It’s no secret the American economy isn’t what it used to be. Since 2008, the country has been in palpable nosedive. Though politicians insist things are getting better, many citizens think otherwise. Numbers are hard to parse because they’re filtered through multiple echelons of media before they get to the common people. How do you know the truth?

Watch the trends. When large droves of people are doing one thing or another, it’s an indication of existing conditions. Right now, millennials are unable to make the same kind of income the previous generation has been able to. It’s not strictly because millennials are lazy or unable. Many economic indicators have imposed limitations.

Consider the housing market, for instance. Property values have been declining even as mortgages have been increasing, meaning that investment in such a property is a losing venture. If you invest in a $250,000 property, by the end of it value may be as low as $150,000; meaning you really spent $350,000 on it.

In a situation like that, it’s almost better to just rent. Millennials understand this; but technology has afforded them some opportunity that is just beginning to take traction. One aspect of this is the mobile revolution.

Is It the Sixties Again?

Millennials are living in RVs, vans, buses, motorhomes, and trailers in a way very similar to the sixties in America. It makes sense. If you install a solar panel (which can be done for around $400), you can run your computer, charge your cell phone, and have a little portable router connected simultaneously. If you park in the right area, you can even keep the charge well into the night-possibly throughout it.

The cost for daily operation? Around $10 for gas, $10 for food, $10 for extraneous expenses. That’s $30 a day, or $900 a month. Include the occasional repair, you’re looking at about $1,000 a month. Most apartments are in that neighborhood throughout the nation; but you don’t own those, and they’re not mobile.

Another Expression of the Same Phenomenon

The Tiny Home is also becoming very popular for similar reasons. Between Detroit and San Francisco, property value is going to fluctuate wildly. But in the highest echelons of the country, you’re not going to find property much higher than $700 per square foot, or much lower than $12 per square foot.

For $100 per square foot, $60,000 buys you 600 square feet. If you install a tiny home for under $10k, you can have a piece of real estate whose value remains relatively constant, and whose cost can be absorbed within three years at income levels as low as $25k/year.

For inexpensive housing solutions, some millennials are turning to the prefab garage; which makes sense! According to Fidelity Steel, “If you’re looking for…garages, storage spaces, barns, airplane hangars, etc., then prefabricated metal buildings are right up your alley.” Provided your local housing legislation isn’t against such a measure, such structures can make very cost-effective homes.

Consider the P-Model. This building comes in two sizes: thirty foot, or fourteen foot. That’s the width, you understand; the length is your discretion. Fourteen by ten is 140 square feet of space. That’s the size of a short C-class motorhome. You could make that a tiny home, or a tiny business. Millennials are doing just this thing today, because conventional real estate’s wild fluctuation is so exclusive.

From RVs to the tiny home, millennial sensibilities are quickly changing the culture and atmosphere of the country. It’s evident that the nation is at a decision point, and the future will certainly look different than anyone imagined.