Can Tiny Homes Solve a Big Problem?

The UK is facing a housing crisis, thanks in part to the fact that house prices have risen faster than wages, pricing a lot of people out of the market.

While many places throughout the UK have enough homes and reasonable prices, cities in particular struggle to cater for the number of people who move to the area for work, who then need affordable housing.

Mashroom is a great place to start if you’re looking for somewhere to rent as new homes are added all the time. We also offer first-time-buyers great advice if you’re looking to get on the property ladder the more traditional way.  

We’ve also looked at alternative ways to get on the property ladder, from buying with friends to swapping your way to your dream home

But the fact is that while the government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes each year, only 250,000 were built in 2019, which was the highest amount in a decade. 2020 then saw a significant drop in building due to lock downs. 

So could the Tiny Homes Movement be the solution to our housing needs?

What is the Tiny Homes Movement?

A tiny home is just that – a very, very small home! 

Starting in the USA as part of a growing trend towards minimalism, tiny homes are, according to the 2018 International Residential Code, ‘a dwelling unit with a maximum of 37 square metres (400sq ft) of floor area, excluding lofts’.

Tiny homes are: 

  • Cheaper to buy. They average around £2,500, which means that you could buy your home outright, without worrying about repayments, which would reduce your monthly outgoings
  • Cheaper to run. As they’re smaller, tiny homes require a lot less energy, so you will save on bills
  • More energy efficient. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint, so you’re doing your bit to help the UK hit those net zero targets!  If you have a tiny home that you want to rent out, be sure your EPC is up-to-date!
  • Space efficient. You’ll probably buy fewer items as you won’t have the space for lots of stuff, saving you more money in the long run. If you rent out your tiny home to boost your income, make sure your tenants have contents insurance, as fewer items will be even more precious
  • Movable. You can get tiny homes that have wheels, so they are literally movable, making moving infinitely easier! 

What are the downsides of a tiny home?

  • Finding a site. Finding the land can be expensive, whether you buy or rent a site. You will then need planning permission to build your tiny home or permission to park your movable home there, which can be tricky to get
  • Less space. It goes without saying, but you are massively downsizing, which might not suit your lifestyle, so think carefully before making that leap
  • Limited privacy. Tiny homes tend to be quite open plan, so if you have a family or like to have people to stay over regularly, it’s worth being aware of that
  • Not an investment. They don’t accrue in value the way a normal house does, so while you are saving money, a tiny home isn’t a long-term investment. If you are looking for an investment, a traditional home is still your best bet
  • Staying power. Physically, tiny homes don’t last as long as traditional homes. They can last somewhere between 30-50 years, which is why they don’t make a good long term investment. We always recommend Home Emergency Insurance for any property you own, but make sure that your tiny home qualifies

Should I get a tiny home?

As a first step on the housing ladder, a tiny home could be a solution, as you will be able to save an awful lot of money without having to worry about rent or mortgage repayments or large bills. You’ll be able to save a lot more towards a deposit on a traditional

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However, that is on the assumption that you are able to find land somewhere fairly cheap to put your home and that you don’t waste a lot of time and money on planning permission. This could also affect where you live, as cities don’t have a lot of space available for your tiny home, so you would be limited as to where you could live or committed to a long commute.

A tiny home is a lifestyle choice. While tiny homes could house more people in the same footprint as a traditional home, it’s not necessarily what everyone would want. Ultimately, if you’re looking to invest for your future, traditional properties remain your best bet as they do accrue in value. 

Whether you’re a first time landlord or old hand, Mashroom can make your land-lording life earlier with free listings and access to all the services you could need, from Rent Guarantee Insurance and Home Emergency Insurance, to Gas Safety Certification and EICRs.

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