With its historical significance, its unmatched vibrancy and its unique aura, Istanbul acts as a beacon luring in countless newcomers — from other regions of Turkey as well as from abroad. To help you find accommodation in this huge city, which covers a surface area of 1830 square kilometres, here is an overview of Istanbul’s neighbourhoods and general housing conditions.
A populous city
Istanbul, Turkey's economic capital city, is also the country's biggest and most densely populated city with more than 14 million inhabitants.
Large infrastructure projects, like the project of a North Marmara Highway which will connect the city’s Asian and European sides via a third bridge spanning over the Bosphorus, or the ongoing construction of a third airport, the largest in the world, should further strengthen the attractiveness of the city and sustain its growth in the future.
Istanbul is comprised of 39 districts (Istanbul ilceleri), characterised by very different paces and ways of living.
The city is said to have three distinct centres. The historical centre, in Fatih/Sultanahmet, holds most of Istanbul’s historical places of interest and is home to communities retaining a rather traditional Turkish lifestyle. The area is notably famous for its mosques and bazaars, and boasts some of the city’s best traditional restaurants.
The district of Beyoglu — encompassing the high-profile areas of Taksim, Galata and Karakoy — is considered the tourism and night-life centre of the city.
Finally, the district of Kadikoy has grown over the last few years to become Beyoglu’s counterpart on the Asian side of Istanbul. Kadikoy is also becoming the go-to neighbourhood for artists and designers.
The areas of Sisli and Besiktas have evolved into business centres but still include many residential areas as well as shopping and entertainment facilities, and can provide very agreeable living conditions, especially if you are looking to minimise your commute time.
Such suburban areas as Tuzla, Pendik, Beylikduzu, Esenyurt and Bahcesehir enjoy the fastest growing popularity. They are indeed peaceful and shielded from the frenzy of the city centres while offering convenient access to public transportation networks and quality housing with a good value for money.
Cost of accommodation in Istanbul
The price can vary significantly depending on the housing option you chose — you can for example elect to share a flat, to rent one, or buy your own home.
For would-be home owners, the average purchasing price in Istanbul reached over 2,000 Turkish liras per square metre in 2015 — a 110% rise over the past 5 years — although the city remains the cheapest capital city in Europe in terms of real estate.
Rents are on a rising trend as well, driven up by the city’s growing popularity and by a 8% inflation, but remain way below the average of other European capital cities.
Although prices of course differ from one building and one neighbourhood to another, you should be able to rent a decent studio for 1,000 Turkish liras, a one-room apartment for 1,500 and a three-room one for 2,500 in a central neighbourhood.
Bills (water, electricity, heating, telephone and internet access) are typically not included in the rent.
Istanbul neighbourhoods map: www.haritamap.com
Only Apartments: www.only-apartments.com
Air BnB: www.airbnb.com
Gabino Home: turkey.gabinohome.com
Istanbul flats for sale: www.sahibinden.com
Istanbul flats for rent: www.sahibinden.com