Is this the future for houses? As land In Austria becomes less available!
More storage space, less technology: where the trend in tiny houses could be heading.
In view of high property prices, some people are thinking twice about buying a house. Some see a tiny house as an alternative. This form of living is not a bargain.
For some, tiny houses are a buzzword, for others a tragic consequence of the sharp rise in property prices in recent years. And for some, it is the epitome of a sustainable lifestyle that conserves resources and land. And because the tiny house has evolved over the last ten years from a curiosity known from the USA to an actual housing alternative for space savers, providers who prefabricate such houses and then erect them on site within a very short space of time have mushroomed.
However, in the last year and a half, it has become difficult to obtain financing even for small cabins. Affordable plots of land for tiny houses have also become rare.
Wohnwagon” recently launched the “Clara” model
The Wohnwagon company has been involved for many years. It produces around 50 houses a year in Gutenstein in Lower Austria. The target group is childless couples, “but we also have a lot of enquiries from young families,” says Managing Director Theresa Mai. Wohnwagon has recently added the Clara model to its range, which incorporates feedback and experiences from customers.
The Clara has 50 square metres and its own bedroom. A further sleeping area can be separated off if required. The entrance area, where jackets and shoes can be taken off without having to stand in the middle of the living room, has also been enlarged at the customer’s request. And more storage space is always needed in a tiny house anyway, “even if many people initially dream of downsizing and think they don’t need anything more anyway,” says Mai.
Something else has been learned at Wohnwagon in recent years: the technology at Clara has been reduced, for example in terms of the control technology for the heating and the photovoltaic system, in order to minimise maintenance costs. According to forecasts, skilled labour will become significantly more expensive in the future, says Mai, and the company wants to be prepared for this.
Even if many people approach their dream of a tiny house with this hope: This type of home is generally not a bargain. With a solid wood kitchen from a carpenter, bathroom and photovoltaic system, Clara costs 220,000 euros. The self-build house is available from 170,000 euros. “Of course, you can also get living space for less money,” says Mai, but 80 per cent of the costs are incurred after furnishing due to maintenance and energy consumption, so you have to look at every building over its entire life cycle. “And that’s where we are unbeatable,” Mai is convinced.
Graphic designer Simone Kamleitner, who herself lived in a 27 square metre tiny house for five years, knows that land is scarce. That’s why she and her company Me & Me are currently building an entire micro house village on a 6000 square metre leasehold plot in Schneegattern in Upper Austria. Twelve micro houses in timber frame construction are planned here. They are either 30, 50, 70 or 90 square metres in size, with the latter designed for families. Prices range from 170,000 to 350,000 euros. Half of the houses have already been sold, three have even been occupied, all with 50 square metres or more; “nobody has dared to go over the 30 square metres yet,” says Kamleitner.
Even with a living space of 30 square metres, you don’t have to do without anything. However, proper planning and a large window front are important. For her, this form of living fits in with modern times: “You don’t have to live in a house for a hundred years,” says Kamleiter, adding that a tiny house allows you to better adapt to your current living situation. And on top of that, you are forced to downsize and declutter regularly.
The Carinthian company Riwo House has also been offering Tiny Houses for many years – initially aimed at campsites, its customers now also include private individuals who want to live in the houses all year round. The average living space is 36 square metres; good insulation is important for the small houses so that they don’t get too hot in summer, says Managing Director Mario Schwagerle, as is functionality. Visitors to his showroom are always “surprised at how much you can fit into 36 square metres”.
Demand is currently enormous. Schwagerle receives five to ten enquiries a day. The catch is that the enquiries often don’t stop there. A 36-square-metre house costs him around 70,000 euros. Many people can’t afford that after all. So in the end, the dream of a tiny house remains a dream for some. (Franziska Zoidl, 1.2.2024)
Source: Der Standard – translated from the German
Photo – Wohnwagon