Living and Cost of Living in Turkey

The Global Property Group, overseas property news and information, 09/07/08.
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Living and Cost of Living in Turkey
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Article by: Mike Dunkerley Published: 09/07/2008

The high standard of living and the unbelievable low cost of living in Turkey will probably surprise you!

Living and the Cost of Living in Turkey

The cost of living in Turkey is still unbelievable low. I have verified the figures below myself for this year in Altinkum. Read them and weep if you are suffering from northern European and especially the rises in UK prices!!

The current exchange rate between the Turkish Lira and Stirling is 2.4 Lira to 1 Pound Stirling. Over the last 2 years it has varied between 2.2 lira and 2.9 lira with the average being 2.6 lira, so at the moment the lira is a little stronger than average.

If you own a property then you have to pay the equivalent of ‘council tax’ which is in the region of £20 a year or 50 lira. Water and electricity bills combined say £200 or 500 lira a year subject to usage of course. If you have an apartment then there will be a service charge that will vary depending on the facilities you enjoy – swimming pool, 24 hour security, lifts, etc. This will range from say £150 pounds or 400 lira to, at the luxury end, £400 pounds or 1,000 lira a year. In other words the cost of owning and running a property is incredibly low when compared to the UK and indeed other European countries such as Spain, Italy, and France.

However, the biggest savings are on fresh food. Every Saturday there is a huge ‘farmers market’ in Altinkum. Stalls are heaped with an amazing range of fresh produce. Families shop there once a week for all their requirements. 1 kilo of fresh and ripe (ready to eat) peaches or strawberries or figs or apples or oranges just 70pence; 1 kilo of fresh cherries just £1-20. (July and my local Tesco is selling 1 kilo of Turkish cherries on a special offer at £9 per kilo equivalent). All manner of vegetables the same. Quite literally if you spent £10 you would not be able to carry the shopping home or to your car – you would need a trolly. Most families said they budgeted £8 for the weeks food shopping.

Beside the markets and the small shops there are supermarkets – both local and international chains. Inside these everything you see in the UK is available. Imported brands can be expensive but local brand equivalents are much less expensive than in the UK.

Although the religion of Turkey is Muslim the Turkish State is strongly based on secular values which are fiercely defended. Alcohol is legal and sold openly. The locally brewed beer called ‘Efes’ is very good and there is a nearby region famous for its vines and wine making. The only thing missing from the supermarket shelves is pork because there is not the demand for it. However, Danish bacon for the ‘full English breakfast’ is on the menue at most hotels and cafes.

Local Turkish families work on the basis of 500 lira (£200) a month to cover all (above) living costs. If you are worried about living on the single person British state old age pension of £110 per week just consider that in Turkey it is the equivalent of 1125 lira a month – more than double what is needed for a comfortable life.

Some things can be expensive – but they tend to be optional. Eating out in the holiday season can cost £15 per head. Beer in beach front cafes can cost £2 per bottle. Tourists who only see the inside of their hotel and the surrounding ‘tourist trap’ attractions can easily come away with the impression that Turkey is expensive – but this is how the locals make their money in the 12 week holiday season.

Public transport is clean, efficient and cheap. Within localities it is based on mini buses called Domus. These vehicles drive around all over the town and outlying areas arriving at the plentiful local stops every 10 minutes or so. The beach or the shops are never more than a few minutes ride away. Average fares are 20 pence. Unless you intend to travel extensively beyond the town it is unnecessary to own a car. Indeed car ownership is relatively expensive. Petrol is more expensive than in the UK. My Turkish friends tell me that the government taxes private motoring as a luxury and one of the revenue sources for the surprisingly generous state pension system to which all Turks are entitled.

In summary, if you choose to live permanently in Altinkum or just spend the winters there in the sun escaping from the rain and cold of the UK you can double or treble your standard of living as well as living more healthily.

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