Retire to low cost of living in Turkey

Updated: 05 July 2021 Created: 01 January 2014

Sometimes homebuyers ask us if the cost of living in Turkey is cheap. We always answer that it is. Especially for those from western countries, and since Turkey made vast improvements over the last twenty years, it is a fierce competitor for potential retirees. Turkey is a perfect place to make your new investment with its up-and-coming tourism, cheap cost of living and openness to international buyers. Turkey is fast becoming a new favourite place to buy a second home, go on holiday, or retire. Let us discuss some of the country’s strong points and why it is becoming the world’s premier place to buy a home overseas.

Life in Turkey

About the Cheap Cost of Living in Turkey

1: Property Prices

Turkey is a gem for real estate investment due to its low real estate prices and interest rates, the profitable buy-to-let option, and a high resale market for investment properties. Since the markets opened to foreign investors, many cities have seen a rapid increase in foreign purchases, accelerating values in this emerging market. Mostly, British, Russian and Germans are buying up holiday homes and retirement homes in the Mediterranean, Aegean coasts of the country. The European Union accession will also drive prices higher as it has done for other member countries, so many foreigners and citizens are purchasing property now while the prices are still favourable.

Turkey is building new high rises, commercial spaces, and beautiful villas with average starting prices of £50,000. This works to homebuyers’ advantage because it is not a matter of if the EU invites Turkey but rather when. With the comfort of knowing, investments will see a notable value increase once EU membership is finalised. Turkey offers a unique landscape surrounded by several seas and varied climates, giving many chances to choose a home that best fits your desires and budget. Homebuyers couple their perfect property with hobbies and activities, ensuring they thoroughly enjoy the retirement they always wanted.

Property in Turkey

2: Day to Day Living

Turkey offers a cheap cost of living for retired expats who have moved overseas and bought a home in the sun. Like any other destination, purchasing costs vary across the country. In Turkey, Istanbul is the most expensive place to live. However, looking at the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, there are many cheap destinations to consider. On average, a non-smoker, non-drinker, who doesn’t own a car and has no rent or mortgage to pay can get by on 5000 lira a month. Of course, the more luxurious lifestyle you want, this will increase. There are also plenty of opportunities to save money like shopping at the local weekly markets for fruit and vegetables instead of heading to the supermarket.

Turkey’s low cost of living is due to many factors. First, since Turkey is still working to gain European Union membership; it is an outsider and not in the Eurozone. In addition, Turkey still clings to its roots, focusing on local, family businesses and providers with fair prices. Turkey has thus far managed to avoid mega-providers who drive prices up when they arrive. Local and family operated bakeries, eateries and other necessities help ensure great prices and extraordinary value. Do not worry about having to pick a small rural town to get these fantastic prices. Although there are higher initial purchase prices in Turkey’s main urban areas, many retirees are pleasantly surprised at how affordable real estate and living costs are.

3: Cost of Living Comparisons Turkey versus Spain

To understand the cost of living, we looked at Numbeo, a data-crunching base that collects the prices of items all over the world. We compared Istanbul and Madrid, and Numbeo currently says, “You would need 34,309.53TL in Madrid to maintain the same standard of life for 16,000.00TL in Istanbul.” Wow, that is more than 100% more expensive. This clearly shows it is cheaper to live in Turkey than in Spain. Additionally, non-working foreign residents are not taxed on their pensions.

Overall, the following pattern emerges

  • Consumer Prices in Madrid are 84% higher
  • Consumer Prices, including Rent in Istanbul, are 114% cheaper than in Madrid.
  • Restaurant Prices in Madrid are 172% higher than in Istanbul
  • Grocery Prices in Istanbul are 85% cheaper than in Madrid

Of all consumer and household items, Spain is significantly more expensive than Turkey except for alcohol and gas. 100% means twice as costly, and 200% means three times as expensive. For example, bread, property, and coke are almost three times as expensive to buy in Madrid, Spain, compared to Istanbul, Turkey.

4: Making Your Money Go Further

Many expats in Turkey deposit large amounts of money into high-interest savings accounts. Then, after paying tax, they withdraw the interest monthly. For retirees, who also receive a pension, this is a high monthly income, and dependent on the amount of money deposited, some expats build their net worth and never touch their capital. All high street banks offer these accounts, including Garanti and HSBC, so shop around to see who provides the best interest rates. Remember that interest rates go down as well as up, so give some leeway if factoring this income into your monthly budget.

Also of interest

Expat Guide to Living in Turkey: Of course, money is a big topic when moving to another country, but there are others things to consider like day to day running of a house, navigating bureaucracy, the language barrier and more. So, in this article, we give our advice and tips on how to make a smooth transition and settle in quickly when you move to Turkey.

About Us: We are Property Turkey, an investment and lifestyle specialist who has helped thousands of foreign buyers purchase homes in Turkey, either for a holiday or permanent living. We hope we have answered your question about whether the cost of living is cheap in Turkey, but if you plan to buy property, and have more questions, call us today and speak with a local agent. Alternatively, read more articles about Turkey and what it is like to live here in our blog.

Living in Turkey

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