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    Rent and cost of living in Istanbul

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    If you are planning to move to the metropolis, you should consider the expected costs as a newcomer and expat in and Istanbul know. Below are the average rents and cost of living in Istanbul including:

    • How much money should one earn to live a decent life
    • inflation and the minimum wage
    • Average price for services and goods
    • Accommodation, household bills and public transport expenses
    • Useful tips for living in Istanbul

    Some useful information

    As for the cost of living for foreigners or locals in Istanbul, keep this in mind:

    • If your monthly income exceeds 25.000 lira, you can have a very good life in Istanbul.
    • If your monthly income is between 15.000 – 25.000 lira, your life in Istanbul will not be very good, but it will not be very bad either.
    • If your monthly income is less than 15.000 lira, Istanbul can be a bit stressful for you.

    Istanbul is related to many big cities in the world and Europe around the world and can be considered as a city with low cost of living. On the contrary, compared to other Turkish cities, Istanbul has the highest cost of living. Istanbul is the cultural and financial center of the Turkey as well as the largest and most popular city in Turkey.

    Due to the very good exchange rate between the Turkish Lira and other major currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling, many expats and new immigrants from wealthy countries can live a cheap, simple and even luxurious lifestyle in Istanbul.

    Inflation in Turkey

    After the currency conversion in 2005, the exchange rate of the Turkish lira against the euro and the US dollar remained stable. However, since the tourism crisis of 2016, the lira has rapidly depreciated.


    The reason for the exchange rate of the Turkish lira are the political risks of Turkey's borders with Iraq and Syria, the general crisis in the emerging countries and the economic losses caused by the tourism crisis.

    Food prices have risen faster, while housing and transport inflation have eased.

    What is the minimum wage in Turkey?

    The minimum wage for 2021 is 3.577,50 TL per month gross, net 2.825,90 TL per month, taking into account all health and social costs paid by the employer. It is forbidden to pay workers wages below the minimum wage. Therefore, paying wages below the minimum wage is a criminal offense for employers.

    Daily necessities, supermarkets, medical supplies, local clothing, household, local groceries and fresh vegetables and fruits at the weekly market are cheap compared to other western countries.

    However, the goods and luxuries listed below are extremely expensive:

    • motor vehicles
    • Fuels (petrol and diesel)
    • Imported and Local Alcohol
    • Imported goods such as electronics, smartphones, cameras, computers, etc.

    Accommodation costs in Istanbul

    Foreigners and new immigrants to Istanbul will consider accommodation as their biggest expense.

    The inner city, the European and Asian coastal areas of the Bosphorus have the most valuable and expensive Real Estate Prices.

    Besiktas, Bakirkoy, Kadikoy, Beykoz, Sariyer, Islands, Uskudar, Sisli, Zeytinburnu and beyoglu are by far the most expensive real estate areas in Istanbul.

    The districts on the outskirts of Istanbul such as Beylikduzu, Avcilar, Sancaktepe, Silivri, Catalca, Sultangazi and Basaksehir are the cheapest properties.

    • The average rent for an apartment in Istanbul is around 20-25 lira per square meter, which means that the rent for an apartment of 100 square meters is between 2000-2500 lira.
    • The rent for apartments in cheap neighborhoods ranges from 14-20 lira per square meter.
    • In the center of Istanbul, the rent can easily range from 5000 – 8000 lira.
    • The price of a furnished apartment is 25-30% more expensive.
    • Also note that the average house rent in Istanbul can increase by up to 30% per year.
    • Apartments in the Besiktas and Sariyer districts have the highest rental prices, with an average rent of 5.500 lira.

    Average household expenses in Istanbul

    Comparing Istanbul with other western countries, it can be said that household expenses in Istanbul are cheap.

    • Electricity bill: 180 – 250 TL per month.
    • Water and sewage bill: 80 – 100 TL per month.
    • Natural gas (hot water and heating): 900 – 1.300 lira per month (Im Summer less, since you don't have to be named).
    • Phone, Internet, TV cost: 150 – 200 TL for all-in-one packages.
    • GSM (Cellular) Cost: 50 – 70 TL per month.
    • Other costs such as services, security, caretaker, garden maintenance, pool maintenance, cleaning and house community costs: 150 – 1.500 TL per month.

    Food and drink costs

    You can have a delicious Turkish Breakfast for 5 to 8 euros for one person in a unique place. Or buy the famous Turkish simit and a tea for less than 1 euro.

    The average price for lunch and dinner for one person in a mid-range restaurant is around 9 euros.

    In a chic bar or roof terrace, beer costs around 4 euros and cocktails around 9 euros.

    All in all we can say that the average person spends around 25 euros per day on food and drink.

    Current prices for living costs in Istanbul can be found on the page Numbeo.

    Public transport costs

    Using public transport is the cheapest way to get around Istanbul. Public transportation in Istanbul includes buses, metro trains, metro buses, trams, cable cars, funiculars, shared taxis (dolmus), ferries and sea buses.

    To use public transport you need the Istanbul Kart

    IstanbulKart is a map of all public transport, excluding shared taxi (Filled), from Istanbul and is the cheapest and most effective way to visit Istanbul. With this single transport card you can use the entire public transport system of Istanbul. It is owned and operated by the City of Istanbul. You can buy IstanbulKart from yellow/blue machines or ticket machines and kiosks at most public bus stations in more than 2.000 locations including subway, tram, ferry, metrobus and cable car stations.

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