The Tiny House Movement

by David Northmore

Australia has a growing housing problem. Over the last three decades, homes in Australia have become significantly less affordable. Home ownership without debt is becoming more and more elusive for many Australians. However, an emerging trend may be shifting the housing market.

The tiny house movement, spread from Britain to the United States, has been becoming more popular in Australia as more Australians see the economic and environmental benefits of living in smaller spaces. In fact, it became so popular that in 2016, LifeStyle HOME premiered a series called Tiny House Australia, which followed eight Australian couples as they searched for the perfect tiny home. With their affordable, eco-friendly and creative benefits, it is no wonder this movement is growing in popularity.


What is the tiny house movement? Essentially it is a social movement and real estate trend where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in and live in smaller, often extremely small homes.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Commsec, Australian houses are the largest in the world at an average of 243 square metres.  In contrast to that, the average size of a tiny house is no more than 46 square metres.

Tiny houses allow for simpler living in a smaller and more efficient space and more and more Australians are joining the movement for environmental reasons, financial reasons and the desire for more time and freedom.


There is a growing interest in these eco-friendly and affordable homes. Many individuals do not want to go into debt to buy their home. They find it overwhelming and stressful to take on a lifetime’s worth of debt for a living space and with a tiny house or a shipping container home, you do not need to live in debt. Tiny houses, especially shipping container homes, are extremely affordable. There are almost 10 million spare shipping containers in the world that are not being used and can make excellent living space.


Additionally, as society begins to focus on caring for the environment and finding greener solutions, more and more people are seeing the benefits of living in an environmentally friendly home. Tiny homes leave a smaller carbon footprint. An average Australian home emits 18 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the EPA.  Tiny houses have a minimal impact on the environment.


Tiny houses come in all shapes and sizes but they are extremely strong and secure. In fact, many are recycled shipping containers, which are some of the strongest shelters in the world. With the creativity of designers and architects, tiny homes are well designed to create living spaces that do not feel cramped or small. Tiny homes are also portable and easy to move, should you want to. Many tiny homes and shipping container homes are on wheels or can be quickly loaded onto a truck. This added benefit cuts down on moving costs and allow for a more adventurous lifestyle!

Overall, living in a tiny home or a shipping container home will help to save you time and money. You do not need to spend as much time on cleaning or maintenance. In fact, shipping container homes are built from materials that are built to last, so there is less upkeep than with a traditional home. Utility bills such as electricity and water are also less expensive in a tiny home than compared to a traditional one. Overall, the minimalist and simplistic nature of tiny homes offer a less stressful and more intentional way of life.

The tiny house movement is more than about space, size and money, of course. It’s about living a simpler life style. Many Australians are discovering that quality of a home is more important than the size. It is no longer necessary to have an enormous home to live a happy life. When you live in a tiny house, you are not just decluttering your home but you are decluttering your life. It will help you focus on the essentials of what is important to you and your family. Less space, less possessions, less time stressing over cleaning and maintenance allows you to focus more on doing the things you love, spending time with the people you love and living a more peaceful and stress free life.

The tiny house movement is becoming more popular but it has not become mainstream just yet. Individuals who want to build a tiny home or shipping container home often need to DIY the project or find a specialized company or contractor to help assist them with the planning, design and building of the home. However, as demand for these tiny homes increases, more architects, contractors and designers are beginning to specialize in creating tiny houses and shipping container homes.

With rising housing costs, a more confusing world and more focus on sustainable living, it is no surprise that more Australians are looking for a simpler way to live. Without a doubt this trend is just beginning here in Australia and we will most likely see many more innovative and unique tiny homes all over the country in the next few years.