Texas-based real-estate agent Billy Rojo, who goes by Billy the Realtor on TikTok, shared a serious tour of one of the properties in Elm Trails in November. At the time, the home was being marketed for $136,900.
In his TikTok, which has over 776,000 views as of Friday, Rojo described the tiny house as “the most affordable home in San Antonio, Texas.”
It’s safe to say that not everyone was convinced. “This home should never exceed 50k,” one skeptical user wrote.
“It’s basically a Home Depot shed,” another commented.
Despite the comments, Rojo told BI that he stands by his video. He also suggested that Elm Trails skeptics don’t know what a good property deal is in today’s housing market.
“It’s $1,000 a month. It’s very, very affordable compared to your average home right now,” Rojo said.
According to Realtor.com, the median listing price for a home in San Antonio is $300,000 — substantially more than the cost of an Elm Trails tiny home.
However, the website also reported that the median home price per square foot in San Antonio is $171. Rojo said the Elm Trails home he toured was 692 square feet, making the price per square foot roughly $198.
The cost of Elm Trails homes could also be considered steep compared to the average cost of a tiny home in the US. In 2023, Forbes reported that tiny-home prices averaged around $50,000.
Pricey or not, Lennar’s tiny-home venture appears to be a success with buyers. Ober told BI that only one floor plan (called the Henley) is still available for purchase in the community. According to the Lennar website, the starting price of the 661-square-foot home is $159,999.
Ober also said people from “all over” have expressed interest in buying in the community and that similar communities will likely be developed in other states Lennar operates in, such as South Carolina and Florida.
“This is the first of its kind,” Ober said. “Lennar San Antonio is very innovative about how they are thinking.”