If there’s a tiny home in your future, chances are the decision was at least partially a financial one. Most tiny home dwellers decide to buy a tiny home as a more financially attractive alternative to renting or buying a conventional home. Learning more about the cost of a Canadian tiny home is a vital step in your preparation. Whether you’re just starting out or exploring your options, finances always come into play.
If you want to buy a new tiny home in Canada, mid-range homes cost between $150,000 and $190,000. Tiny home options start at around $80,000 and can reach $200,000 and go even higher.
What factors impact the cost of a Canadian tiny home?
Many factors impact the cost of a tiny home in Canada. Here are a few, but this list is by no means exhaustive!
- Construction method – tiny homes can be built on wheels, as a modified shipping container, as pre-fab modules, or constructed on-site.
- Home usage – costs will fluctuate depending on what you demand from your home. For example, a home intended as a vacation rental doesn’t require the same level of appliances and storage solutions you would need in a family’s primary dwelling.
- Size – a 30’ x 8’ tiny home on wheels is very different from a 24’ x 20’ modular home.
- Heating and thermal retention – electric-powered forced air, propane, wood stoves, heat recovery systems, insulation level, etc.
- Luxury items and appliances – washing machines, dishwashers, shower/bath units, customized wood stoves, custom furniture, fridge/freezer, Murphy bed, etc.
- Builder – depending on the construction method and location, each builder charges a different base price, design fee and/or labour rate.
- Builder location – the tiny home movement started on the west coast, where you’ll often find more budget-friendly options. However, if you live on the eastern side of Canada, transportation fees (a significant sum!) should also be factored in.
- Design plan – many tiny homes come as pre-designed models, although you can often customize them to some extent. By nature, thinking up and creating a completely unique tiny home from scratch is more expensive.
- Regulatory standards – builders construct tiny homes to meet different standards. For example, CSA (Canadian Standards Association). Applying for certification costs builders tens of thousands of dollars and strictly following the standards often incurs more costs (which is completely justified!).
Price ranges for a Canadian tiny home and what you should expect
Based on our Readers’ Choice awards from December 2022, we split the cost of a Canadian tiny home into three ranges: low, middle and high. Below you’ll find a few examples of what your money can buy in each category.
Use this section to learn what sorts of Canadian tiny homes you can buy, and how much they cost. Please note, these costs reflect a “starting at” price for these particular models and pricing is subject to change.
Lowest cost for a Canadian tiny home: $80,000 to $150,000
It’s difficult to find a habitable tiny home for less than $100,000, but a few options exist.
Most Canadian tiny homes in this price bracket are container homes, homes intended to use as short-term rentals, petite THOWs, or cabin-style tiny homes. But they’re plenty enough for many people!
Check out a few examples of tiny homes in Canada that fall into this category.
At 220 sq. ft, this is a studio model that is cost-effective to ship anywhere in Canada. It’s 10’6×21 footprint makes it easy to place in many backyards.
A compact 1 bedroom garden suite, built from two 20’ HC container (9’6”) offering 320 sq ft. This small suite is ideal for smaller properties & budgets, making them ideal as in-law suites or income rental units.
255 sq ft on main floor with a 100 sq ft loft. CSA certified and designed to withstand frigid Canadian winters, this home features in floor heat, a propane fireplace and a composting toilet. The exterior has triple pane windows and metal siding.
At 352 sq ft, this tiny home includes a second loft for an office, den or guest room. This Gooseneck style standard open-concept design includes full-sized kitchen and bathroom outfitted with IKEA cabinetry and finishings, 2 queen loft bedrooms and washer/dryer hookup.
This 317 sq foot tiny home has a main floor master bedroom with 11’ vaulted barnboard ceilings. The bathroom has an incinerating toilet, built in cabinetry and washer/dryer combo. In the living room there is a custom-built sofa bed and as well as a locker area to store your outside gear. The home also features a secondary loft that can be used for storage or as an additional bedroom.
Mid-range cost for a tiny home in Canada: $150,000 to $200,000
The majority of Canadian tiny homes fall into this price bracket, and with good reason. Here, you’ll find dwellings that are affordable but practical and usually habitable year-round.
