Housing Affordability is a growing problem here in Australia and one we can't afford to ignore any longer. With the continued growth of median house prices, the 'Great Australian Dream' we all grew up aspiring to is becoming more and more unachievable and for many Australians, it is now simply impossible.
A possible solution comes in the form of a 'tiny house on wheels', a concept that is gaining more and more momentum here in Australia. Unlike caravans, tiny houses are built to last, the same quality as a traditional house, and are designed and built, from the ground up, to be a full-time, permanent and very comfortable residence.
With a footprint of anywhere from 10 to 30 square meters, tiny houses are typically built on large, custom-built trailers, giving them the ability to be relocated. More importantly, being on wheels means they are not permanent structures, therefore building codes and council permits simply don't apply. This not only saves time and money in the building process, but also gives the owner the creative freedom to design and build a tiny house that reflects them, their needs, lifestyle and personality.
One of the other major advantages of a tiny house is the price. Depending on how much of the work you do yourself vs. how much you contract out, a tiny house can be built for anything from $20,000 to $80,000, a mere fraction of the cost of a traditional house. Imagine owning your own home and having no mortgage at all! This is something many would find hard to fathom.
Aside from the building cost, living in a tiny house also means a dramatic cut to your utility bills. The fact is that tiny houses can be built to be completely 'off the grid' and self sustainable, helping people take another step towards extracting themselves from 'the system' and being less reliant on the ever-growing costs of the energy companies.
Tiny houses can also be legally towed on Australian roads. As long as they are under 2.5 meters wide, 4.3 meters tall, 12.5 meters long, under 4,500 kg and you have the right vehicle to tow it, you can move fairly easily. So if a job opportunity comes along interstate or if you need to move, you can take your house and your memories with you.
Of course, being such a small size means that some serious downsizing is required. However once people take a long hard look at what they have accumulated over the years, they soon realise how much of their 'stuff' they simply no longer use nor need.
Speaking from experience, when you pare down to the things that you actually need and the things that mean the most to you, you can live very happily with a lot less than you may think. You feel free, less encumbered, lighter, and you start to enjoy a more flexible life where you can take advantage of opportunities without being weighed down by your stuff.
So why are so many people seriously looking at a tiny house as a valid option? Other than the financial side of it, I believe it is because there is a shift that is occurring around what it means to be successful.
Modern society seems to have come to a point where 'success' and having 'made it' is somehow measured by how much money you have, the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the size of your house. But many Australians are starting to think otherwise. After spending year after year working long hours in jobs they probably don't like, borrowing money they don't have to buy things they won't use and don't need, many are starting to question what life is all about.
Perhaps life is not about the 'things' we own but the experiences we collect along the way and the relationships we have with those close to us.
Many people are tired, stressed and overworked. They want to reduce their debt, reduce their stress, work less and have more fun. They want to downsize, simplify their lives and live a more sustainable and more intentional way of life. A tiny house can very much help them do this.
At the end of the day, it is not really about the house. The tiny house is simply a tool that can enable people to design the sort of life they want. It is a chance to step off the mouse wheel, slow down and enjoy life... and for many, it is an opportunity too good to pass up.