Cost spike shakes Antalya: thousands of foreigners say farewell!
The skyrocketing cost of living in the Mediterranean province of Antalya has triggered a wave of departures among foreign residents, with a staggering 16% of them leaving the city in 2023 alone. This phenomenon has become particularly evident in the past four months, during which approximately 17,000 individuals with residence permits have decided to abandon this renowned tourist hub. The reasons behind this trend include the steep increase in rents and a general rise in the cost of living, which has made Antalya less attractive for foreign residents.
Antalya, once a preferred refuge, especially for Russian citizens in the post-Russian-Ukrainian war period, has seen a significant decline in its foreign population due to the rising costs. The surge in rental prices and the upward revision of the minimum threshold for property purchase, now set at $450,000, have contributed to this decline.
The real estate market has recorded a 29.23% decrease in sales in the first nine months of 2023, with a total of 25,000 foreigners leaving the province. Ali Bahar, President of the Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted a 10% decrease in foreign residents compared to the previous year, attributing this phenomenon to a combination of factors such as high rental costs, expensive living, difficulties in the citizenship acquisition process, and obtaining residence permits.
İsmail Çağlar, President of the Antalya Chamber of Real Estate Agents, Car Dealers, and Commercial Trackers, stated that the real estate and rental bubble in the city has finally burst, with rents, having reached peaks of 25,000 Turkish Lira (880 USD) during the war, now returning to more normal levels. However, this trend of normalization is not enough to halt the exodus of foreign residents, who are struggling to cope with the high cost of living and economic uncertainties.
Tourism, a crucial sector for Antalya’s economy, has taken a hard hit. The decrease in foreign residents, many of whom held key roles in the tourism and hospitality sector, has left a significant void. Tourism industry experts fear that this trend may have long-term repercussions on the quality of services offered and the city’s ability to attract international visitors.
Local authorities are attempting to counter this trend with various initiatives. One of these includes the introduction of tax incentives for property owners who rent at affordable prices. Additionally, they are seeking to streamline the process of obtaining residence permits and citizenship to attract new foreign residents.
Despite these efforts, many experts believe that the situation will take time to stabilize. The combination of high inflation, political uncertainties, and geopolitical tensions in the region continues to pose a significant challenge for Antalya and Turkey as a whole.