Tiny House Movement Grows in Australia.
Article written by Erina Starkey for The Daily Telegraph.
Size isn’t everything, as anyone who owns a tiny house will tell you.
In a country where our homes are among the biggest and most expensive in the world, many have found happiness and financial freedom by simply readjusting the scale.
One such person is Darren Hughes, founder of the online community "Tiny Houses Australia" who, along with his partner Lisa, is about to build their very own 22.5 sq m tiny house on a trailer. In preparation for this, the couple spent a year living in a 5m-long 1974 vintage caravan to test out whether they could in fact live tiny "and not want to kill each other in the process”.
While living in such close quarters can certainly pose a challenge, there are many advantages that come with living the tiny life.
“Affordability is probably the biggest drawcard,” Darren says.
With a large number of young people effectively locked out of the housing market, tiny houses present an opportunity to get a foot on the stepladder.
“Depending on how much of the work you do yourself versus how much you contract out, a tiny house can cost anywhere from $15,000 — $150,000, a far cry from the $695,000 average house price that Australians are now facing,” Darren says.
Substantial savings also extend across energy costs, plus you’ll spend less on homewares, simply because you’ll have nowhere to put them.
“Part of the appeal of the tiny house movement is the minimalist lifestyle,” Darren says.
“It’s a chance to shed all the things that you’ve never used or don’t really need, while having time and money for the things that really matter.”
More than just an affordable housing solution, many are drawn by the idea of simplifying their life and minimising their environmental footprint.
“There is a shift happening and many people are starting to question what life is really about. When they see a high-quality, well-designed tiny house and step inside, they soon realise that they could actually live in such a space,” Darren says.
“For those actually doing this, it is not a case of them ‘settling’, this isn’t a last resort. This is a conscious decision that people are taking, for a life they want to lead.”
And if you thought going tiny was just for the struggling first homebuyer, think again.
“The movement is attracting people from all walks of life, from young professionals who want to lead a more flexible lifestyle to empty nesters who are downsizing after their children have left home,” Darren says.
Tiny homes are particularly big with those looking to go “off the grid” and lead a more environmentally responsible lifestyle. In fact, many tiny houses are constructed from recycled or salvaged materials, while others contain eco-friendly features such as solar panels, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting and composting toilets.
While Darren knows of at least 100 tiny houses that are either finished or currently under construction, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
"I guarantee there are hundreds more being built around the country under the radar that no one even knows about," he says. "It certainly is a movement and we will be seeing many more tiny houses in the future."