“Tiny homes” are caravans in disguise

The “tiny home’ phenomenon continues to get touted as a solution to Australia’s chronic housing affordability problems – not only for our youth, but also as a way to house the homeless:

A tiny home village has been opened in Melbourne’s west for those who have experienced homelessness and need a permanent residence.

The Harris Transportable Housing Project is one of several tiny home villages around the country. These villages aim to provide immediate housing to those who are experiencing homelessness.

This project first began two years ago with the aim of creating tiny houses that would sit on unused government land for tenants to live in on a long-term basis…

The project will establish nine tiny home villages with a total of 57 homes on empty Vic Roads land…

The units currently sit on Vic Roads land that won’t be needed for a decade, but the authority will give tenants 12 months’ notice should the land be required.

While it’s great to see the homeless being housed, there is nothing revolutionary about this project. Australia has had “tiny home villages” for decades, only they were previously called the less sexy name of “caravan parks”.

That’s right, throughout Australia you will find caravan parks providing long-term leases to the poorest and most marginalised in society. Just like this “tiny home village”, there is no actual home ownership, since there is no land and no title. Rather, they are a means to provide emergency accommodation to those that cannot afford anything better.

The problem is, such caravan parks are being shut down, casting low income residents onto the streets:

In 2016, development company Longriver bought the land for $35.6 million, forcing the eviction of 153 permanent residents from the park.

The firm plans to build 294 medium-density townhouses.

Wantirna’s residents were devastated…

Unlike in New South Wales and Queensland, those living in residential parks in Victoria are not entitled to compensation when the land is sold from underneath them…

The long-term solution to Australia’s housing woes does not involve cramming people into caravans “tiny homes”, but rather addressing the underlying drivers:

  • Lowering immigration;
  • Reforming property  tax rorts;
  • Freeing-up fringe land supply; and
  • Increasing investment into public housing.

Address these distortions instead of locking more Australians into battery-style living.


    • Tiny home site found !MEMBER

      There’s a great site for Tiny Homes in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney – the old stadium site. Convenient location!
      Should be vacant for 10 years till they find someone able to build a stadium suitable for Alan Jones and his 10k members reserved seats to watch a Bledisloe game every year..

      Seriously – retirement villages/caravan parks like rentals need 10 year tenure – in NSW they can have, but not for rental apartments.

  1. Complex Carbon Unit

    Yes I herd of a caravan park in trouble down on the peninsula here in vic, the land tax went from 7,000 to just under 50,000, thank you Mr Andrews for pushing people out so they have no choice but to sell the property and you end up with the duty and more. No though for any one else, only your self with your massive pay on the river of gold !!!! Look what I have done for Victoria I’m such a hero !!!

  2. The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

    Tiny homes are making a valuable contribution to solving the climate emergency. It also encourages poor people, I mean citizens, to have less children, which also helps to solve the climate emergency. You should watch the ABC for more vital information about the climate emergency.

  3. Complex Carbon Unit

    Unfortunately it’s all about growth, it can’t keep going like this forever man kind is doomed, greed ignorance and all the other factors that work against our long term survival will bring it all to an end… it’s just a matter of which one comes first…

  4. Thank you for calling Tiny Homes what they are – caravans.

    It irritates me when something lousy is rebranded to make it sexy. Vegan leather is the one that is currently annoying me – it’s polyurethane and its crap. The under 30’s are all “oh this is amazing, its veeeegaaaaannn” and anyone who remembers the eighties is rolling their eyes at them.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      I still clearly recall Target selling belts proudly labeled as “Genuine Vinyl” a few year back! Was tempted to ask the sales staff if a “fake vinyl” belt was even cheaper….

    • Boomers have given millennials caravans, because they own all the houses.
      Boomers have given us vegan leather, because they have eaten all the cows and sold all the cattle stations to the fvcking Chinese

  5. mikef179MEMBER

    So what the government is really saying is “we need more emergency housing”.

    So then the question becomes, “why do we need more emergency housing, Mr government? Is it because house are too unaffordable for many? How did they get that way?” At which point I’m sure the government minister is no longer interested in the conversation.

  6. Homes of this size, in median-multiple-3 cities in the USA, are $40,000 to buy new. When the land price is around 50 times higher than it should be, even this postage stamp size will set you back several times as much as the actual “structure” is worth.

    Worse, the more you can cram your serf-citizens, the higher you can push the land prices, so that in all the real life examples anyone can provide, “housing” doesn’t get any cheaper as it gets smaller. The price per unit stays attached to a skyhook and the land price inflates accordingly, benefitting guess who?

    There is virtually no housing unit of any small enough size, in any city with a median multiple of 8 or over, that is as cheap as an actual McMansion in a median multiple 3 city (which used to be the norm in Straya too). Crawl spaces in British cities now cost about the same rent as a modest townhouse in US median-multiple-3 cities. The cause for that, is that the Poms have been practising the land-rationing, stack and pack gouge since 1947, so the land prices have had longer to do their inflationary thing as the cramming has proceeded.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      This ^^^^. For around $200 K you can get a very decent 3/4 bedroom family home on its own block in many US cities. When I look at the poorly build and expensive rubbish we have in Oz I weep for this place. It will not end well.

      On a side note – ending homelessness is fairly easy – there is just no political will or desire to do so by the Government.

  7. I have no idea how you can compare a tiny house with a caravan, they are fantastic I’m 50+ & in the process of building a second one.
    Yes the gov needs to address affordable housing. But I’d rather a home I am not a slave to. 10min housework done and I’m out enjoying nature or whatever I choose to do. As far as the author of this piece goes, I challenge you to remove that gold spoon you were born with and come stay in one.