Are tiny homes the answer to affordable housing?

By Hoanglan Nguyen @HoangWorld

The biggest concern we have been grappling with has been to stay home so we can kick the virus to the kerb. Central to that idea is the place we call home. For hundreds of thousands of people, a rental is currently home.

An issue looming large is that even when the economy is opened again, the loss of jobs and work hours mean lost income for many who would find paying the usual rents difficult along with food and bills.

A way out which more people have started looking into is tiny homes. The cost and time for building tiny homes is much less than normal housing because they are smaller in floor space and common areas serve different purposes than within the usual house.

Queenslander Samantha Barnes in Queensland posted to Facebook group Tiny Houses Australia about her home built on a trailer. It took only 10 weeks at a cost of $25,000 for materials (some materials were free otherwise would have been $35,000). The house measures 6m long by 2.5m width and height of 4.3m. This gives her a bedroom loft with proper headroom and extra loft storage.

Rental costs are for vacant land or the rear section of properties, so it is often low. Ecological features that reduce bills, such as solar panels, can also be built into the tiny homes.

However, a tiny home on a permanent foundation is not simple because the council building approval process is designed for larger homes with two to three bedrooms and multiple bathroom and toilet facilities. The average cost of a building application in Sydney is $5,000 and can be more, dependent on size. It takes from three months onward before approval is granted.

Simplifying the building approval process and cutting the cost down would enable more people to be housed on land they already own or can rent cheaply.

Feature image by aehdeschaine/CC/flickr

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