Turkey voted seventh best expat destination in the world

A survey of the top countries in the world to live and work for foreigners has put Turkey in seventh place. 

The survey by HSBC group put Turkey, home to a growing expat population, ahead of Germany, the UAE and Vietnam in the ranking of 163 countries, bumping it up from its place at 22nd place last year. Switzerland took the number one spot in the survey, which asked 18,000 expatriates questions to determine their quality of life, work and life balance, earning potential and family life.

It's the 12th time HSBC has conducted the survey, which is regarded as one of the most comprehensive tallies of expat opinion.

Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

A better life in Turkey

Two-thirds of respondents said their living quality in Turkey was better than in their home country, while more than half of expats living in Turkey said they had more time for hobbies and family life in Turkey. Fifty-five percent of the expats surveyed said they could afford a better home and car in Turkey, while 69 percent said they felt safe in Turkey and that local people had been friendly and welcoming.

The majority of interviewees in Turkey said the work-life balance they found in Turkey was better than in their home country. 

Almost two-thirds of respondents said living in Turkey allowed them to travel more, while 57 percent said they had found time to learn new skills. These included diving, cooking and learning a new language.

The majority of respondents said their new homes were rich in historical and cultural facilities, with plenty of landmarks and parks. Most of the respondents lived in built up areas, and mentioned travel options as a bonus. While 59 percent said their city had a vibrant cultural life.

More than half of the respondents mentioned Turkey's fine dining opportunities and the wealth of good food available.

Oozing expat appeal

On HSBC's website, a report accompanying the survey said that Turkey "oozes expat appeal, particularly for businesspeople looking to take advantage of its growing economy."

"With sunny skies and a low cost of living, the country is also an ideal retirement destination, and its culture lives up to the cliché 'something for everyone' with a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western traditions."

The survey also includes contributions from respondents. 

"Prepare to be delighted. Turkish people are the most friendly people I've ever met," one says. 

"Embrace the good nature and hospitality of the general public and try to learn a few Turkish phrases monthly," said another. 

However, the survey shows that assimilating to Turkey takes time, and that the language barrier presented challenges for some foreigners. 

Demand is growing

Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin said the survey reflected a surge in interest in Turkish property he's seen, especially in Istanbul.

"Demand for apartments for sale in Istanbul is growing steadily," Deggin said. "We find that expats love the diverse culture and vibrant nature of the city."

A recent construction boom meant the city's infrastructure was improving, which appealed to expats moving to the city for work. "More metro lines, better roads, great facilities and improving neighbourhoods with excellent new developments. All of this greatly adds to the draw for foreign buyers who want affordable, quality homes in excellent neighbourhoods with easy connections around the city and to their home countries."

Istanbul was still affordable compared to many other European cities, Deggin added.

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