Beautiful red brick house with decorative lights

What Is a Carriage House? How Much Does a Carriage House Cost in Australia?

What is a carriage house? What are the pros and cons of having a carriage house? How much does it cost in Australia? Click for more

Carriage houses have their roots in 18th-century England, but they’ve also left their mark on Australian architecture. While their origins may be across the seas, they’ve found a home Down Under as well. Just like in America, prominent figures in Australia have embraced the carriage house tradition.

In the United States, figures like Aaron Burr, who served as vice president and attorney general of New York, owned carriage houses on their estates. These buildings were used to shelter their coaches and horses as far back as 1790.

Today, you can still spot carriage houses scattered across Australia, with many particularly prevalent in the northeastern regions. Whether you’re interested in owning a piece of historical architecture or prefer a modern twist on the classic style, carriage houses offer a unique charm that continues to captivate homeowners. Stay tuned for everything you need to know about these timeless structures.

What Is a Carriage House?

A carriage house is like the cool, mysterious cousin of a regular house. It’s a unique building with a fascinating history and a versatile present. So, buckle up and let’s take a ride into the world of carriage houses!

At its core, a carriage house is a type of outbuilding that was traditionally used to store horse-drawn carriages and related equipment. Back in the day, before cars ruled the roads, people got around in style with horse-drawn carriages. And just like today’s garage shelters our cars, the carriage house provided a cosy home for these elegant vehicles.

But don’t let its historical roots fool you. Carriage houses aren’t stuck in the past. They’ve evolved with the times, and today, they serve a variety of purposes beyond just housing carriages.

Imagine a quaint little building nestled behind a grand mansion or standing proudly on its own. That’s the charm of a carriage house. Many have been repurposed into trendy apartments, cosy guesthouses, or even chic office spaces. Their sturdy construction and classic architectural style make them perfect candidates for renovation and adaptation to modern living.

One of the coolest things about carriage houses is their unique design. Typically, they feature large, open floor plans with high ceilings to accommodate the height of carriages. Often, you’ll find charming details like decorative woodwork, vintage hardware, and maybe even a hayloft or two. These architectural gems add character and charm to any property lucky enough to have one.

But wait, there’s more! Carriage houses aren’t just about looks. They’re also practical spaces that offer plenty of flexibility. Need a home office away from the hustle and bustle of the main house? A carriage house has got you covered. Want to generate some extra income by renting out a cosy apartment? You guessed it – the carriage house is your ticket to passive income.

Now, you might be wondering, “Are carriage houses only for the rich and famous?” Not necessarily! While they do have a reputation for being associated with upscale properties, carriage houses come in all shapes and sizes. From grand estates to modest suburban homes, there’s a carriage house out there for everyone.

So, whether you’re dreaming of owning your own slice of history or looking for a unique space to call home, the carriage house offers endless possibilities. It’s a nod to the past with a modern twist, a charming relic of a bygone era that continues to captivate and inspire.

What are the Pros and Cons of Having a Carriage House?

Considering a carriage house? Let’s break down the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.


  1. Versatility: Carriage houses are incredibly versatile spaces. They can be repurposed into guesthouses, rental units, home offices, or even workshops. Your imagination is the limit!
  2. Historical Charm: These buildings often boast classic architectural features like decorative woodwork, vintage hardware, and spacious interiors. They add character and charm to any property.
  3. Additional Income: If you choose to rent out a carriage house, it can provide a steady stream of passive income. It’s a great way to offset mortgage costs or fund other expenses.
  4. Privacy: Carriage houses offer a degree of privacy and separation from the main house, making them ideal for guests, renters, or homeowners who value solitude.
  5. Increased Property Value: A well-maintained carriage house can enhance the overall value of your property. It adds curb appeal and makes your home stand out in the real estate market.
Vines growing over hotel entrance


  1. Maintenance Costs: Like any structure, carriage houses require regular maintenance and upkeep. From roof repairs to painting, these tradie expenses can add up over time.
  2. Limited Space: While carriage houses can be versatile, they often have limited square footage compared to the main house. This may pose challenges if you require a larger living or working space.
  3. Zoning Restrictions: Depending on local zoning regulations, there may be restrictions on how you can use or renovate a carriage house. It’s essential to check with your municipality before making any significant changes.
  4. Initial Investment: Renovating or restoring a carriage house can be a significant investment upfront. Costs can vary depending on the condition of the building and the extent of the renovations required.
  5. Potential for Disruption: If you rent out a carriage house, you may encounter issues with tenants or guests that disrupt your peace and privacy. It’s essential to set clear boundaries and expectations from the outset.

In summary, owning a carriage house comes with its share of pros and cons. While they offer versatility, historical charm, and income potential, they also require maintenance, may have limited space, and come with upfront costs. Ultimately, whether a carriage house is right for you depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and willingness to invest time and resources into its upkeep.

How Much Does a Carriage House Cost in Australia?

Let’s take a ride through the world of carriage house costs, breaking down the factors that influence the price tag.

Average Cost: The average cost of a carriage house typically falls around $216,400. However, this number can vary greatly depending on several factors.

Location: Location plays a significant role in determining the cost of a carriage house. Prices can vary widely from one area to another due to differences in land prices, labour costs, and local building codes.

Home Size and Plan: The size and layout of the carriage house will also impact its cost. Larger homes with more intricate designs will generally be more expensive to build than smaller, simpler structures.

Customization: Customization options, such as special features, finishes, and materials, can add to the overall cost of the carriage house. The more customized you want your home to be, the higher the price tag will likely be.

Material and Labor Costs: The cost of materials and labour can vary depending on the region and the availability of skilled workers. High-quality materials and experienced labour will typically result in a higher cost.

Permit Fees: Don’t forget about permit fees! Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain various permits before construction can begin. These fees can add to the overall cost of the project.

Property Preparation: Before construction can begin, you may need to prepare the site, which can include excavation, foundation work, and connecting utilities. These services come at an additional cost but are essential for ensuring the stability and functionality of your carriage house.

Building from Scratch vs. Kit: You have the option of building your carriage house from scratch or purchasing a kit. Building from scratch allows for more customization but can be more expensive. On the other hand, purchasing a kit may be more cost-effective but may limit your design options.

Shipping and Delivery: If you opt for a pre-built or modular carriage house, you’ll need to consider shipping and delivery costs. Long-distance shipping can be pricey, especially if the manufacturer doesn’t have a nearby facility.

Installation and Setup: Once your carriage house components arrive, you’ll need to factor in the cost of installation and setup. This includes setting and tying modules to foundations, as well as installing panels and other materials.

Final thought

Adding a carriage house to your property can significantly boost its appraisal value, with studies indicating an increase of 25% to 34% based on properties in Portland, OR. This uptick in value means that when you decide to sell, you can list your property at a higher price, potentially yielding a handsome return on your investment. Moreover, if you opt to use the carriage house as an income property, its appeal is even greater, especially if your property is situated in a college town or a popular tourist destination. This prime location can lead to quicker rentals and increased rental income.

Determining the cost of building a carriage house involves various factors, including location, home size, customization options, material costs, labour expenses, and permit fees. It’s essential to consider each of these aspects carefully to arrive at an accurate estimate. Conducting thorough research by consulting industry websites, retailers, and material suppliers at both national and local levels can provide valuable insights into average pricing trends. Keep in mind that these figures are subject to change and may vary depending on market conditions and individual project specifications.

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