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Tiny, affordable Tempe housing community almost finished

13 tiny houses in Tempe are almost finished, giving more affordable options.

TEMPE, Ariz. — When Aricely Peralta signed the papers, she celebrated. She was finally on her way to being a homeowner. 

"I was so excited," Peralta said. 

Her new house is not a mansion. It's only 600 square feet with a loft bedroom. But without the option to buy a tiny house, Peralta could not have afforded a place of her own. 

"It's difficult right now to find something that's affordable," Peralta said, standing in the middle of what will soon be her new neighborhood. 

Tempe Micro Estates will be a collection of 13 tiny homes clustered around a central community garden. There will be a slightly larger community building that will have a kitchen and game room, as well as community laundry and mailboxes.

"It's just me and my dog," Peralta said. "So, yeah, it's small...but I get to save up."

The houses at Tempe Micro Estates start at around $170,000. That's about half the average cost of a house in the Phoenix Metro area. And over the past two years, housing prices have skyrocketed even higher, making tiny houses like these ones of the few affordable options left.

"It's really been overwhelming," project manager David Crummey said. "If you want to buy a brand-new energy-efficient house in Arizona, you have to buy a 2,000 square foot house out on the edge of town."

Crummey said only seven of the homes have been sold, although there has been tremendous interest from investors who want to rent them to college students. But Crummey said that's not going to happen. 

"This is a prototype for those types of houses," Crummey said. "We're definitely taking a lot of great lessons from here to be able to do the next project."

Even unsold, all the houses are being built at the same time. Right now they've all been framed, with plywood walls and roofs. 

And the entire project should be finished by the end of August, Crummey said. 

And Peralta will finally be home. 

"It's been really fun seeing it coming up," she said. 

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