Property Trend - The Tiny House Movement
There was a time when three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive kitchen and open-space living area, along with ample yard space for the kids and pets plus a workshop for dad were the minimum requirements when purchasing ones’ ‘dream home’.
Oh, how times have changed! With the cost of living increasing and desirable areas becoming more and more expensive to purchase a home in, homeowners to-be are getting a little more creative in the search to find the perfect place to call their own. Introducing… the Tiny House Movement.
What is the Tiny House Movement?
The Tiny House Movement is a global movement wherein people, as the name suggests, are living in extremely small homes, often sustainably or even off the grid. Many of these tiny homes are converted trailers, sheds or shipping containers. In other cases, they are small, sustainable ‘flat pack’ homes designed by companies that are solely in the business of helping those on a budget (or who care about their eco-footprint) realise their home ownership dreams, sans the huge space. These homes are often mobile and are parked on family land, friends’ property (e.g. a farm) or even in ‘tiny home villages’ popping up around the place.
A quick Facebook or Google search will reveal tens of thousands of people, in all corners of the world, who are interested in setting up shop (or should we say house?!), small. The Tiny House Blog blog page on Facebook, for example, has 262,648 followers. There are tiny house festivals held in the likes of Australia and the US. The #TinyHouse hashtag on Instagram brings up more than one million results.
The houses may be tiny, but this is by no means a small movement!
What is a tiny house?
A property that’s less than 500-feet technically constitutes a tiny house.
Why are people choosing to live - tiny?
There are many reasons why those wishing to jump onto the property ladder are choosing to build or purchase small (or even tiny) homes. Some of these reasons include:
- Affordability: It’s no secret to anyone who’s ever thought about buying a flat or house that the price of a home is becoming increasingly expensive, especially in desirable areas such as London, Surrey and Oxford. Many buyers are simply being priced out of where they want to live (or need to live - for work or family reasons). Tiny houses can offer a more affordable option - and are obviously going to be cheaper to run, repair and improve in the long-run.
- Sustainability: The smaller you live, the more sustainable and better for the planet it is. Many ‘tiny houses’ are even ‘off the grid’, so their footprint is tiny.
- Simplicity: There is an idea that, by living in a smaller and more simple way, your well-being is improved, stress levels are reduced, and so forth. Less, they say, is more. It makes sense!
- Smart-thinking: Some people are building tiny houses as an additional living space in their backyard, for instance, to house visitors, give privacy to older children or relatives, or even operate small BnB businesses. A tiny house can actually make you money! According to Booking.com, tiny houses are one of the most requested types of accommodation currently.
- A temporary option: If you’re lucky enough to have some land, but can’t quite yet afford to buy your dream home and don’t wish to waste away your money renting, erecting a tiny home could be a temporary answer to your housing woes. As tiny homes can be quite cheap to build, you may be able to do it mortgage-free without a lot of saving.
Tiny Homes - some creative examples of how people are living small
Florence Hamer, 25, a carpenter from Berkshire, is on an apprentice’s wage and earns around £13,000 a year. It would be impossible for her to purchase an ordinary home and get a mortgage on her current salary. She, therefore, decided to be proactive and build herself a tiny home costing a total of £10,000.
Florence has been building her own moveable timber-framed tiny home for the last year with help from her cousin. In a few weeks, she’ll be moving the 16ft flat trailer it sits on to Hay-on-Wye where she’s about to start a new job. Once there, she’ll park the house on a friend’s farm, where she’ll live - mortgage and debt-free. To read more about Florence and other people who have achieved similar feats, click here.
If you’re not quite as creative as Florence, there are companies that will pop you up a tiny house in no-time, such as Tiny Homes UK. According to the company, building a tiny home should be viewed as a ‘starter home’, a way to live rent-free, on a budget, until you are in a position to acquire your actual dream home. Read more here.
The pros of a tiny house
- It’s affordable, sustainable and simple
- It can help you increase your credit rating
- It’s an investment opportunity for the future, which could be sold or rented out to tenants or used as an Air BnB
- It’s more secure than renting and you won’t waste money
- You will become part of a movement/community
The cons of a tiny house
- Well, obviously, it’s small and may not be suited to families or more than two people
- You will probably require planning permission (contact your local council)
- You will need to have money saved to purchase/build it, as it’s unlikely you’d be able to secure a mortgage for such an unconventional home
- It’s more of a temporary option suited to younger or older people, who don’t require much space and have few belongings
For advice for first-time buyers
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Content correct at time of publication.