One developer is purchasing old caravan parks in Victoria – with plans to do the same in other states – and replacing aged caravans with freshly designed, newly built tiny houses in the remodeled parks.
Simultaneously, a construction firm is planning a pop-up country village of tiny houses in an experiment being posed to councils on the east coast of NSW as houses for young people, retirees possessing fixed incomes and those who need less expensive housing.
In an era of both record-high house rents and prices, both plans are intended to supply homes for those in need of budget housing.
This makes sense, said developer Lei Feng, director of Preer Property Group, who has purchased six caravan parks in metropolitan Melbourne regions such as Rosebud, Pakenham and Cranbourne, and is in negotiations for three more.
He notes that there are 2481 caravan parks in Australia and 90 per cent of people living in permanent, non-holiday parks. Some have resided there 20 to 30 years. Many of these parks, he said, have fallen into disrepair and are mum-and-dad operations, so they need conversion.
He devised the scheme of investors purchasing the parks and then enhancing the housing for sale or rent after going to the US and finding that 24 million citizens reside permanently in trailer parks there. In these parts, the 2016 Census revealed that 10,685 are long-term caravan park dwellers.
His small 40-square-metre homes are constructed in China for $100,000 to $120,000 and installed in the parks for sale or for rent at about $250 a week for a two- or three-bedroom home. This, he says, is about half the price of a customary house.
This financial model, he said, aids investors, supplies good value, and aids folks with affordable housing problems—improving their lives, not just offering short-term monetary solutions.
He also points out the quality of the homes themselves, which feature well-planned space between homes, and they’re designed with a small footprint, a double-roof height, floorboards and open-plan living.
Also, construction company Ieshahomes has lodged an application with the Coffs Harbour City Council on the NSW Mid North Coast to construct a pilot pop-up village of tiny houses on a rent-to-buy deal that will lend owners a foothold in the property market.
Company director Jon Benelle is a homeless person who resides in his auto on the riverbank in Belligen. He conjured the scheme in the wake of eight years of constructing customary houses in both Australia and New Zealand, but witnessing an acute shortage of affordable houses for rental or purchase on the NSW coast.
He has a Development Application under consideration to situate 68 Australian-designed and made sustainable, fire and cyclone-rated tiny homes in a manufactured village on eight hectares of rural land near Nymboida, 44 kilometres south-west of Grafton. If this proceeds as planned, he plans to construct seven more between the Central Coast and the Gold Coast, and then expand farther.
If it works, the globe’s most modern pop-up village will be presented to Australia and to the international market, said Benelle. He says that these environmentally sound houses could be the solution for the homeless, the van people, the aged, youth and anyone having difficulty finding housing.
He said that applications have come in already from those who want to live in the manufactured village and have generated interest from other east-coast councils. Then they plan to try the concept throughout Australia and then New Zealand—and, via Austrade, to England as well.
Both projects are intended to generate more affordable housing, though Feng’s project plans to supply a sizeable yield to investors of eight to 10 per cent per annum. With many caravan parks possessing spare, unused land, reconfiguring the parks can attain an increase of $150,000 of extra revenue in the first year, Feng stated.
Experts state that concerns of a whole new underclass of people being created residing in these caravan parks are without basis – at a time when people already inhabit parks.
Urban planner Peter Phibbs of the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning stated that his primary concerns regard the security of tenure of residents.
Ultimately, he stresses the fact that people need housing options—and that caravans are better than cars.
Image credits by Preer Property Group