How long did it take for your home to get built?
Six months? A year? Perhaps even longer?
According to industry experts, the average Australian house takes anywhere from four to 12 months to build, once the land’s purchased and design locked in.
It’s certainly a process — there’s no doubt about that.
But the time it takes to build is only just one headache from an entire list of them!
There’s the astronomical cost of buying land in the first place, arranging a builder and paying the contractors and architects who you’ll be working with.
Limitations, too, on where you can build — after all, the area needs to be affordable and a place where you or your tenants would actually enjoy living…
Woop Woop just won’t do.
And then, not to mention the decades of debt locked in after such an enterprise…
You can see why nearly a third of households choose to simply rent instead.
Even if you’re buying a ready-built house, this is still enormously complicated and expensive.
There’s a reason they call it a mortgage. Hint: ‘mort’ is the Latin word for death!
But that’s just how it’s always been. So we’ve never questioned it.
There’s been no other way.
Until now, perhaps…
Could the next big thing be tiny?
Here’s where it gets interesting.
In the wake of home ownership plummeting and savvy innovators dreaming up new living solutions, there is now actually another way…
And it could very well be the way of the future.
What I’m about to tell you is no joke:
In this day and age, you can order a house online and get it to your door in the time it takes to receive a new pair of shoes from ASOS.
Amazon sells a DIY house kit for less than 20 grand in US dollars, and it takes only two days to build!
But there’s a caveat, of course…
The finished product takes up less than 500 square feet.
You may have heard of tiny homes, and thought, ‘never in a million years…’
But for some, these little abodes can be surprisingly stylish and liveable.
Check out the interior of this light-filled getaway:
In fact, for many…going smaller actually means living larger.
With a more minimalist outlook on material consumption, people begin to focus less on what they covet and more on what genuinely fills their happiness cup.
Tiny homes can often be carted around on wheels on the back of cars or in trailers, letting residents travel and see their country, and move around with greater mobility.
This is why ‘grey nomads’ — retiree travellers — take to living in RVs and tiny homes.
To focus on lifestyle and to reconnect with nature and adventure…
Could tiny homes be the future?
Look, as a parent of two young kids, I know this isn’t a solution for most families.
But it could be a growing niche for the older and younger ends of the market…
The hashtag ‘#vanlife’ is one of the most successful Instagram trends of all time — a catchcry for young folks embarking on a lifestyle in their vehicle conversions.
Because it seems tiny living isn’t at all a downgrade. It’s an upgrade to a new way of life.
An escapade of freedom and self-reliance.
Philosophies aside — on paper, tiny homes are cheaper, less time-consuming to build, and more practical in terms of allowing more people to fit into urban hotspots.
Australians still might harbour the dream of a two-storey beachfront property with a backyard to boot, but the fact is this dream is impractical for most average income-earning Australians.
Particularly the younger generation, who have been effectively locked out of the property market…
So, could tiny homes be the future?
Well, not everyone likes the idea of living in a small space.
But maybe that’s because they’ve never tried it.
Would you say no to a night in this award-winning design?
In my view, tiny homes aren’t simply a passing trend (though they are very trendy, right now).
They’re a natural progression to more compact living solutions, just like we’ve seen in Europe and Japan over the decades.
Plus, tiny homes solve multiple problems for an increasingly homeless (as in, non-home-owning) population.
They’re inexpensive, mobile (i.e. can be driven around on a trailer or built on wheels), eco-friendly and customisable.
Ready to downsize then?
Countries like Dubai are using prefabricated (prefab) building facilities to build entire hospital wings in nine days.
Going tiny Down Under isn’t easy
Not so fast…
While the rest of the world is embracing the tiny living revolution, Australia’s still putting up the red tape.
Down Under, property lobbies in Australia are still putting up resistance against tiny home advocates.
There are no specific regulations regarding tiny homes in Australia, making this a wild west of property law.
But bureaucracy can only screw around citizens for so long, particularly when a worldwide super-trend is gathering speed.
Prefabricated homes are manufactured quickly off-site in advance, usually in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled.
Think Ikea, but for entire buildings!
The beauty of prefab buildings is that normally, they just need a certificate that says the specifications are to code.
Not 10 different people standing around ticking off boxes, or all the headaches involving hefty costs and contractors I listed at the beginning…
It’s understandable this is frightening to a lot of industries, ones that make their bread and butter from making us jump through hoops.
But think of all the business opportunity the tiny living revolution could spring up too…
Modern architecture start-ups and specialists, flat-pack furniture businesses, tiny living consultancies, artificial intelligence tiny house builders, legal reps, tiny neighbourhood co-ops, mobility and transport solution providers…
Many companies of this nature are already becoming Aussie leaders in the tiny lifestyle industry.
Forward-thinking investors should take note.
You just never know…
Tiny house start-ups could produce big fortunes!
Editor, Money Morning
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