Interest growing for tiny homes

TRAILER HOME: The tiny, custom-made house from the outside.
David Walker

TRAILER HOME: The tiny, custom-made house from the outside.

The tiny house movement is taking off in New Zealand as people look for cheaper and more sustainable ways of living, an advocate for the small buildings says.

Christchurch man Bevan Thomas built his own "tiny house" from scratch last year and had seen "hundreds" through it over the past few months.

He believed the tiny house movement was becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand as people looked for ways to live with less impact on the planet, or to avoid being "tied to a half a million dollar mortgage".

LITTLE AND LARGE: Bevan Thomas, pictured with his son Israel, says ‘"hundreds" of people have shown interest in his ...
David Walker

LITTLE AND LARGE: Bevan Thomas, pictured with his son Israel, says ‘"hundreds" of people have shown interest in his custom-made tiny house.

"There's been phenomenal interest in it. It's surprising actually how well the concept is taking off."

Thomas built his moveable house after returning to Christchurch to look after family and finding himself at a loose end.

He and his wife had raised their three children on a yacht in Australia and he wanted to show others that they could live comfortably in a small space without having to sacrifice anything.

"I wanted to show people that you can live in a smaller place. It's not a drop in life quality."

Thomas' tiny house was constructed on a custom-built trailer and was 2.5 metres wide, 4.2m high and 7m long - allowing it to be moved on to any section without any special building or driving permits.

The finished house includes two small mezzanine bedrooms, a living area, a full kitchen and a bathroom complete with a shower and a composting toilet.

It is powered and connected to water supplies in the same way as a caravan.

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Thomas began advertising the tiny house on Trade Me about four weeks ago and said he was close to selling it for about $75,000.

He planned to build more and was interested in helping others get into the tiny house movement.

"The biggest demographic is young professional couples or single ladies who love the idea of just having their own space like this."

The Christchurch Tiny House Facebook page, which he helped set up, already had nearly 400 fans and more than 60 people attended the group's first meeting last year.

Some were in the process of building their own tiny houses, while others were considering living in one while they saved up for a proper house.

"They are the future for a lot of people, even if it's a stepping-stone to a house - we don't have one of those in this country at the moment."

He hoped participants would be responsible in how they build and used their tiny homes, though.

"Regulation will destroy it. The reason they exist is because of over regulation in the housing industry."

 - The Press

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