Canadian tiny homes falling between $150,000 and $200,000 are typically stock models on wheels. They’ll be constructed from pre-drafted plans (with a few personal touches, of course!). Most will be built in an indoor location and delivered to the customer.
At 300 sq ft, this tiny home has a main floor bedroom and a loft that can be used as an extra sleeping space or a spot for easy access storage.
At 423 sq ft, this tiny home has a main floor bedroom as well as double upper lofts. It also features a fold away wall-bed in the master bedroom with sound proofing insulation in the interior walls and loft floors.
At 384 sq ft, this tiny home has a large kitchen and walk up stairs to the loft bedroom with plenty of additional built-in storage. A bump out vanity was included to open the bathroom up giving additional space for movement and comfort.
This 355 sq. ft. tiny home features a main floor bedroom with tall vaulted ceilings, a private living room with fireplace, pull-out desk and eating area, chefs kitchen and abundance of windows and skylights. It also has a secondary loft, as well as a bathroom with a 4 ft. wide shower.
Bernice is a roomy 423 sq ft tiny home with 2 lofts, separated living room, dining nook, chefs kitchen, and full 3-piece bathroom. It also features custom cabinetry, a pull-out pantry, built-in garbage and recycling, quartz countertops, an abundance of lighting, storage stairs, and a skylight.
This tiny home is 380 sq ft with a main floor bedroom as well as a large sleeping loft. The raised living area provides extra storage and the kitchen includes all of the essentials while allowing for a dedicated space to eat at a table.
Even at 262 sq ft this tiny home still features a full ground-level bedroom as well as additional loft space. This house can be equipped with an off-grid set-up or plugged in to the grid. AC, propane or electric heating systems are available as options as well.
The 427 sq ft. Petra model tiny home has a main floor bedroom with a secret door through the cabinetry storage stairs at the rear, a large upper loft, secondary smaller loft with drop-foot desk and walk-through closet to the bathroom.
This 296 sq ft stock model comes with a set floorplan but plenty of customization options. It includes the option for a tub or shower, a full kitchen, a standing loft bedroom with a full wardrobe and integrated lighting and storage throughout. CSA Z240 certified or NFPA1192 or A277 certified as a modular home.
Highest costs for a tiny home in Canada: $200,000 to $290,000
The cost of a higher-end Canadian tiny home starts at around $200,000. These are the creme-de-la-creme, going beyond everyday necessities and bringing their owners a touch of luxury.
Tiny homes in this price region are usually highly tailored to you and come with a luxury finish. Most tiny homes built on a foundation on-site fall into this bracket too, once you account for all the costs of bringing the materials and labour to your location.
This 420 sqft tiny home on a foundation is built on site. It includes an open concept kitchen and living room with high vaulted ceilings and old-world charm design elements.
This custom 420 sq ft tiny home on wheels boasts 3 lofts (2 sleeping lofts and one office space), a glass atrium above a bathtub/shower, and a spacious chef’s kitchen with full-size appliances and a built-in chest freezer. It can function both on and off grid.
This 365 sqft fully custom tiny home on wheels includes luxury finishings and design details throughout. It comes with features like the “gearage” e-bike storage, a full autonomous solar system, onboard 100 gallon fresh and grey water tanks, UV & particulate water filtration system, hydronic in-floor heating and a mini split air conditioning system. A full kitchen and bathroom with soaker tub complete the home.
Why do tiny homes in Canada cost this much?
You might be surprised to find that tiny homes cost this much. Unfortunately, spending $10,000 to put a small cabin in the wilderness isn’t really feasible (despite what some documentaries might tell you).
Canadian container homes start at around $80,000, with smaller tiny homes on wheels starting at $130,000. High-end options exceed $200,000.
Tiny homes cost this much because they’re built as, well, homes. They’re far more than shells and bare cabins, containing all the elements of a traditional house, such as a kitchen, a bathroom, living space, and at least one place to sleep.
Like anything, the more a tiny home costs, the more you’ll get. It’s still worth doing your research and finding a builder who meets your needs and design ideas.
In short, going tiny is still a much more affordable option than renting or buying a conventional house. But it’s not quite as cheap as some make out!
