29 November 2017

The Tiny House Movement is getting bigger and bigger

British homes are getting smaller. A recent study by  (This link will open in a new window)Find me a Floor shows houses in England have less space than any other country in Europe, with an average of just 71.9 square metres compared to 130 square metres in the US.

A revolution is ripping the corners of the British housing market, with more people opting for a simpler, cheaper, and more condensed way of life. The Tiny House Movement has found its way over to the UK from the US and could substantially change the way we approach our living space, making housing more accessible and sustainable.

As the housing shortage in the UK continues, is it time for a new way of living? We explore the impact a move to tiny houses could have for our younger generations.

What is the Tiny House Movement?

The social movement that started in the US more than a decade ago was pioneered by a group of people who chose to downsize the space they live in, enabling a simpler, more efficient and significantly cheaper way of life.

In the UK, the movement has taken longer to catch on, but we're starting to see more people buying tiny homes here too. In Britain, it's most common for people to build them in their back gardens to rent out as holiday lets, use them for extra space or give them to their kids to live in.

How the Tiny House Movement could help

In an era when the average deposit on a house is more than the average first-time buyer's annual salary, many under-35s are feeling priced out of the next stage in their lives. With the rising cost of living, especially in the more in-demand cities, becoming a property owner can seem like an impossible feat. Tiny homes could be the answer.

Leading the movement on this side of the pond is Tiny House UK, who have put together a build-your-own house kit, which boasts all the regular domestic features, with composting toilet and kitchen units as extra. They are cosy, cheap to run, and cost from just £6,500 to buy outright.

This could also be the solution for the  (This link will open in a new window)rising costs of student accommodation, the average weekly rent for purpose-built student accommodation in the UK rose 23% from £120 to £147 between 2009-2010 and 2015-2016. Buying a tiny home outright for students could save up to £10,000 over the three years they are at university.

Where can you put a Tiny House?

The typical tiny home is between 10 and 40 square feet and can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. They can be fun, and many people opt to design their own. Not limited to traditional structures, tiny homes can be built on land, in trees and even on water.

Bio-architects in Russia recently created the DD16, a micro-building designed to be built in remote areas with extreme weather. Installed on a series of pontoons, it seemingly floats (although actually stands) near the banks of the river, for a sense of adventure whenever you leave your front door.

If we're to take tiny homes further in the UK, we too must find innovative ways to work with our landscape. While people are increasingly using their gardens to build tiny homes, you still need planning permission to turn these into residences. The same applies when building a tiny home on private land.

Mark Burton from Tiny House UK thinks he has the answer, and is currently working on building tiny villages. He's calling for councils to make better use of the thousands of pockets of unused, overgrown land around the country.

How can you fund a Tiny House?

You can't currently get a mortgage for a tiny home, although as they rise in popularity, this may well change. Depending on your financial situation and credit rating, you could get a personal loan to buy your property.

The personal loan cannot be used to purchase land - it can only be used to purchase the tiny home itself. Talk to a financial advisor to find the best option for you.

Whether you're looking for temporary dwellings at a significantly reduced price or fancy a simpler, more sustainable life, it may be time to downsize.

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