The tiny house that has big fu­ture

Piako Post - - PROPERTY -

Tiny houses could solve some big prob­lems - and not just the hous­ing cri­sis.

Cli­mate change is on their agenda.

More peo­ple are opt­ing for small homes as a cheaper, en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious op­tion, said Nathan Orr, di­rec­tor of LandShare, a busi­ness that con­nects landown­ers with small­house own­ers.

He was at the Waikato Home & Gar­denShow show­ing off a $120,000 home on wheels.

At 2.5m wide and 7.2m long, it qual­i­fies as tiny. It also doesn’t need the power grid.

The house is equipped with a com­post­ing toi­let, so­lar pan­els and en­ergy-con­serv­ing heat pump.

‘‘Peo­ple think that by go­ing eco, it’s go­ing to cost you more, [but] in this sce­nario it’s cost­ing you less.’’

An oven, fridge, freezer, couch, shower and washer-dryer ma­chine are crammed into the nooks of the lim­ited space.

Bat­ter­ies con­nected to the so­lar pan­els are stored un­der the floor and clothes can be stashed in a cup­board un­der the stairs.

White painted walls cre­ate an il­lu­sion of space. Up­stairs, a cush­ion-laden fu­ton is wedged into the loft.

So it’s got all the mod cons, but sac­ri­fices must be made.

‘‘New Zealand has one of the high­est home­less­ness rates in the OECD,’’ Orr said. ‘‘The av­er­age house size [in] 1990, we know from build­ing con­sent data, was 132 square me­tres. By 2010, that was 205 square me­tres.

‘‘Which would be fine if it was hous­ing enough peo­ple, but the New Zealand av­er­age of peo­ple in those houses has de­creased. I think small houses def­i­nitely could be part of the so­lu­tion.’’

Some of those us­ing his busi­ness are mil­len­ni­als who’ve bought a tiny house and need a wee spot to rent on. But some are el­derly re­tirees sell­ing up to move closer to their fam­i­lies.

The wee house it­self be­longs to Matt­son Day who co-owns Mod­ern Build­ing So­lu­tions.

Orr is build­ing a tiny house for him­self about the same size as Day’s. He is 1.98cm tall.

‘‘So the ar­gu­ment that it is only for small peo­ple is not re­ally there. [I’m] a bit of an am­bas­sador for taller peo­ple liv­ing smaller.’’

Tech­ni­cally reg­is­tered as ve­hi­cles, Ki­wiSaver funds and stan­dard bank home loans can’t be used to pur­chase tiny homes.

‘‘Peo­ple who buy a house, the bank will some­times own, you know, 80 per cent of it. Is that re­ally an in­vest­ment? You would have a loan for 20 years.’’

The Home & Gar­den Show is at Claude­lands Event Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 5 to 8, run­ning from 10am un­til six.

TOM LEE/STUFF

At 2.5m wide and 7.2m long, the tiny house ex­hib­ited at the Waikato Home & Gar­den Show at­tracted plenty of cu­ri­ous peo­ple.

TOM LEE/STUFF

In the ab­sence of af­ford­able hous­ing, more peo­ple are turn­ing to tiny houses, Nathan Orr, di­rec­tor of LandShare, said.

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