How Modular Buildings Can Help the Housing Crisis

Is owning a home becoming impossible for the first-time Australian buyer? With median house prices in Sydney now around the $1 million mark (and other major cities not all that far behind), owning a home could well become a financial impossibility. It has also been suggested that there is an undersupply of homes of a suitable size and location for many Australians, making ownership all the more difficult. There are the usual tried and true real estate tips for those who are looking to purchase their first home. You could move to one of the many subdivisions that now fringe most Australian cities, but a possible lack of local facilities and a time-consuming commute are obvious deterrents. You could also go against the home ownership mindset and become a long-term renter. However, modular buildings can be a viable way to combat the housing crisis, combining affordability with style and location. So how can modular buildings help?

The Cost of Land

There are many variables in the cost of an actual dwelling. Two homes sitting side by side on similar-sized plots of land might have disproportionate construction costs, and yet the cost of the land is likely to be comparable. Logically, the closer to the city centre a plot of land is, the more expensive it will be. Modular buildings allow for existing land to be utilised, even when that land already contains a home.

Adding an Additional Home to an Existing Plot of Land

A granny flat or shipping container home can quickly be added to an existing plot of land, where zoning permissions exist. Existing home owners might be able to subdivide their properties, allowing for the smaller plot of land to be owned by another party. When this is not possible, a multi-occupancy zoning might be in effect. This allows a smaller dwelling to be positioned on the property, even if the occupants of that second dwelling are not able to own the actual land.

Sometimes It's About Who You Know

Such an arrangement works best if you happen to have a friend or family member with a suitably sized property, and if you and they are happy to be neighbours. It's certainly a big if, but it's a possibility. Modular homes work best in these instances as they are designed to take up less ground space, and this is particularly true with modular homes made from repurposed shipping containers, which are surprisingly stylish.

Modular "Essential" Rooms

The concept of a modular building does not need to be limited to the dwelling itself. It's possible to rent or purchase modular rooms, which make almost any space immediately liveable. The rooms in question are the essentials, namely the kitchen and bathroom, and are standalone rooms that can be installed into any structure with electricity and water. This allows for a suitably zoned industrial building to become home. An inner-city warehouse is much cheaper than an inner-city apartment. By adding these modular rooms, it allows the occupants to move in and complete the renovations themselves over time, greatly reducing the cost of obtaining an inner-city home.

The Question of Zoning

Such projects are, of course, only feasible if the structure has been zoned to permit conversion to residential purposes, or at least has a mixed purpose zoning (allowing it to be either a commercial or residential property).

So while modular buildings are not the only solution for the housing crisis, they do present some interesting possibilities.

About Me

Optimising Sheet Metal in Building Projects and Other Manufacturing Blogs

Welcome! My name is Fiona. I'm a designer who works in marketing, but in my youth, I dreamed of being an architect. I was especially interested in combining interesting materials into buildings. In this blog, I want to explore that old love. I plan to write about using sheet metal in building, and I may go into the equipment involved or write about other industrial concepts as well. I hope to help you with every aspect of the process from shopping to building. Thank you for reading, and if you like my posts, please share them with others!