Turkish housing sector in crisis over astronomic rent, material costs

Turkey's housing industry is in crisis over skyrocketing rents and an increase in construction material costs that hinder production. The hike in rent prices has left nearly 100,000 people looking for homes, whereas the main builders’ union went on a strike to protest outrageous price hikes on cement. 

The Construction Contractors Confederation (İMKON) launched strike to protest outrageous price hikes on cement. 

Duvar English

Astronomical increases in rent prices and construction costs have led Turkey's housing industry into a crisis, with thousands seeking affordable housing and builders going on strike across the country. 

Rent prices in Istanbul nearly doubled over the summer, a result of a spike in the city's population following pandemic restrictions, and more importantly, urban transformation. 

Demand for apartments has been particularly high along the Anatolian coast of the city, where many older residences are being torn down to be replaced with modern buildings, Istanbul Realtors' Chamber Chair Nizamettin Aşa said.

"More than 100,000 people are looking for houses," Aşa said. "Almost 4,000 buildings are being torn down in this area for urban transformation. People who have to evacuate their homes start looking for other places."

The same situation has emerged in European neighborhoods as well, Aşa noted, saying that the central Beşiktaş district is unable to supply homes for everyone searching.

As a result, potential renters in Beşiktaş go as far as the suburban Avcılar district to look for homes, where urban transformation has shrunk supply too, the expert noted. 

"People face the same problem in Avcılar. Two out of three buildings have been torn down because of urban transformation, it's like a construction site," Aşa said.

The current cycle of urban transformation projects should be completed next year, hitting the breaks on rent prices, the expert said.

Construction workers on strike

Separately, Turkey's Construction Contractors Confederation (İMKON) started a strike with its 120,000 members across 40 provinces to protest outrageous price hikes on cement. 

The organization noted that construction is a critical industry in Turkey, adding that cement is one of the key materials that affect its production, which in turn hinders 250 sub-sectors.

"Turkey has left no choice to the construction sector but to stop production and go on strike. We are stopping our operations until Sep. 24 to protest the cement industry's outrageous price hikes," said an official statement from the organization. 

The organization also noted that it has repeatedly petitioned the Trade Ministry about its struggle with increased prices but that it has received no concrete solution in return.