How much money do i need to live in istanbul?

It is not surprising that Istanbul, the most populated city in Turkey, is preferred by many people for living. Istanbul is one of the most important cities of the country with its location in the center of trade. But living in the country’s most important city comes at a cost. Definitely higher than any city in Turkey.

If you’re considering moving to Istanbul on your own, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost and how it will affect your quality of life. What you can expect to spend will vary greatly based on lifestyle and in many ways you get what you pay for in this city. But some overhead costs will give you a picture of what this might look like. Let’s look at it in more detail.

Housing life in Istanbul

First of all: you have to live somewhere in Istanbul and this will probably be your biggest expense. While housing in the city is expensive everywhere, where you choose to live will be a big determining factor in the amount you have to pay for rent or a bank loan.

In general, living in or near the city center will cost more than living in the slums. And naturally, the more desirable the neighborhood, the higher the price tag.

The cost of renting a house in Istanbul

There is no important distinction to be known about the rental market in Turkey. There is no state-funded social housing system. Everyone, rich or poor, rents housing under the same market conditions.

Therefore, people moving to Istanbul will have to live in residences where landlords have the freedom to set the rent at whatever price they see fit. Of course, the state has some rules about rental agreements, but landlords somehow get what they want.

On average, the rental prices you can expect to find when researching the Istanbul rental market are:

  • Room rental in a shared flat: 6000 – 8000 TL
  • Studio flat: 9.000 – 15.000 TL
  • 1+1 flat 11.000 – 17.000 TL
  • 2+1 flats 13.000 – 20.000 TL
  • 3+1 or 4+1 flat: 15.000 – 25.000 TL

Keep in mind that rental prices in Istanbul are constantly increasing, so don’t be surprised if the prices you encounter rise even higher.

The cost of buying a house in Istanbul

Again: location, location, location. The closer you are to the centre, the less likely you are to get your money’s worth.

But what they lack in the size of the central houses they often make up for in character. For example, my ceiling is so low that visiting friends often stand with a slightly bent neck or bent knee during their stay, but the view of the city is very good.

Another thing to note is that the property market in Istanbul is competitive, with buyers reporting that they often pay well above the asking price for homes. But buying a house and getting a bank loan is a whole different story.

At the lower end of the spectrum, to buy a simple 1+1 or 2+1 flat in unpopular districts of Istanbul, you may need to pay around 500,000 TL. For a high-end flat in the center, you can expect to spend close to 2,000,000 TL. In general, the (very general) range you can expect to pay for a house in Istanbul is:

  • Studio flat: 2.500.000 – 8.000.000 TL
  • 1+1 flat: 3,000,000 – 12,000,000 TL
  • 2+1 flats 3.500.000 – 15.000.000 TL
  • 3+1 or 4+1 flat: 4.000.000 – 20.000.000 TL

Of course, you’ll also come across lots of gorgeous properties that raise millions of pounds.

Basic needs in Istanbul: gas, water, electricity, internet and telephone

Gas and electricity costs

You have many service providers to choose from for electricity distribution in Istanbul. Gas distribution is carried out by İGDAŞ, which is a municipal organization. Whether you are a tenant or a home owner, you have to make your own electricity and gas subscription.

The gas cost is around 0.44 TL per kWh in Istanbul, which is pretty average when compared to other countries. However, the cost of electricity is among the most expensive in the world, with around TL 1.97 per kWh. You can expect to pay an average of 2,500 TL per month for both gas and electricity.

If you are new to Istanbul, you may not know how to pay your gas and electricity bills. Bills are easily paid with mobile banking. If you wish, you can also pay in cash at the cashiers.

Water costs

Water works differently in Istanbul. There are two different ways to calculate your water bill. If you use a water meter, you will pay monthly costs based on the cubic meters of water used, plus an annual fee for the meter. There are also different price tariffs depending on where you live.

Internet and telephone costs

The average cost of home internet in Istanbul is in the range of 150 TL for lower speed connection and 300 TL for higher speed. Combining your internet with TV and phone service is common.

Cell phone plans in Istanbul are not much different from other countries. Monthly costs can be as low as 100 TL for unlimited calls without data, to around 250 TL per month with higher data packages.

An average plan with up to 10 gigabytes of data and calls could be around $100 per month. You may also have to pay an activation fee to open a line.

How much should the budget be for markets in Istanbul?

Compared to the other costs of living in Istanbul, grocery shopping is more affordable, especially if you pay attention to where and how you shop, and beware of these fees!

  • Milk (1 liter): 35 TL
  • White bread (200 gr): 10 TL
  • Rice (white) (1kg): 60 TL
  • Egg (regular) (12): 35 TL
  • Feta cheese (1kg): 210 TL
  • Chicken fillet (1kg): 150 TL
  • Beef (or equivalent red meat) (1kg): 500 TL
  • Apple (1kg): 50 TL
  • Banana (1kg): 100 TL
  • Orange (1kg): 55 TL
  • Potato (1kg): 36 TL
  • Onion (1kg): 30 TL
  • Lettuce (1 head): 30 TL
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle): 15 TL
  • A bottle of wine (medium level): 800 TL
  • Beer (0.5 liter bottle): 110 TL
  • Cigarettes 20-pack: 60 TL

Going out in Istanbul: Traveling and having fun

Transportation prices in Istanbul

Cycling is the cheapest way to get around Istanbul and is usually the fastest. When you use public transport, you can take the train, metro, tram, bus or ferry and have various options for ticketing. Or take a taxi or scooter.

