tiny homes

Tiny Homes Here to Stay : New Zealand

The tiny homes fad started in New Zealand a few years ago as a result of the rising house prices. There were only a few tiny homes builders/companies and in early 2021 the waiting list for such homes was long. But 2021 saw a number of other companies jump on board the tiny home bandwagon. Now that we are seeing more and more tiny homes across New Zealand. Shopless looks into the popularity of tiny homes, and who these small homes cater for. 

What is a Tiny Home? 

The tiny home movement is an architectural and social movement. Where people are choosing small dwellings that are more affordable and have less impact on the environment. A tiny home is a home of less than 37 square meters of floor space. The  height of the home is more ambiguous, with many tiny home builders choosing to add more space through the addition of a loft or upper sleeping area. 

Tiny homes are also a lot easier to move around. They can often be placed on a trailer or have their own portability much like a caravan. Tiny home owners however tend to look to buy or rent a vacant lot where they can permanently place their tiny home. So they do not fall into the ‘holiday home’ category. New Zealanders are finding that the tiny home movement is a good opportunity to have a home close to the city or work. While not spending the same amount as you would need for a new or existing home purchase. 

What New Zealanders are buying Tiny Homes? 

There have been an abundance of tiny home articles in the last few years. Showing us that tiny homes are not confined to one demographic of New Zealander. In September 2021 Stuff released an article about a pensioner who had chosen to downsize their home to a tiny home for retirement. The lady rented out her original home to her daughter, helping to generate income for healthcare expenses and general living costs. While living in a small home more practical to her living needs. Other grandparents have chosen to follow this trend, offering the family home to younger generations. While they enjoy a new build with a compact and practical lifestyle. 

Families have also chosen to live the tiny home lifestyle, which is rare due to the need for more space as a family. Some families have chosen this option so that the parents can be closer to their work locations. And they still have a generous section to enjoy. In particular families from overseas, or who are used to apartment style living find the tiny home option a practical endeavour.  

Finally, those who live by themselves – that want a nice home but don’t necessarily have the joint income to afford a standard home in their city, find the tiny home a useful asset. A Tokoroa school teacher chose the tiny home lifestyle as it fit with her needs as a single woman. As well as offered the chance to have her input in the design process and location of the home. 

What are some road blocks for tiny home owners? 

The key hurdle for tiny home owners is that councils are not offering definitive consent options for these small homes. There is debate among local councils as to whether a tiny home is considered a small home or a caravan. Tiny homes do not need wheels, but some owners are opting for this to fit in with regulations. There are different regulations and costs for fixed dwellings and transportable dwellings. Tiny home builder Paul Skipper said that this is one of the key challenges of the tiny home industry in NZ. 

What are some international tiny home trends? 

Internationally Tiny homes have helped as a solution for low economic or poverty stricken areas. Particularly in America there are initiatives such as “Village for Vets” which works to house homeless individuals into tiny home communities. Arnold Schwarzenegger donated 25 tiny homes to homeless or displaced veterans through this initiative. And there are many similar initiatives across America, Europe and the UK. 

Are all tiny homes the same? 

There are basic designs for Tiny homes, however the Tiny home manufacturers allow for purchasers to have significant input into the design process. There are also architectural competitions for the best designs of tiny homes. And various lists that analyse tiny home designs, with New Zealand designers leading the way with Tiny home designs. 

Shopless has offered some more insight into Tiny Homes. The popularity, use and what makes them unique. If you are looking to buy a section, a tiny home or a regular property – make sure to check out our property section here.