The small homes that could play a big role in solving regional WA’s housing crisis 

Gerrit Ballast and Peter Ballast are starting up a new business in Albany that will prefabricate small cabins or ‘tiny’ homes ready to be transported on site by a truck.  (Photo: Michael Roberts )

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Not so long ago, most Australians would have scoffed at the idea of living in a home that was no bigger than the size of an AFL goal square.

But with property listings at historical lows and soaring rental values pricing lower income earners out of the market, smaller or ‘tiny’ homes could play an increasingly bigger role in WA’s housing mix.

One Albany tradie is looking to capitalise on the new demand for tiny homes, starting up a new business that will build cabins as small as 21sqm.

Operating out of a warehouse in Milpara, Peter Ballast has been busy working on the finishing touches of his first prototype home.

The cabin-style abode is 6m wide and 3.5m long, with space for a toilet, kitchenette and bedroom.

Larger homes standing at 31sqm and 42sqm, where there would be room for a second bedroom and laundry are also on the table.

Mr Ballast hopes Aussie Bush Cabins will plug a gap in the market and help with the local housing shortage.

“We want to accommodate a range of people with different needs,” he said.

“Anywhere from a disabled person who needs to stay on their mum and dad’s property, to ageing parents who want to live close to family.”

Alternative housing options have been in the spotlight in recent days following the official opening of Accordwest’s Tiny Houses project in Bunbury.

The state-first trial unveiled its three chalet-style homes on Saturday, offering more affordable living options for renters doing it tough.

WA rents skyrocketing 

Latest statistics from property analysts CoreLogic show Perth rentals have risen more than 16 per cent compared to the same time last year, the second largest increase of all the capital cities.

Planning to prefabricate the cabins in a workshop and transport the finished product on-site, Mr Ballast wants to make his chalets as affordable as possible.  

“I’m marketing them as a transportable cabin,” he said.

“The patio would have to come off, but the rest goes on a truck to wherever.

“Depending on the design, we could build the 6mx3.5m home for about $60,000.”

It would only take about 4-5 weeks to construct one of the cabins, according to Mr Ballast.

The tradie of 10 years’ experience said he wasn’t aware of any other builders in the Great Southern offering a similar product.

“I’ve heard builders have had requests for them, but they are far too busy at the moment, and they don’t really want to do them,” he said.

 

 

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