31 October 2021
Cute, efficient, affordable - the ins and outs of tiny homes
The idea of downsizing your lifestyle and your home can be alluring and intriguing. Here’s what you need to know before purchasing a tiny home in Australia.
If you spend any time on social media, chances are you’ve come across images of incredible tiny homes, as uniquely adorable as they are efficiently compact.
The tiny house movement which began in the USA is both architecturally and socially based. The size of what constitutes a tiny house varies from country to country. In Australia, tiny homes are defined as moveable dwellings less than 50m2 and grouped into three categories: on wheels, on skids or shipping containers.
The explosion of interest in tiny homes isn’t just about reducing the cost of building or the aesthetics of having a small but perfectly formed habitat, it is also about downsizing your lifestyle, embracing minimalism, living within your means and in some cases, becoming much more sustainable.
Companies building tiny homes are springing up right around Australia and are offering different options for would-be tiny home owners; a range of pre-designed styles, custom builds of your own design or they can provide you with a shell that you can get stuck into as a DIY project.
Even Swedish furniture company, Ikea, has begun making tiny houses but those models are not yet available in Australia. We have however put together a few options for homes that are available locally:
Perth company, Fox Tiny Homes has been making modular homes and granny flats for more than a decade but have turned their attention to tiny home builds to meet the growing interest. They have six pre-designed styles to choose from (all customisable) as well as pre-made shells which suit DIYers or those that want even more freedom of customisation.
Tiny Homes Tasmania repurposes shipping containers using interesting and affordable materials to create tiny homes that can be transported and easily placed on your land. Shipping container construction makes tiny homes even more affordable with styles ranging between $35,000 - $75,000.
NSW tiny home builder, Designer Eco Tiny Homes has a number of pre-designed styles to choose from with many feature variations available in those styles. Formerly an eco home builder, Designer Eco Tiny Homes switched their attention full-time to tiny homes in 2016 with the focus of making energy efficient, eco-friendly and affordable homes.
Another NSW builder, Hauslein Tiny House Co offers a range of four pre-designed styles. The price range varies on size and features but the 5m ‘Gunyah’ is priced at $89,100 and sleeps 2-4. At the top end, the 9m ‘Grand Sojourner’ is priced at $124,300 and sleeps up to 6 people.
Aussie Tiny Houses based in Coolum, QLD have 14 styles to choose from with turnkey homes priced from just $67,900. They, like some other builders offer off the grid solutions including solar power systems, composting toilets, rain water harvesting and greywater systems.
If the idea of downsizing your life and moving into a beautiful and affordable tiny home appeals to you, you will definitely want to first look into the laws that relate to tiny homes in your state and even in your LGA. Though tiny homes are becoming more common, governments at various levels are still wrestling with how to treat them; for instance rules around how you transport them, how long you can live in them and whether rates need to be charged vary from council to council.
The Australian Tiny House Association is a useful reference point for links to relevant state laws applying to tiny homes.
If you take the tiny home plunge (and who can blame you), you’ll want to make sure your tiny home and its contents are properly insured. NRMA offers home insurance across Australia, including SA and WA.