The tiny house movement, what is it and why is it popular?

A social networking campaign tracked a tiny house travel from Canberra to Hervey Bay. Research to date has found a marked increase in people who desire their own tiny home, particularly among senior women.

Since the very first miniature house groups on Facebook in 2013, such pages and groups have increased. The first Facebook pages, such as Tiny Houses Australia, have almost 50,000 followers.

According to earlier research, it is contended that tiny houses could be a part of a solution to the perennial and wicked problem of unaffordable housing, in addition to improving urban density and the ecological sustainability of housing. In 2015, not many people had built one.

A replica of the 2015 poll has found a marked increase in people building or wanting to construct a tiny house. Some 20% of present respondents (173 thus far, however, the survey is continuing ) had made or were constructing a very small home. Another 61% meant to build one.

The majority of these tiny houses were completely mobile, partially mobile (that is, a container home ) or on skids. Only 20 percent were intended to be permanent. Interest was equally split between rural and urban residential areas.

The majority of those preferring rural places wished to construct a permanent or container-type tiny home. Those wanting urban areas favoured mobile tiny homes. Urban land costs likely cause this, even more than 50 percent of survey respondents said they would instead build in their own land.

Tiny homes appeal to older women
Demographically, fascination with tiny houses is biased towards older women. Nearly all respondents were women over 50.

Although this might be due to sampling bias (more women than men tend to complete surveys), also, it could reflect other research demonstrating that unmarried women over 50 are the fastest-growing demographic for homelessness in Australia. This is a result of relationship break-ups, employer prejudice against older women, and lack of superannuation savings.

Then came: wanting to reduce overall debt, not needing a mortgage, wanting to downsize, and housing too expensive generally.

Environmental sustainability and mindful consuming were viewed as the second-most essential benefits. The backlash from the McMansions of past decades is powerful:

I support the ideas of little homes for conscious consuming. All of us consume an excessive amount of land. We then decide to fill the spaces with more stuff and travel farther to our destinations with more fuel to get there. It is a downward spiral, which might be contained by more sensible lodging choices and a more thoughtful attitude towards sources.  Consider DIY property sales to end up with more dollars in your pocket when downsizing.

In keeping with previous research, respondents noted significant barriers, especially inflexible planning schemes, and the price of land. But these barriers were rated much lower than the motorists — just two (planning scheme inflexibility and complexity) were granted an average score higher than four (out of five).

This might imply that local authorities are becoming more receptive to the notion of little homes instead of to high-rises for increasing density in what’s called the”missing middle”.

Architects, consultants, planning professionals and professors collaborated on the newly released Tiny House Planning Resource for Australia 2017. It aims to aid planners, policymakers and the wider community to better understand the tiny house movement and its capacity to bring about greater choice in housing supply and diversity.

Yes, miniature houses are one, potentially intense, end of the home form continuum. They do not suit all demographics, but the rising interest proves that local governments will need to consider allowing miniature houses in urban areas seriously.

They have significant potential to be a catalyst for infill development, either as miniature house villages or by relaxing planning schemes to permit tenants and owners to situate well-designed tiny homes on suburban lots.  Sell your home privately and avoid the hidden agency costs.

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