A new term that is increasingly referred to in the Turkish media is "rental migration." This is about people who are forced to move to cheaper cities and neighborhoods because they can no longer afford the high rent in their current locations. Rental migration is becoming more common among pensioners, students, and minimum wage workers who are unable to cope with the excessive rents.
According to the latest data from the Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM), in Istanbul, the average cost of renting for a typical housing unit for a family of four - with an area of 120 sq. M. - starts at 17,000 Turkish Liras (TL). This poses a challenge for families with only one breadwinner, especially considering that the minimum wage is currently 11,402 TL.
As a result, many people are migrating to other places. They are moving from Istanbul to places like Kırklareli, where rental rates are more reasonable and the risk of earthquakes is lower. However, this relocation comes with its own costs, such as moving expenses, transportation, and painting the new place, which can amount to around 50,000 TL.
Pensioners are particularly affected by this situation. For example, the average pensioner from Istanbul's Pendik district saw their rent increase from 1,750 TL in 2022 to 4,000 TL in 2023, and then immediately to 9,500 TL. In contrast, the average pension is only about 7,000 TL.
This is why more and more pensioners, students, and low-income individuals decide to not only move to cheaper districts and provinces but also to live with relatives or friends.
It's worth noting that Istanbul is not the only city with unaffordable rents (rent rates have grown by more than 700% in just four years):. In Ankara, it is also very difficult to find housing cheaper than 10,000 TL.
This has led to a growing trend of people leaving Turkey's largest metropolis. In addition to high prices, the risk of earthquakes is another factor driving people to leave Istanbul. This is why so many individuals are now seeking alternative places to live.