Many people often ask us about the cost of living in Turkey. However, the answer is not straightforward and depends on three factors. The first is your family size. Families with children below 16 will naturally incur hefty education costs, while a single person won’t.
The second factor is your lifestyle and whether you want to run a car, drink, smoke, and/or eat out. Lastly, the cost of living varies from region to region. While Istanbul is drastically cheaper than London or New York, it is still the most expensive place in Turkey.
The Biggest Expense
By far, the most significant expense, wherever you live in Turkey is rent. On the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, expect to pay between 1.500 TL to 2.000 TL a month for a basic two-bedroom apartment.
However, head over to Istanbul, the hub of everything, and anything in Turkey, and a basic studio apartment on the outskirts of the city can cost as much as 1.500 TL, with prices naturally rising for homes nearer the center. Rent a flat in Taksim or other significant districts and rates can be as much as 4.000 TL a month. So, what other costs can you expect to pay?
Spotlight on the Cost of Living in Turkey
Household Bills: This is where Turkey makes up for high rent costs because household bills are incredibly cheap. Monthly fees include electricity, water, sewerage, telephone, internet, gas, and satellite packages. People living in apartment buildings with six or more residences will also need to pay apartment aidat, which is a fee towards communal services. Factor in between 400 to 600 TL a month to make sure your household runs smoothly.
Council Tax and Insurance: These yearly costs really make foreigners smile because they are a fraction of the charges in countries like the UK. Council tax is calculated on the official price band for your property, as well as how many people are on the title deeds. Earthquake insurance is compulsory and depends on the square meterage of your property. You can also upgrade to theft and fire cover as well. Factor in 400 to 700 TL a year for both these charges.
Eating and Drinking Out: A budget or fast food meal is 25 TL, leading up to 100 TL if you visit middle-class restaurants. Prices of beer in shops range from 10 to 15 lira but can cost as much as 20 TL if you visit a bar. Expect to pay 50 TL for a midrange bottle of wine.
Transport: If you plan to live in Istanbul, transportation is a major cost, and using public services will set you back roughly 205 TL a month. Otherwise, the price of petrol hoovers around the 6-lira mark, and vehicle owners should also set aside approximately 5.000 TL a year for maintenance, insurance, and MOTs.
Residency and Healthcare: This is a big cost for foreigners under the age of 65 because they need to have health insurance to qualify for residency. Including application and renewal fees as well as for opting in for Turkey’s state-run health insurance scheme, a foreigner pays roughly 7.000 TL a year. Please note, SGK payment for couples is the same as a single person. Reduce this cost by shopping around for private health insurance.
Food Shopping: Single people or couples on a budget can save a lot of money in this area. Using local markets instead of the leading supermarkets for fruit, veg, and dairy products is cheaper, averaging in at roughly 100 TL a week for a good selection of products. At present, lamb and beef are expensive in Turkey averaging between 60 to 80 TL a kilogram. Turkey's most widely-eaten meat is chicken, which is roughly 22 TL for a kilogram.
General Monthly Estimate
Using the assumption that you own your own property and don’t have rent or a mortgage to pay, the cost of living in Turkey is approximately 3.500 TL for a decent lifestyle but rising to 7.000 TL in big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
Further Reading: If you are a first-time property buyer in Turkey, Guide to Buying Turkish Property for the First Time to make sure you find the home of your dreams. Otherwise, contact us today if you want to speak to a sales representative by email, telephone, or by visiting one of our regional offices.
(Above figures are updated annually by a moderator. Last updated: 14.01.2020)