Tiny home movement growing in Australia

People are choosing to downsize the space in which they live.

The tiny home movement has taken off in the US and is gathering pace in Australia as the cost of housing becomes out of reach for many people. In the US, tiny home communities cater to the homeless, as well as those interested in sustainability or affordability.

The movement first came to attention when small houses were used to accommodate Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans in 2005. Jay Shafer, the US designer who has lived in a tiny house for about 18 years, defines them as being about 9.3 square metres, a stark contrast from most Australian house sizes.

Australian houses are the largest in the world with an average of 243 square metres, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Commsec. A major factor that determines a home’s greenhouse gas emissions is its size and location — with average Australian houses emitting 18 tonnes per household a year, according to the Environment Protection Authority.

The Tiny House Company is Australia’s first specialist company. The founders are two architects and a builder and they now have a team of tradespeople working with them. Company representative Lara Nobel said: “Our tiny houses are compact, fully functioning, transportable dwellings. They are high-end designs with construction at an affordable, flexible and low-impact scale. Once built, the homes are driven to their destination on a specially designed trailer.”

The Tiny House Company founders believe it’s time the housing market changed and offered some more alternatives to the ‘just in case we need it’ suburban four-bedder.

“Small, movable homes are all about flexibility and freedom,” Lara said. “For some, it’s the freedom to live a well-balanced life by purchasing something small within their means rather than relying on a crippling mortgage. For others it’s the flexibility of being able to change the size and function of an existing home as the need arises – a granny flat for family dependents, an additional rental property on-site, or a smaller home to downsize to once the kids have left.”

You can read the full story here. The site offers advice and links to articles and interviews for people who want to learn about the possibilities.