Where are these communities?
Well, we've done some feasibility studies in places people have indicated they want to live (mostly near Canberra and the South Coast), and nothing has stood up to scrutiny yet. It's been an education discovering the doozys councils can throw in the way (like an extra $1 million to add acceleration/deceleration lanes onto a highway entrance). However there's a current (April 2021) possibility near Newcastle – 6 lovely acres beside a river, on the edge of a small village. We need expressions of interest from people who might want to live near Newcastle ASAP. Click the link at the top right and type NEWCASTLE in your message so we can send some more info very shortly.
Who would want to live in a tiny house community?
For singles or couples, wanting to be able to save or build up a bit of equity without spending half their income on rent, they can be perfect (so long as they're close enough to work). And for those who've retired, or are near retirement but have never owned a house, this provides an opportunity to own a house (on wheels, or a bit larger on footings) and land, rather than waste your super on paying rent.
Single mums with one or two kids have also indicated this would be perfect for them. Families with several teenagers are not really suited to tiny houses, but might fit into a small 2-3 bedroom house.
Can I rent if I can't afford to buy?
Yes. We're planning to have a proportion of sites with small houses available for rental. Potentially these will be owned by community housing providers or individual investors.
Are there on-going costs?
Yes, as with all properties. This is similar to a body corporate arrangement. There will be weekly fees to cover rates, maintenance, management, insurance of common areas and most utilities (water, sewer, waste). These will be approximately $75/household/week. Electricity will be separately metered and supplemented by a community solar system to reduce costs.
Do I have to buy a tiny house from you?
No. You can buy a tiny house from any tiny house builder, or build your own. They must be registerable, with an engineer's certificate for structural soundness, or fit the relocatable house construction code in NSW. They will need to fit with some specific requirements. Contact us to find out more.
What employment opportunities exist?
Every park needs at least two part-time managers, plus a groundsperson. Micro enterprise opportunities exist such as a general store, produce sales, bee-keeping, aquaculture, chickens, handyperson etc.
Living in a community gives a sense of belonging, provides a support network and reduces depression. Many of those who've responded to our survey have indicated that their preference is to live in community.
Our housing model comes under caravan park regulations, enabling tiny house owners to live permanently in their house on wheels (something that isn't permitted outside caravan parks in most of Australia, except on family property... yet). Those who need a bit more space can purchase a small prebuilt home. This is not a regular caravan park though, where residents can be evicted if the park ownership changes, and site fees can be exorbitant. Our model, based on an existing, working model in NSW, enables residents to become shareholders who own their land and have the right to live there forever, or sell and move on.
How much will a site cost?
It depends on where the land is. We were aiming to have fully serviced sites from $35,000 up to $50,000, but the reality is more like $60,000 to $80,000 unless we buy land in more remote areas, which is not what people want.
Can I sell my site if I want to move?
Absolutely! And if you have a tiny house on wheels, you can either sell it or take it with you – a much better way to move house!
How big is a site?
That will depend on the size and location of the property, but a minimum of 120m2, usually around 180-200m2 for individual sites, plus shared ownership of the common areas.
What makes them sustainable?
Glad you asked!
Just being small is sustainable, using less resources to build and to run. Very little energy is needed to heat and cool a well-designed small house, and these will use small reverse cycle air-conditioning units, and possibly pellet heaters. Grid-connect renewable power with battery backup will be an important part of minimising on-going costs and impact while maintaining consistent access to electricity.
Rainwater will be collected for gardens, hot water can be solar heated; grey water and kitchen waste could be treated through biogas digesters and reused for fertilising and irrigating gardens; reticulated worm composting toilets will be the norm in an off-grid community, with mains sewer in a township.
From an economic perspective, low upfront costs and low on-going costs mean the possibility of financial freedom for owners, with opportunity for both employment and micro-business within the community model.
The park model is also financially sustainable, being a mix of long term residential, short term and tourist sites that provides ongoing income to the management company, for maintenance of the grounds and infrastructure upgrades.
What facilities will these parks have?
Again, that will depend on the location of the park and the desires of the community. But all parks will have a community room, plus a large workshop, and community garden areas.