How Tiny Houses Can Help the Sunshine Coast Housing Crisis?

Tiny footprint. Tiny running costs. Big impact.

Tiny homes offer an affordable, flexible, and sustainable alternative housing solution. A solution that the Sunshine Coast region is in desperate need of. 

Understanding the Sunshine Coast Housing Crisis

Sadly, the region is in the grip of a devastating housing crisis. Local support groups report an ever-increasing number of people seeking emergency accommodation due to unaffordability or lack of availability.

The beautiful coastline and lush hinterland make an inviting destination for most people, especially those in the southern states who have spent much of their past two years confined to their homes. The Sunshine Coast Council suggests that 24 sun-seekers move to the region every day. They estimate that the shire will require 100,000 more dwellings by 2041. Noosa Shire council boasts similar population growth.

This increase in demand, along with record low-interest rates over the previous two financial years, has caused housing prices to skyrocket. The average sale price on the Sunshine Coast rose from $579,231 in June 2020 to $887,587 in June 2022. Average rental prices ballooned from $500 per week to $686 per week over the same period. Currently, the country has an average  rental vacancy rate of a minuscule 1%, with the Sunshine Coast among the tightest markets recording a staggering 0.6%. All of this, while we experience lower than state average incomes.  

Off with the Grid offers tiny homes for as little as $40,000 – much less than the deposit required to purchase a traditional home. Loan repayment of less than the average week’s rent could have a tiny home paid off in less than 5 years.

“Sustainable design includes buildings, streets, and neighbourhoods that:

A simpler, more authentic lifestyle

Tiny homes are completely customisable and can include skylights, louvres, or air conditioning. Plumbing and electricity can be customised to fit location and tenure, and capacity, and design can be adapted to suit singles, couples, or families of all arrangements and abilities.

The entire region is ripe for a review of how we live, work and care for our environment. Government bodies, the corporate sector, and the general public are eager to direct policy and development to encourage a gentler, more harmonious way of life.

Living through a pandemic has left many people questioning the hamster wheel of life and seeking a more minimalist, experience-rich lifestyle. Choosing to live tiny allows people to scale down and hold onto only that which brings them true joy. The reduction in home size and personal possessions brings with it a reduction in maintenance and expenditure, thereby gifting people the time, money, and freedom to live more meaningful, stress-free lives.

High Density greenspace living without high-rises

The Sunshine Coast typically consists of low-density neighbourhoods where access to services and employment requires a high reliance on private vehicle usage, including access to the public transport network. Most of our population resides along the coastal strip with key employment nodes in centres, industrial estates, and employment hubs such as hospitals, shopping centres, and the university

Newer communities typically consist of single dwellings on smaller-sized lots where private outdoor green spaces have sadly been sacrificed to allow for greater density.

While lot sizes have been reduced, home sizes have remained the same or, in many cases, grown. Tiny homes allow for a greater number of dwellings in the same area whilst retaining green spaces around them. 

Tiny homes on wheels allow further flexibility as they can be rearranged to aid environmental rehabilitation and sustainability. Single or collections of tiny homes can be located on small pieces of existing council or state-owned land in already populated areas giving residents access to vital infrastructure and integrating social housing into established communities.

The Noosa Council has recognised the need to be more flexible in its zoning regulations and has identified tiny homes as one of a raft of solutions outlined in their draft housing strategy. 

"A8.6 Relocatable Home Parks Review which zones relocatable home parks are consistent in. Small collections of tiny homes might for example be appropriate on State, Council, or community-owned lands. This would facilitate the parking of small manufactured homes where there are appropriate facilities and services for residents, and casual surveillance, such as at sports grounds, provided it is properly managed and the safety of residents can be assured. Review the Special Residential Code to ensure relocatable homes are providing modest housing rather than large villas."

The extensive document mentions the value of tiny homes in the region more than once. This is a powerful indicator that the tiny home lifestyle is being embraced and recognised outside our community which has long appreciated the overwhelming benefits of tiny home living.

Creating Community

Residents of the Sunshine Coast have mastered the art of creating families from friends. We support each other to live our best lives, particularly in times of need. Tiny Homes allow the creation of villages where people, regardless of age, ability, gender, or status, can provide support and mentorship for each other. 

This has the potential future benefit of preventing people from finding themselves among the 50,000 Queenslanders currently registered for Social Housing. Tiny home villages can also provide a sense of belonging, which enhances people’s lives. This is consistent with the region’s desire to provide all residents with a good quality of life. Similarly, tiny homes may provide an alternative option for ageing residents not requiring nor desiring aged care. 

A tiny home, located among others or as a complement to an existing dwelling, allows its resident to downsize whilst remaining independent but supported. The flow-on effect is that their previously occupied dwelling, often in a desirable location, becomes available to new owners or tenants.

Environmentally Conscious Living

Communities globally are being encouraged to reduce their environmental impact. The Sunshine Coast Council is at the forefront of this movement, building Australia’s largest greenfield CBD and boasting a 5-star green energy rating. The integration of tiny home living adds to the region’s sustainability by reducing carbon output and the impact on finite resources. Tiny homes allow residents to live sustainably and within their means. With the addition of water tanks and solar panels, the residents enjoy little to no water and energy expenses. For those in social housing who are struggling to make ends meet, let alone save for any sort of future, this saving can have a major impact.

Real-time Solution to the Housing Crisis

Tiny homes require much shorter approval and build times than traditional homes meaning a family in crisis could have a roof over their heads in a matter of weeks as opposed to months or even years. Being mobile allows residents the flexibility to follow better work or life opportunities should they arise without displacing them all over again. A safe home during times of change or crisis gives residents stability which helps prevent further emotional or life upheaval.

Choosing to live tiny is an opportunity to embrace a simpler life. For those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the current housing crisis, living tiny may present an answer to their wishes and prayers and an opportunity to build a safe, secure, and hope-filled future.