Affordable, Qualitative rental property is something of a myth, the world over. Its either dirt cheap and lacking in quality or ‘break-bank’ expensive with all the bells and whistles. There is, however, no middle ground – until now.

Dutch construction company Heijmans has developed a prefabricated starter home for young professionals called Heijmans ONE. The home is designed to not only fill the void as stated in the intro, but also to fill empty lots in city centres. Inadvertently, killing two birds with one stone.  Its a beautiful, compact and extremely energy-efficient home (thanks to the solid wooden skeleton, the all-electric use and self-generation of energy). It sports all the necessary facilities, such as a kitchen, bathroom, large double volume living room, separate bedroom as well as its own front door and outside patio, making it perfect for its target demographic of single, upwardly mobile young professionals within the 25 – 35 age bracket. Being a prefabricated home, it can be installed in under 24 hours temporarily in empty urban areas, which one must agree, is a great advantage for a fully detached structure with a planned price point of about € 700 (about N160,000) per month. (the same amount would get you a cramped attic space somewhere in the city centre of Amsterdam).

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Why this (to me) is a great idea is the mobility and sustainability there in. The homes can easily be trucked to site and over time if that once vacant lot is ready to receive new development, the homes can be truck to a new site. In this manner temporary use is made sustainable, probably for a 5 – 10 year lease period. This is also a great solution for site owners that have yet to begin significant development on their plots as it makes a positive contribution to their sites, generates income and creates a new social dynamic in this unusual temporary community.

Placing this in our local context as is wouldn’t be ideal. Its still largely too expensive and thats because its not deliberately designed for us. However, if we ‘borrow’ the idea and adjust the design and implementation slightly, we could find a suitable and viable option for the middle class rental market that is currently in dire need of practical solutions.

Enjoy the video below, highlighting some of the benefits and showing some of the people behind this novel idea.

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