Turkish tiny houses set to become new tourism trend

The Turkish hospitality industry has turned its attention to tiny houses as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged tourism and travellers’ fear of crowds and big hotels increased, France 24 reported on Wednesday.

Tiny house manufacturer YAKO Group saw customer orders jump 20-fold in 2020 from the previous year after receiving “sporadic orders” when they introduced the concept four years ago, chief executive Galip Ölmez said.

The houses are “the future of tourism in Turkey”, he said.

Most of the demand for the houses comes from tourism investors looking to create camping concepts, architect Pelin Düştegör said. Her company Casa Lokomotif received 4,500 orders a month in 2020 compared with 250 in all of 2019,” she told Agence France-Presse.

Tiny houses are a low investment option that can turn a profit within 3.5 years, far less risky than building or maintaining a hotel, Düştegör said. She said she also spends a few days of the week in her own tiny house in a small town by the Marmara Sea near Istanbul.

“People will want to stay in nature in small groups rather than at a 500-person hotel,” said Çağlar Gökgün, who rents out his tiny house parked in an Aegean vineyard. “No one will want to wait in the queue for an open buffet.”

Tiny houses sell for $17,000 to $30,000 in Turkey, whereas a cheap flat in an apartment building in the poorer districts of Istanbul, not too much bigger than a tiny house, can be purchased for $25,000 and a state-of-the-art flat in a central neighbourhood can cost up to $11 million, according to online real estate platform sahibinden.com.

The houses offer residents “priceless peace” with a minimalist lifestyle, vacationer Gizem Babürhan said.

Turkish law classifies tiny houses as vehicles, so they can be parked on non-residential plots. Owners are responsible for providing water and power to the units.