As virus curve flattens, tiny house propaganda goes exponential

You would have thought the coronavirus lock down would have spelled the end of tiny house propaganda.

The idea of having to spend months of quarantine in a house not much larger than a ‘prison cell’ would be enough to turn even the most die hard advocate away. 

Not so, with Domain reporting that tiny houses are “coming into their own” during the coronavirus lock down:

…because they offer detached occupation, they can be customised to your specifications within a matter of months, and they come in at a fraction of the cost of house prices – between $31,000 and $150,000 – in the time COVID-19 isolation, tiny houses are coming into their own for a new set of reasons.

With so many suddenly unemployed adult children back in their old bedrooms; with commuter parents and partners suddenly finding they’re both working from home; with researchers and creatives needing to separate their practice from kid toy trip-hazards, the tiny typology is suddenly offering a lot of useful solutions.

…with all this activity the tiny industry has come up with an amazing diversity of styles and fit-outs, all aimed at making small space lifestyles as practical, functional and stylish as possible.

The article goes on to say that inquiries for tiny houses are booming as people seek granny flats for their existing homes so that they can get more separation between family members.

However, adding a granny flat to an existing dwelling is a far cry from the usual propaganda promoting tiny houses as a genuine alternative to traditional housing. 

This type of propaganda usually spruiks tiny houses as improving one’s quality of life, often with catch phrases like “going smaller actually means living larger”.

But the cold hard reality is that tiny houses are little more than re-branded caravans, which have been used for generations to house residents living on the edge of homelessness. The only difference now is that tiny homes are being sold to Australia’s youth as a genuine alternative to traditional home ownership.

The coronavirus quarantine has quickly highlighted the fallacy of tiny homes improving one’s quality of life.

Our homes are now serving multiple purposes of providing shelter, workplaces, schools, cinemas, gyms, cafes and parks. And tiny houses are poorly equipped to meet these roles.

Tiny houses wrongly assume that residents want to live most of their lives outside in public parks, eateries and laundromats. And with the coronavirus lock down in place, tiny houses are providing living spaces more akin to a prison.

Now contrast their experience with those of us living in a traditional detached house with a good sized backyard. For us, the coronavirus quarantine has been relatively easy, since our homes meet all of our basic needs.

We generally have extra rooms for a home office. We have a dishwasher, washing machine and internet. We have areas in which to exercise, get fresh air, be alone or together. And we have space to store grocery supplies.

The reality is that humans treasure having space and freedom. 

If tiny houses represented a genuine improvement in living standards, we would have witnessed a stampede of households seeking to live in caravan parks.

The fact that this has not happened, and caravan parks have been reserved for the poor, is evidence of the true merits of tiny house living.

Leith van Onselen


  1. Is macrobusness going to cover the fall armyworm in Australia and if it is going to have a real impact on our economy??

  2. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    I’ve said it before but when the Domainfax writes catch phrases like “going smaller actually means living larger”. it makes me think of Toad, from ‘Wind in the Willows’ gushing about his Caravan:

    “There you are!” cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself.

    “There’s real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs!

    Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here to-day, up and off to somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing! And mind! this is the very finest cart of its sort that was ever built, without any exception.

    Come inside and look at the arrangements. Planned ’em all myself, I did! The Mole was tremendously interested and excited, and followed him eagerly up the steps and into the interior of the caravan tiny home. The Rat only snorted and thrust his hands deep into his pockets, remaining where he was.

    It was indeed very compact and comfortable. Little sleeping bunks—a little table that folded up against the wall—a cooking-stove, lockers, book-shelves, a bird-cage with a bird in it; and pots, pans, jugs, and kettles of every size and variety.”

    As a kid you realised Toad was a gullible doofus, just like the ‘Journalists’ writing this crap.

      • scroomywifeplease

        A lot of foreigners who visit come for 3 months or 6 months and live in their cars, shower at the beach. Disgusting, I know. But in some places like Jap. they have pretty nice tiny camping cars with bikes on back or top racks, not much smaller than their homes. Roads and parks are suited for it, just like for bikes. Culture and environment and planning are everything. In Bris everything is planned and cultured for giant white utes and crappy timber weatherboards to be flooded every few years because we can’t work out how to operate a dam.

  3. 150k for a tinny house?
    after the construction bust $150k is going to be enough for a decent real 3 bdr double garage house

  4. I can’t help but wonder what the real aim of these parasites is in spruiking tiny homes? Do they think the next boom for rentseekers will be buying a block of land and charging 5 tiny home owners $500 a week each to live on it?

  5. About a year ago every time I looked at a MSM site there would be at least one article pushing polyamory. I got the impression that this was some sort of campaign, but couldn’t understand the motivation behind it. But maybe it was a cryptic way of touting high density.

  6. 21 ButtZilla St.

    I ain’t got time for these silly chump games
    Its a shame, people fronting hard to get a name
    So I just push along and mind my own
    Im pissed off, thats why I took it out in this poem.
    So now I think I’ll just retreat
    And get the hell away from this front street
    So now I think I’ll just retreat
    And get the hell away from this front street
    I gotta go

  7. I see Tiny Houses as Mobile Granny Flats not as Mobile “Homes” aka fancy caravans.

  8. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    The worst thing about the tiny house propaganda to my mind was none of the legitimate issues you raised in the article but the fact that they were clearly being pushed to divert attention from the fact that it’s land price which is the largest issue, not the much smaller issue of construction or material costs for the structure itself.

  9. Jumping jack flash

    “If tiny houses represented a genuine improvement in living standards, we would have witnessed a stampede of households seeking to live in caravan parks.”

    You consistently miss the big picture!

    Tiny houses are the future but only when coupled with tiny housing blocks. Everyone wants a backyard, even if it is only big enough for one of those retractable clotheslines.

    Nobody but unfortunate boomers want to live in caravan parks.

    How can property prices continue to grow? Incomes are stagnant and will continue to be into the future while all this debt is about – and debt cannot simply go away, it must be repaid in full, plus all the interest. The biggest component of the price is the land

    For tiny houses to truly take off, along with tiny houses we will also need tiny subdivisions. Then those lucky people who were fortunate to be able to buy a “standard” house block at this moment in time will be able to subdivide that block 30 years into the future into 4 or 6 tiny house blocks and sell each one for the same price, or hopefully more, as they paid for the entire old standard-sized block.

    This is the future!

    While property prices grow and incomes remain stagnant and banks’ debt eligibility criteria pushes the bar up out of reach for many, they must be able to feed the ponzi with new entrants so everyone gets their chance to become instantly rich from someone else’s debt mountain.

    We will need a lot of subsidies, riskier debt, or tiny homes. The market will speak, if not already.