Many grey nomads have long been concerned at the ‘invasion’ of caravan parks by cabins … but worse could be on the way.
With owners chasing the big dollars, the number of sites for genuine travellers has gradually been eroded in many parks with higher-priced cabins ‘stealing’ their spots.
Now, a developer is reportedly snapping up caravan parks to fill them with tiny homes available for low-income households to rent — in what is claimed as a first for Australia.
Lei Feng, director of Preer Property Group, told news.com.au that he got the idea on a trip to the US three years ago. There are an estimated 24 million Americans living in long-term housing in ‘trailer parks’ … and Mr Feng says it could work here.
He claims the Australian government isn’t addressing the housing affordability crisis and the tiny homes offer a ‘desperately needed solution’.
There are six caravan parks in the developer’s Victorian portfolio so far. The tiny homes are being offered for rent for between $200 and $230, compared to an average cost of $450 to lease a one-bedroom unit in Melbourne.
The developer told news.com.au that there are almost 2500 caravan parks around Australia, with some owned by publicly-listed companies but most run by mum and dad operators.
“We can acquire those caravan parks as most owners are close to retirement age and start revamping the landscape, start replacing some of the old caravans by putting some brand new ones in that are a little more architecturally driven mobile homes,” Mr Feng told news.com.au. “Our job is to invest in the caravan parks … we don’t want to lock people in a tiny box and for them to never come out, we are going to crank up the quality of housing at the most affordable price.”
Tiny homes save on building costs as they are made in a factory and shipped to site. They are generally about 42sq m, and often include large windows to make the space feel bigger and big external decking.