What are tiny homes? The definition of a tiny house is one that is 400 square feet (37 square m) or less in floor area, excluding lofts. If you’re wondering how big that is, the average new home and apartment size in Australia is now at 189.8m2 – so a tiny house is about one-fifth that size.
What are tiny homes and why do they exist?
The tiny house movement kicked off in the US in the late 2000s as a reaction to an economy that meant many people couldn’t afford to own their own home. Tiny houses made that affordable for many.
How many are there in Australia?
Only some hundreds probably, as legislation around tiny houses is still largely in the pipeline and so many people are hesitant to build a house without knowing the laws around it. However, the shortage of affordable housing in cities like Melbourne and Sydney mean they will almost certainly be a thing in the not-too-distant future.
What are the upsides to tiny homes?
They’re cheap, meaning you can get your own place for a fraction of the cost of a traditional home. They are mobile, meaning you can move to a different location whenever the mood strikes (this of course, also brings its own red tape with it). They’re very green as it’s possible to live off the grid in a tiny house. And they force you to declutter (no need for Marie Kondo in tiny homes).
So what are the downsides?
They may be a way of getting your foot onto the housing ladder but they don’t really offer the same benefits when it comes to selling and moving on. Tiny houses depreciate in value over time, unlike most traditional homes which – over the long term – can be expected to grow in value. Also, most tiny homes are on wheels and this can make some inhabitants feel ‘groundless’ and ‘fragile’. Because they are not fixed to the ground, they are also susceptible to being stolen. And finally, unless you are extremely ruthless with possessions, it’s very hard for most adults to fit all their possessions into a tiny home. As a result, many tiny home dwellers end up renting storage space as well, which may defeat the purpose of living in a tiny home.