Could tiny homes be the answer to unaffordable housing?

Long Lunch 26/09/2018
Photo: NZ Tiny Homes Facebook.

Prefabs and tiny homes could give New Zealanders another option to own property in expensive markets like Auckland, suggests PrefabNZ.

“There just needs to be more variety than just a four-bedroom detached house with a 30-year mortgage,” says Pamela Bell, chief executive of PrefabNZ.

The housing alternative has certainly caught New Zealand by storm, particularly in a country where the average asking price is creeping towards $600,000. 

Tiny portable houses are garnering more attention on TradeMe, Facebook and Youtube. One 55-square metre home featured on TradeMe boasts double glazed windows, full insulation and double sliding doors – all for the modest price of $50,000. 

PrefabNZ, the industry association of housing prefabricators, suggests that many homeowners could expand their property or help out extended family with a dwelling in their backyard.

“You might want to put your mother-in-law in the backyard, or you might want to put your son or daughter there with their young children,” Ms Bell told RadioLIVE.

A 55-square metre home listed on TradeMe.

Home designers have been invited by PrefabNZ to compete in a contest to design the best complementary home in under 65 square metres. The homes, affectionately called “snugs”, will be voted on by the public to determine the winner.

Six of the designers have already been selected to receive pre-consent approval from Auckland Council to make it easier for the public to purchase them.

According to PrefabNZ, nearly 11 percent of New Zealand’s housing is significantly under-utilised and could be partitioned to deliver 180,000 additional dwellings.

“We just simply need to be able to create more options for our future homeowners,” says Ms Bell. 

Listen to the full interview with Pamela Bell above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.