UKOME regulates Istanbul’s public transportation system and Istanbulkart is used for public transportation.

The general prices for public transport set by UKOME are:

  • Ticket
  • Price
  • Full
  • 15 TL
  • Student Card
  • 7.32 TL
  • Social
  • 10.74 TL
Scroll left for the entire table.
Scroll left for the entire table.
Card type*Price*Full (180 Passes)*1.177 TL*Student (200 Passes)*212 TL*Social (200 Passes)*732 TL[ /table]

Taxis in Istanbul must use taximeters. They act according to a price tariff determined by UKOME. There is no Uber in Istanbul. Taxi opening fee in Istanbul is 19.17 TL, hop-on-hop-off taxi is 70 TL, and the price per kilometer is 13.75 TL.

If you’re up for the challenge of driving (and parking) in Istanbul, there are a few factors to consider:

Eating and drinking in Istanbul

If you’re planning a night out for dinner and drinks, expect to spend a decent amount of money. Prices are not excessive compared to many other major cities, but compared to the rest of the country, they are very high. Although with a little trial and error and asking around, you can find a handful of places that offer good food at affordable prices.

For drinks, it’s best to stick with beer or wine if you’re on a budget.

  • Meal at a cheap restaurant: 400 TL
  • Meal for two in a middle class restaurant, three course: 1.500 TL
  • Meal at a fast food restaurant: 200 TL
  • Beer: 200 TL
  • Wine: 800 TL
  • Cappuccino: 100 TL
  • Cola/Pepsi: 60 TL
  • Water: 30 TL

Being insured in Istanbul

Health insurance

Health insurance is required for everyone living or working in Turkey. In general, everyone who works is dependent on a government-sponsored health system, but for those who do not work, a health insurance program is operated by the government. There is also an Individual Pension System called BES.

Household insurance

Home insurance while living in Istanbul is not required by law, but is required by many mortgage providers. Costs will vary depending on your situation, taking into account the value of your home and possessions, your neighborhood, and other risk levels.

In addition, in order to have gas, electricity and water connected to your home, you must have the DASK earthquake insurance compulsory.

The cost of education in Istanbul

Studying at university in Turkey

For those living in Turkey, higher education is very affordable as it is subsidized by the state. For international students, the cost is higher, although still reasonable. You will pay annual tuition fees depending on your nationality, the degree program you choose, and whether you study part-time or full-time.

On average, you can expect to pay around 300,000 TL per year in tuition fees for a full-time program.

In addition to the tuition fee, students are advised to budget between 10,000 TL and 15,000 TL per month for living expenses, including rent.

  • Visa: 353 TL
  • Residency permit: 1040 TL
  • Accommodation monthly: 6.000 – 10.000 TL
  • General living expenses: 5.000 TL
  • Public transport (optional): 500 TL

The cost of education for children

The Turkish government also subsidizes school for children, so if you decide to send your child to a Turkish school, it’s almost free. You will only need to make some small contributions for things like school field trips or after-school activities.

Cost of childcare while living in Istanbul

While you’re running around to pay rent and taxes outside, you may need someone to look after your children. The cost of childcare in Istanbul varies depending on the center and the type and frequency of care you will need for your child. Kindergarten for the little ones costs around 60,000 TL per year on average, with discounts if you have additional children.

Some parents pay part-time, often for less experienced teen caregivers, while others negotiate minimum wage with caregivers. If you want them to do additional housework, this will be reflected in the fee.

Work and salaries in Istanbul

Salary expectations in Istanbul

Now that we have a better picture of the cost of living in the country’s most populous city, let’s take a look at how salaries stack up. Of course, it will vary greatly by industry and experience, but overall, Turkey salaries are quite low. The main reason for this is the exchange rate difference.

The net minimum salary in Turkey is 11,402 TL. This amount is 382 Euros, which is almost the last place in Europe in Euro terms. The nice thing about working in Turkey is that your employer has to pay you a salary during your annual leave.

Don’t forget the taxes!

If the salary range your potential employer offers is something you can live with, consider taxes. You will have to pay payroll tax, which consists of a salary-based tax along with national insurance contributions for pensions, benefits and benefits, and unemployment benefits. Tax brackets vary by month and are determined by your annual earnings.

Since this tax is quite high you will want to consider your net salary rather than just your gross salary (total salary), the difference can be substantial.

Now, summing up all these separate costs will take some math, so to save you the dreadful hassle, here are the average estimated monthly living costs for individuals and families living in Istanbul:

  • Single person: 30.000 TL
  • Couples: 50.000 TL
  • Family of four: 80.000 TL