$49,000 tiny houses could help ease affordable housing shortage, says micro-home maker

The small homes being sold on Amazon can be ‘stitched’ together to meet minimum size requirements

Nomad Micro Homes is selling 180-square-foot houses in a kit form | Photos: submitted

A Vancouver company is selling tiny, pre-fabricated homes that can be stitched togetherto meet minimum size requirements in the city and help alleviate the affordable housing shortage, according to Ian Kent, founder and CEO of Nomad Micro Homes.

The small two-storey houses measure about 180 square feet, while City of Vancouver zoning bylaw restricts the minimum size of a dwelling unit to 398 square feet. There are allowances for micro-suites of 320 square feet in specific areas of the city and as small as 250 square feet for social housing units in the troubled Downtown Eastside.

Nomads Cube units are modular components and two or three units could be joined to create larger living spaces, Kent said.

They can be stitched together,he said, adding that Nomad plans to introduce a larger version of Cube in 2020 that would meet city zoning. He envisions them being added as a secondary laneway house on existing single-family lots for rental income.

The Cube homes are currently being sold on Amazon for $49,000.

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Nomad sources materials and packages the homes in Vancouver. The homes are constructed of insulated steel panels and are flat-packed and assembled by the owner or by a contractor.

“It’s like IKEA furniture,” Kent explained.

The homes would require appliances, a heating system or hot water heater, which are not included, and also need plumbing and electrical hookups.

Land is not included. A typical residential building lot in Vancouver has an average price of more than $900,000.