Tiny house propaganda mushrooms as housing policy fails

The sadists at Domainfax have published another propaganda article on how so-called ‘tiny houses’ are an innovative and sustainable solution to Australia’s housing affordability problems [my emphasis]:

Ms Paton discarded many of her belongings before moving into her tiny house, which is just over 20 square metres in total…

Port Phillip Council believes the tiny house in St Kilda is among the first approved as a long-term permanent private residence in an urban setting…

Ms Paton said towing the house through a small laneway to the property was a tight squeeze…

Ms Paton decided to downsize from a two-bedroom apartment to reduce her environmental footprint.

Tiny houses cost less than most houses; they start about $50,000 and range up to $130,000 for a “luxurious model”…

She also plans to build a community garden on the vacant land that was donated to her for a minimum of two years

“This is something that demonstrates a style of living that can reduce emissions, waste and water,” she said. “I think everyone deserves a roof over their head and a place to call home and this is a fantastic way to do it.”

Tiny houses may soon be more common as traditional housing becomes increasingly expensive and inaccessible…

A spokeswoman for the Victorian government said… “Tiny houses and other small transportable homes are just one of the innovative ways we’re tackling housing affordability and homelessness”…

You will note from the above that Ms Paton had the land on which her tiny home sits donated for a minimum of two years.

Thus, tiny houses are not a genuine housing solution because there is no land ownership attached and they don’t address Australia’s extortionate land prices.

After all, the key limiting factor of home ownership in Australia is the high cost of land, not the cost of the physical dwelling. Therefore, you do not solve a land problem by replacing one form of house with a tiny house.

Ultimately, the only discernible difference between a tiny house and a caravan is in name. That is, the word “caravan” has been replaced with “tiny house” to make it sound trendy and sustainable. It’s a marketing gimmick used by spruikers to down sell the Great Australian Dream and is much easier than tackling the problem of housing affordability at its source via:

  • Winding back tax concessions that encourage property speculation;
  • Cutting immigration to sustainable historical levels;
  • Removing artificial regulatory barriers to land supply;
  • Increasing investment in public housing; and
  • Reforming rental tenancy laws to make them more secure.

Address these policy issues before cramming young Australians into “tiny house” caravans.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. Jumping jack flash

    “Thus, tiny houses are not a genuine housing solution because there is no land ownership attached…”

    Land ownership needs to be attached. This is obvious.

    “… and they don’t address Australia’s extortionate land prices.”

    Pff, land prices. Everything is affordable if you can obtain the correct amount of debt to buy it with.

    Subdivision laws need to change to accommodate the tiny amount of land that will be required by these tiny homes. Surely a 15m^2 block of land to suit a shipping container-sized, 21st century house including a clothesline, is going to cost far less than the 600m^2 for a regular, 20th century house? At least for now. By 2050 these tiny homes will also be selling for $1m.

    Additionally, you will have people who are lucky enough to have been eligible for enough debt to purchase 600m^2 of land being able to subdivide that simply huge piece of valuable land into 15m^2 blocks (plus access paths) for a community of tiny homes.

    Sustainability at its finest!

    I can’t really see the problem.

    If there is a problem surrounding the land then the problem is simply caused by council subdivision regulations and that surely has simple solutions available to it.

      • Jumping jack flash

        same height restrictions apply for single storey, 2 storey, etc.
        If you can fit a ladder in, then you could go 2-storey I guess… but I don’t think a ladder is acceptable, unless you classify the 2nd storey as a loft.. or something?

        I’m not down with the regs.

        The point is that if the only limitation on these being a successful solution to “housing affordability” (read: people not being eligible for the amount of debt required to purchase a “real” house) is council regulations on subdivisions, then change them! They’re obviously archaic and getting in the way of progress, sustainability, etc etc etc.

  2. Looking forward to flying in QANTAS Tiny Class. Seats half the size of traditional economy. More affordable and less greenhouse gas! Course you’re standing and touching someone front and back for the 14 hr flight, but hey, it’s a solution to expensive and polluting airfares…

    Hope you don’t get Reusa in the row behind.

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