The tiny house that has big future
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.
At 2.5m wide and 7.2m long, the tiny house exhibited at the Waikato Home & Garden Show attracted plenty of curious people.
In the absence of affordable housing, more people are turning to tiny houses, Nathan Orr, director of LandShare, said.