Do Canadian tiny homes cost more now than they used to?
You might have noticed the average cost of a tiny home in Canada going up. It’s true, it has – but this is due to the same factors influencing many other costs.
Recent events (in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic) have impacted the supply chain, causing an increase in costs such as all the materials needed to produce a tiny home, including timber, metal, glass, appliances, and electronics components.
It also factors in labour rates. Builders (for your home) and specialist trades (trailer welders, electricians, plumbers, etc.) are in higher demand, meaning they cost more.
Finally, the cost of having a certified (such as CSA) tiny home constructed is also more expensive because even receiving a certification can cost builder tens of thousands of dollars.
Having said all that, a tiny home is still far (far!) more affordable than a ‘regular’ house in Canada.
How does the cost of a tiny home compare to a regular home?
At the start of 2023, the average Canadian home sold for $612,204. If you live near a large city, such as in the Greater Toronto Area, you’ll be seeing values closer to $1,000,000. This, next to the average salary, represents an unaffordable mountain to climb.
A tiny home is, of course, much smaller. However, with prices generally falling between the $150,000 and $200,000 mark, they’re significantly cheaper.
When comparing tiny homes to conventional homes, it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison, however. Firstly, a tiny home has a much higher cost per square foot because each square foot ‘works harder’ than in a conventional home. Secondly, it doesn’t come with land.
In reality, the money you save compared to a conventional home comes from the following areas:
- the additional rooms and empty space – tiny homes require less building materials; and
- the land (if you are leasing the space your tiny home is on).
Not buying the land for your tiny home (and instead renting it) is where most of the cost savings lie. That’s because in many parts of Canada, the cost of the land that a house is on can be the same or higher than the house itself. When you resell a conventional home at a higher price than you originally bought it, it’s really the land that appreciated in value while your home’s market worth actually went down.
With tiny homes, you’re able to do things differently. Because tiny homes are… well, tiny, they’re usually transportable, whether on wheels or a more permanent foundation.
Because builders can conveniently construct them in a warehouse/factory environment, costs come down significantly.
Freedom and mobility also means you can lease the land for your tiny home, for example in someone’s backyard, a tiny home community, or a year-round campground.
By leasing the land rather than buying it with the home, you significantly reduce the amount of money you need to spend up front. Just keep in mind that, without land, a tiny home will not appreciate in value over time like a traditional house (and its land).
Finally, it’s worth mentioning depreciation. All products depreciate as they get older, but evidence shows that tiny homes hold their values extremely well! They don’t depreciate anywhere near as quickly as traditional RVs or campers because they’re made of the same materials and systems used in conventional homes – and those last for decades!
A standard house technically depreciates too. It’s actually the land that goes up in value. Thus, it isn’t especially different from a tiny home.
If this is a worry for you, consider buying a little bit of land to put your tiny house on. And consider that you’ll be saving much more money than you’ll lose in depreciation. In fact, if the costs of a new tiny home keep going up, you may be able to resell a tiny home for close to its original value, even if it is “used”. You will also pay less in other bills such as maintenance and hydro along the way.
Tiny homes in Canada tend to cost slightly more than other locations in the world. A big part of that comes from our harsh, unforgiving winter.
Aside from the ever-so-slightly milder climate far out to the west, most of us experience temperatures well into the -20s every year. Tiny homes must be built to withstand these deep freezes, and also wild temperature fluctuations, with high R-value insulation, reliable heating systems, insulated pipes, and so on.
The snow, ice and bitter winter storms also mean that sitting outside isn’t an option for most of the year. You’ll need to live inside your home for months. This usually drives owners and builders to make the interior a more comfortable, luxurious space to spend your time.
All these items add up, costing a little extra to build your tiny home.
Tiny homes are much more affordable than a traditional house
There’s a reason that the tiny home movement is gathering momentum, with more and more tiny owners every day.
Don’t let the cost of a tiny home in Canada put you off! They’re still far cheaper than a traditional house in today’s economic climate.
Tiny home owners report greater financial flexibility and the ability to live debt-free very quickly (if not immediately), along with greater satisfaction with life, much more freedom, and a close connection to nature.