2022 Guide: Building a Tiny House in Australia

July 1, 2022
Granny Flat Requirements Sydney

Interest in building a tiny house in Australia has grown in the country, as many folks now think tiny houses as a workable approach to housing affordability. This thinking makes perfect sense when you answer the question: how much is a tiny house in Australia?

The cost of building a tiny house in Australia is estimated at approximately $3,000 to $5,000 per square metre. At its maximum size of 37 square metres, a tiny house thus can cost $111,000 to $185,000.

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How much does a tiny house cost vs traditional builds?

If you’re wondering how much a tiny house in Australia is compared with traditional home builds, here’s the answer. In Sydney, $700,000 is the current cost of building an apartment unit, while $500,000 is the estimate for one built in Melbourne.

Therefore, downsizing to this residential size looks like a sound financial decision. Even if you include the cost of buying a lot for a tiny house, it will be more affordable than traditional home builds.  

Tiny but huge in sustainability

The idea on tiny houses started in the US. This concept gained ground in 2005 when these dwellings were built for those who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. 

More tiny houses were built as affordable housing options during the 2007─2008 global financial crisis. Downsizing to tiny homes further grew with the increased number of minimalist folks who chose a more sustainable and simpler lifestyle. 

What is a tiny house on wheels?

building a tiny house

As mentioned earlier, tiny houses are dwellings typically with footprints of less than 37 square metres. Their builds are either fixed on the ground or on trailers. 

The trailer-based versions are popularly called tiny houses on wheels. These designs are transportable, just like caravans and a great choice if you have a mobile lifestyle.

Besides being built from the ground up or on trailers, tiny houses can also come as refitted buses. Shipping containers are another popular choice for repurposing as tiny houses because of their durability and strong base structure. 

Budgeting for a tiny house

How much a tiny house in Australia costs will thus also depend on the design you choose. To finalise your choice, you must first decide which of these designs suits your budget, needs, and preferences. 

You may also want to look into architectural techniques that can now be incorporated into building a tiny house. Features like rainwater tanks, solar power, and composting toilets can also be included in a tiny house.

Registration as a caravan 

If you pick a tiny house on wheels, the transportability of this residential structure requires that you register it as a caravan. Your tiny house also must pass transport regulations including electrical and building standards.

To be allowed on Australian roads, your tiny house on wheels must not exceed these dimensions: width, 2.5 metres; height, 4.5 metres; and length, 8 metres.

One hitch in your tiny house registration as a caravan is that you can’t list it as your primary residence. Even tiny houses without wheels and fixed on the ground are typically considered only as “granny flats” and not primary dwellings. 

Neighbourhood approval is wise to have

Building a tiny house on the lot where your primary residence is standing is an option. However, it would be wise to seek approval from your neighbours for its construction, as local councils still lack specific regulations on tiny houses.  

Most local councils, though, approve building permits for tiny houses. You can plug your tiny house into the local water main and electrical grid with your council’s approval.

Making the most out of your tiny house 

building a tiny house

The small footprint of your tiny house calls for the clever use of its space. If you’re convinced about building a tiny house in Australia, here are some tips to make the most out of every inch of the dwelling. 

Consider a loft

Most tiny houses are designed with some form of loft to make the most of their limited square footage. The loft can typically accommodate a bed, but with some imagination, it can serve more functions besides a sleeping area.

If the ceiling of your tiny house is high enough, its loft can serve as a video game room, a study, or a reading nook. A loft above a living area can also be turned into a split-level room where two kids can sleep. 

Maximise outdoor living

The limited interior space of tiny houses prompts their owners to extend their daily living outdoors. A deck, a garden, or a pool are immediate solutions to more space.

Australia’s climate, fortunately, is suitable for year-round enjoyment of the outdoors. With this advantage, a tiny house in a scenic location is a sure bet at maximising outdoor living enjoyment.  

Choose the right furniture

building a tiny house

Custom-designed furniture pieces are great picks for overcoming the limited space in a tiny house. The ideal choice would be efficient, multi-purpose furniture

There are also many innovative furnishings available commercially, and shopping around can have fruitful results. Some of these picks include beds foldable into the wall and come with a wardrobe. 

Get creative with storage

Take storage in your tiny house to a new level, with imagination as your only limit. One trick that you can consider is concealing drawers in the steps of the staircase.

The walls of the house can also accommodate hidden vertical storage. Seats with boxes beneath for storing items are added options too. 

Building a tiny house yourself?

If you’re on the lookout for a dream tiny house, we can help you there. Browse our search page to check out some amazing listings available right now. 

But don’t just stop there; download our app to get the whole Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

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