Updated: September 2019
Potential customers always ask us about the cost of living in Turkey. It’s normal that across the globe, in every class of society, profession, and social status, the first question everyone asks is how much does this cost? Whether it is something for our home, utilities or spending money for leisure, money makes the world go round. So, in this article, we break down Turkish living costs, according to current prices, but before we start, there are also two things to consider re year-on-year estimations and daily costs.
Cost of Living in Turkey: Things to Consider
This year, inflation in the country is running at around 15%. Some food items are more expensive, and this is obvious to long-term expats. As an off-shot, the purchasing value of Turkish lira has dropped, so the exchange rate has also risen. Ranking at around 7 liras to the pound, it is up and down according to other world events such as Brexit.
Therefore, any expat receiving a pension or income in a foreign currency will not see the change in inflation on their bottom line because they are receiving more for their money than this time last year. But, anyone on a budget should factor in a buffer zone given the unpredictability of inflation and exchange rates.
Is it Expensive to Live in Turkey?
We looked to official number-crunching data experts to find out Turkish costs versus the UK. For this, Numbeo who collect stats from all over the world, including rent prices, fruit and vegetables, milk, bread, beer, petrol and so forth have some impressive figures to show.
In their last report for September 2019, the average living costs in Turkey are 52% lower than the UK. Items like beef, bananas, mortgages, and sports activities were higher in Turkey, but all other costs showed considerable lower differences. For example, cheese is 27% cheaper. Likewise, taxis are 88%, electricity is 67%, and the Internet is 57% more affordable.
Overall, anyone moving from the UK to Turkey should see a vast improvement in daily living costs. Our example focuses on someone living in the Fethiye region on the Mediterranean coast. Remember Istanbul has a higher cost of living. All prices are in UK pounds, having used an exchange rate of 1 UK pound to 7 Turkish liras. Unless stated, they are average prices because some costs vary from person to person depending on consumption and lifestyle preferences.
What is the cost of Living in Turkey?
Property-To Buy or Rent: Property prices in Fethiye start at £50,000 for an apartment or £70,000 for a villa. Choose from off plan, key ready or fully furnished resale homes. Alternatively, £200.00 a month in rent is enough for a 1 / 2 bedroom furnished apartment close to all amenities.
Water, Electricity, Council and Rubbish Tax: £700.00 per year. Water is billed in two ways; the first is monthly bills but some homes also have metres, in which case, home owners simply top up their card as and when required. Likewise, electricity is billed. You will need to check yearly with the local council as to how much your council and rubbish tax is. Please note that if you should decide to sell your property, any council debt must be cleared first.
Internet: £15.00 per month nets unlimited supply with companies like TTNET but they also offer exclusive deals and discounts with two-year contracts. These reduce the price by 15%. Many expats in Turkey use XMBC boxes that rely on streaming the internet for coverage. This eliminates satellite television costs for international programs but with basic internet, buffering is a frequent problem, and usage disappears, so shop around to see what is on offer.
Home and Mobile Telephone: Calling the UK from Turkey for one hour every week averages at £15 per month but many expats use free services such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime. Likewise, mobile phone providers like Vodaphone and Turk Telecom now offer great deals. For example as long as the person you are calling is within Turkey and on a Turkish mobile number, 2GB of internet, 500 minutes of calls and 500 text messages is as little as £13 per month. If you shop around and use up to date technology, there is potential to save lots of money in this area.
Property Maintenance Fee: People living on communal sites pay a fee towards maintaining shared facilities like a swimming pool, security, and electricity for the hallway lights. The cost depends on how many apartments/villas are paying in and the services received. Yearly expect to pay from £150 upwards.
Property Insurance: Earthquake insurance is compulsory, and the cost depends on the square metre of your property. £150 a year will insure a two-bedroom apartment for earthquake, fire, and contents.
Residency Permits and Healthcare: If you stay in Turkey for just 90 days out of 120, use a tourist visa. However, to stay longer, a Turkey residency permit is £75.00, including administration fee for your first year. Anyone younger than 65 also needs health insurance. The government SGK scheme is 614 Turkish liras per month for a married couple or a single person. Private insurance depends on the coverage you need and current fitness level.
Running a Vehicle: Petrol is not cheap, so many people use diesel cars. Including MOTs and insurance, the average yearly cost of running a car is £700.00.
Food Shopping: Many expats and Turks save lots of money by going to the local weekly market for fruit, vegetables, cheese, eggs, olives, and so forth., spending just £10.00 at the local weekly market is more than ample for two people. However, beef and lamb are expensive, at £11.00 to £15.00 per kilo. Instead many people buy chicken. A litre of milk is £1.00 and likewise for a kilo of sugar.
Smoking, Drinking, and Socialising: A packet of 20 cigarettes is £2.00 while a 50 cl Efes beer is £2.50. Drinking and eating out is more expensive than home. Expect to pay £20 per person for a meal and drinks in a popular restaurant.
High-Interest Savings Accounts: Many expats save substantial amounts on the cost of living by investing their capital in time deposit accounts paying 10 to 15% interest that you can withdraw every 32 days. Therefore, someone depositing 500,000 lira will receive more than enough to enjoy a good standard of living without touching your net worth. Banks offering reasonable interest rates include HSBC, Garanti and Deniz and further information is on their websites.
Proof of Income: When applying for your residency visa, you will need to show proof of income, whether this is a pension or savings. If you plan to work instead, your employer must apply for a work permit which is a separate procedure.
Alongside discussing the cost of living in Turkey, the following articles will also be of use.
Expat Guide: Our bumper collection of articles navigating every aspect of living in Turkey. Including legalities, setting up household bills, dealing with red-tape, learning the language, cultural differences and more, bookmark these articles to browse at your leisure.
Cheap Property in Turkey: If you haven’t yet purchased a home, our portfolio of apartments and villas across the country showcases excellent details and sellers who drop prices for a quick sale. Whether you want a bargain apartment in Fethiye or a superb value penthouse in Istanbul, you will find it here.
Why Move to Turkey: If you are still sitting on the fence about whether moving is the right thing to do, we list seven reasons to do it, and include further information that will help in your quest to find a home from home.
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