What's Up With Turkey's Tiny Houses?

What's Up With Turkey's Tiny Houses?
Tiny houses got popular after the 2008 recession, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Travellers can stop dreaming about a home in the middle of a vineyard in Marmara. It's a reality now

OT Staff
February 15 , 2021
05 Min Read

Most travellers to Turkey would credit its charm as a tourist destination to the gleaming beaches of Dalaman and Antalya, the high-end luxury hotels of metropolitan Istanbul and the striking historical buildings of Edirne. But thanks to the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic, you could soon end up staying at a tiny house made of composite metal and wood, in the middle of a vineyard or in the festive resort town of Akyaka, whenever you visit the country next.

Domestic housing company Casa Lokomotif has reported witnessing a record spike in tiny house sales in the pandemic year—the numbers were up from 250 in all of 2019 to 4,500 in 2020, as reported by AFP.


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This colossal surge and general interest in these minimalistic, functional houses that can be wheeled easily from one place to the next is reminiscent of the shipping-container-house culture prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. Tiny houses themselves came up in big numbers in the US at the time of the financial crisis that hit the world in 2008. Caravan and campervan living is already picking up in several parts of the world, with India following suit in 2020, as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh announced specific schemes for caravan tourism.

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In Turkey, the development could be seen as a momentous step towards slow travel and even socially-distant culture. Most of the sales for tiny house company Casa Lokomotif were from the tourism industry itself, with companies looking to use these habitations for camping-based experiences, architect Pelin Dustegor from the company told AFP. This move towards minimalism could also reveal the lesser-known facets of Turkey to tourists besides bringing down the cost of rentals by a fair bit.

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Tiny houses have received their share of slack as a lifestyle for locals, with the #tinyhousemovement often said to be part of an underground, anti-establishment culture or nascent even after four decades of their emergence. However, as travel accommodation options, stakeholders have placed an immense amount of faith in them, with a lot of credit going to the global minimalist and zero-footprint movement.

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The upsides for service providers are several, from unbelievably low investment cost ($17,000-$30,000 versus an average of $25,000 for a not-so-much-bigger flat in a not-so-upscale neighbourhood), a smaller window for turning in profits (about three years and a half) to the fact that they by virtue of being considered vehicles, don't need a building permit to be parked at a spot and afford much greater flexibility and safety than a crowded hotel.

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