There is a new trend sweeping the globe and it’s tiny – Tiny House living to be exact You might have seen George Clarke’s “Amazing Spaces” and thought that it was okay for a quirky weekend away or a boutique AirBnB. There is a tiny part of the population who are downsizing, quite literally, but this desire to live small is getting bigger by the day.
Tiny Houses are a big trend right now, but while the minimalist lifestyle has benefits, it brings some challenges.
Tiny houses can help people live debt free and they’re more environmentally friendly, but living in such tight quarters can create unique, unexpected problems that can seem magnified in a tight space, like easier wear and tear and quick messes.
What is Tiny House Living?
According to Wikipedia (yes, it is a recognised thing and has its own wikipedia entry) “The tiny-house movement (also known as the “small-house movement” is an architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes. As of 2018 there is no set definition as to what constitutes a tiny house.
However, a residential structure under 400 sq. ft is generally considered a tiny home. The tiny-house movement promotes financial prudence, economically safe, shared community experiences, and a shift in consumerism-driven mindsets.”
Starting in America, the recession of 2008 drove the demand for tiny houses and these much smaller dwellings gained popularity as add on accommodation for elderly relatives, returning children and home offices.
In Japan, were space is at a premium, these tiny dwellings have become the norm. These miniature houses are also popping up in Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.
Why Tiny Houses?
Why Tiny Houses and what about the UK? Apart from the aforementioned TV program with George examining old double-decker buses and converted horse boxes, what is the demand for tiny houses in the UK?
Tiny House UK is hoping to kick start a tiny house community, totally off grid, as a solution to a number of housing issues including;
Getting on the property ladder
Tiny houses are seen as the answer to a lot of our modern day issues including the current housing crisis. Getting on the property ladder is the hardest it has ever been thanks to the mortgage crisis that originated in the USA in 2008 and led to a worldwide recession.
High street lenders are lending less, taking less chances and most buyers now need a hefty deposit or backing from the Bank of Mum and Dad – which is great if your parents are not short of cash.
The desire to self build is also on the rise as an alternative to getting a mortgage. Although by the time the land has been purchased, architects paid, and planning submission sought it is not the magic wand many prospective homeowners had hoped.
Millennials and the new generation of house builders and buyers are more eco conscious. Add to that new building regulations in the UK and the heat is on, to build homes that are kinder to the planet and more responsible in the long term.
The Home Quality mark has been developed by the BRE (British Research Establishment) and is a property benchmarking tool aimed at giving builders, developers and homeowners a ‘Star Rating’ guide that can be applied to homes when they are sold. The ‘Star Rating’ will allow buyers to be clear on what quantifiable benefits the home will give to them in terms of:
Low energy bills
Low mortgage and insurance
Amounts of natural light
Access to local facilities and amenities
And numerous other factors.
This is designed to give people a clearer picture of how a good quality home will benefit them in terms of finance, health, wellbeing and community facilities. Tiny homes tick all the boxes in terms of having a tiny carbon footprint.
Tiny Houses are also being looked at as an answer to homelessness, debt and financial recovery.
Tiny price tag?
A lot of the details around these mini homes is still unclear, for instance planning – this is currently looked at on a case by case basis and also the financial benefits which may be nullified after land is purchased. The houses themselves start at around £23,500.
Is tiny house living something that would appeal to you? Is it possible or sustainable? Is having a large home grotesque and frivolous? Or is space essential to health and wellbeing?