GAZİANTEP - Dogan News Agency
The influx of thousands of Syrian refugees into Turkey’s border towns to escape the civil war tearing their homeland apart has caused rent and house prices to skyrocket in frontier cities.
Soaring demand from Syrians combined with a shortage in land has caused real estate prices in the southeastern Turkish provinces of Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Kilis to double and rents to soar up to three-fold compared to two years ago.
Real estate agencies in the provinces warn that the multiplied prices will remain at such levels even if the Syrian refugees returned to their country.
The number of Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey is approaching 1 million, according to the UNHCR; around 500,000 of those Syrians are living in the three aforementioned southeastern provinces.
According to data compiled by government institutions and NGOs, in addition to 140,000 Syrians living in camps, 200,000 refugees live in Gaziantep, 100,000 in Şanlıurfa and 50,000 in Kilis, which only has 90,000 people in its city center, Doğan News Agency reported.
Rent for stove-heated houses, which are especially favored by low-income segments of society, has jumped from 100 to 350 liras in Kilis, from 150 to 400 liras in Şanlıurfa and from 150 to 400-500 liras in Gaziantep, real estate agencies have said.
In the cities, where finding a house has become nearly impossible, centrally heated houses also start from 800 liras and climb to over 1,000 liras – nearly double compared to 400-500 liras two years ago.
Many tenants have complained that they are afraid they will not be able to find any dwelling. Rising rents have stirred huge raises in the house market as well, almost doubling the sale price as houses have emerged as a lucrative income source following the rent rise, Gaziantep Contractors Association Chairman Rıdvan Köksüzer said.
He said the Syrians’ influx into Gaziantep had not only rattled the housing market, but also prompted a remarkable rise in consumer prices.
“Inflation, which is around 7 percent across Turkey, has become around 8.8 percent in Gaziantep,” he said, citing rent hikes and an increase in food prices as the main drivers of the above-average inflation.
Calling on local governments to develop cheap housing projects and create satellite towns, Köksüzer said they did not foresee any price drop, while adding that a halt to the influx would at least stabilize the prices.
“Gaziantep is a city constantly drawing migration. Therefore, as long as the migration continues, the housing need will continue to surge as well,” he said.