Industry observers are asking if Amazon could be about to step up its involvement in the real estate industry, after seeing huge interest in the home kits it sells on its retail site.
The prefabricated, modular home, and tiny-home offerings, which come with free shipping, are built in factories and are priced at between $5,000 and $65,000, and often sell out in just a few hours, HousingWire reported. For example, a 172-square-foot, $7,250 prefab cabin that went viral sold out soon after it was listed on Amazon. The house ships for free and is touted as being able to be built in just eight hours. It’s being promoted as an “ideal home office or guest house.”
Amazon sells other homes on its website too, some of which are marketed as full-time residences.
“I’m not surprised to see this, as selling these homes online presents a new level of opportunity for the retailer to reach consumers who are outside of their local area,” Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, told MarketWatch.
Amazon is entering the prefab and modular housing industry at a time when it’s seeing significant growth. According to IBISWorld, revenue in the industry grew 8.6% from 2013 to 2018, posting a 4.1% increase in 2018 alone.
“Whether it’s prefab or some other solution, there is a huge appetite for alternatives to traditional housing,” Chris Schapdick, author of The Joy of Tiny House Living, told HousingWire. “This trend is driven by a number of factors, including affordability and a general frustration with traditional pathways to creating extra or primary living space. The innovation and array of options is only going to increase since more people are exploring ways to live that don’t cost as much as what the housing market has on offer.”