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Living in Turkey - Housing

The Housing Expenses of Living in Turkey as an American Traveler


Extra expenses
Turkey has the highest inflation rate in the world today!

Living in Turkey, as a full-time tourist used to be the best deal ever!

Sandy beaches, historical ruins, delicious food, and some of the cutest Ottoman-style hotel rooms in the world were just the tip of the iceberg for cheap and amazing travel.

These days it's a different story. Inflation after covid has hit Turkey hard. The Turkish lira had taken another deep dive into oblivion yet the prices are skyrocketing to first-world country costs, making Turkey a no-go destination for many travelers on a tight budget.



Traveler
Turkish travel is an unexpected treasure of sites!

The Turkish lira has had a tumultuous history. Classified as the world's third least-valued currency by the Guinness Book of Records in various years, the lira has faced significant fluctuations in value. On Wednesday, June 11, 2023, the lira plunged 7.6%, reaching a record low. However, the currency is slowly moving away from state controls towards a freely traded currency. Despite its challenges, the lira remains the official currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus, with one lira divided into one hundred kuruş. The new banknotes, introduced in 2005, have different sizes to prevent forgery.



Turkish Lira
Todays Lira is much different than in 2020 when we firs arrived.


The inflation here in Fethiye, Turkey has risen nearly 300% in some cases for various things, such as food, beer, housewares, and clothing, while the value of other items is dropping in price to get rid of them quickly such as cars, electronics, and solar equipment.



Turkish inflation
Turkish cities, already overcrowded

Housing is at an all-time high at the moment and this is due to a lot of separate issues coming together to boom the market.

The Russian/Ukrainian influx of refugees here is not surprising due to the current political climate. The thing that bothers me personally is the dominant age range of the refugees is between 25 and 35, which is soldier age for the most part.



Turkish inflation is rising
Russian and Ukrainian refugees are not fighting in this war.

In other words, the people of BOTH countries do not want to fight and are leaving their home countries and seeking residency here, rather than fighting for their people and their lands. This would be world news if Americans did this as they did during the Vietnam conflict in the 60s when they fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Here it's commonplace. Not only do they flood here but they are willing to pay enormous sums of money to become citizens.


Turkish inflation in housing
Cute houses are being turned into airbnb's for the refugees

Turkey offers foreign investors an opportunity to obtain Turkish citizenship through the purchase of property. As per the recent amendments to the law, a foreigner can apply for Turkish citizenship by purchasing a property or a group of properties worth $400,000. However, there are certain conditions attached to this law, such as submitting a pledge not to sell the property before three years have passed since the date of its purchase, and the property must be regularly registered in the Real Estate Possession Department. The Turkish government has also provided many additional facilities to get Turkish citizenship by purchasing property in Turkey, including allowing dual nationalities and abolishing the law of ownership. This has made it easier for foreign investors to apply for Turkish citizenship by purchasing property in Turkey.



Turkish unemployment
Villagers cannot afford to live on the minimum wage anymore.

This is pushing Turkish property owners to evict renters and sell to the highest bidder creating a bubble that has to burst sometime. Until it does the inflation is spiraling out of control with no end in sight until the conflict is over.


Giving you this background on why it's happening, here are some of the costs you may be surprised with when you come to Turkey to gain residency as we did.


Housing;

A forgone conclusion to the housing market is that Turkey will continue to be a safe haven for Russian and Ukrainian citizens to hide out during this war. Unfortunately, this is off-putting to the already established UK Ex-pat community that has been living here full-time/part-time in full force for a couple of decades now. They have a massive impact on the tourism market and the decline of tourists here is incredibly slow compared to previous years.



Good luck
Courts move slower than snails in Turkey

Rentals;

Renting in 2020 at a major all-inclusive hotel with several pools, hammams, and luxury amenities cost us a grand total of $27.00 dollars per night in Kusadasi, which is on the coast of Turkey in a very upscale area. Today that same hotel is charging $376.00 dollars for that exact same room. This is at the Hotel Akbulut, you can look it up on Hotels.com here to see for yourself.

This is a combination of greed and inflation, and it's not just the hotels. The Airbnb we stayed at when we are here to start vanlife was a grand total of $1200.00 dollars for 3 months ($13.34 dollars per night) which was expensive then but we liked the downtown Calis feel so we paid a little more than normal so we could be in the thick of things. Now that same Airbnb apartment is $109.00 dollars per night! ($9810.00 dollars for the same 3 months)



jerks!
Bullying is the norm for the landlords here.

There are more and more complaints on the Facebook site "Fethiye Area Expat Zone"

of landlords who are increasing the rents of long-time renters to upwards of 500% even though the law states they are not allowed to increase the rents by more than 25% per year.

The caveat to this is that the "LAW" doesn't do much. You can refuse this increase and simply pay a 25% increase and refuse to leave, which is one option. The landlords however have taken to aggressively forcing renters out by having massive parties on the patio of the rental, banging pipes all through the night, or even turning off utilities such as electricity and water to bully the renter into leaving.

Going to the police (or Jandarma) here doesn't do much as they will simply tell you to go to court. Getting said court date is nearly impossible and takes months or even years to see a judge. So in the meantime, you are constantly bullied and harassed by the landlord day and night.



empty apartment
Expect nothing. Get nothing.

There are some things as an American you may want to be aware of before renting in Turkey.

The apartments here and in a lot of the European countries we've been to may list an apartment as unfurnished. This may give you the impression you can buy an air mattress and plop down on the floor for a few months since you will, no doubt, be out all day sightseeing anyways. But there's a catch.

Most "unfurnished" apartments are lacking certain items you may be used to in America as included in the price. Things like hot water, a washing machine or laundry room area on the premises, a stove, a refrigerator, a microwave, and curtains. These things are commonly excluded in an unfurnished apartment and expecting them without asking may be a little bit of a shock when you arrive.

Your best bet is to ask what's included. Ask for a video walkthrough, as well as tons of pictures. Ask if there's solar hot water. And remember, the 1st floor means it is up one flight of stairs! (3rd floor would be the 2nd floor etc.).



beach
Oludeniz area near our home base of Fethiye.

I have tried to list all the reasons to be leery of coming here. However, this is still a beautiful country and has much to offer in the way of retirement options if you desire to do so. Just do your due diligence, over-research the area and all the little details, and if you need to, schedule a Zoom chat with me for a one-on-one gab session for free and I can give you any help I can.


Finding housing in Turkey as an American can be a daunting task, but with proper research and planning, it can be a smooth process. It is important to consider the location, budget, and type of housing that fits your needs. Online resources such as ex-pat forums and real estate websites can be helpful in finding available properties.


It is also recommended to work with a reputable real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help with any language barriers. It is important to note that some landlords may require a Turkish guarantor or a larger deposit from foreigners.

If you are going to be here for more than 90 days you will need residency and I will cover that in another article.


In the Mugla and Fethiye areas, we recommend Coast2Coast properties for real estate, they are the best at what they do, have inexpensive fees, and most of all, They are Honest! They speak perfect English and will treat you like family throughout the whole process and afterward.


Overall, patience and persistence are key to finding suitable housing in Turkey. Be aware of the pitfalls, and enjoy the adventure of it all.



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