Profiteers seek to exploit earthquake in İzmir, hiking home, service prices
Emre ESER- İZMİR
As Turkey is scrambling to heal the wounds of İzmir that suffered from a devastating earthquake on Oct. 30, which killed more than 80 people and wounded over 960, some people in the city are trying to capitalize on the disaster.
The residents of İzmir are complaining that home prices, house rents, and prices of the moving companies have increased almost overnight.
Home rents went up by 500 Turkish Liras (around $60) in just one day, a local said.
“Our building was heavily damaged in the earthquake. I moved some of our belongings out of the house. I am looking for a new flat now to move in. Some real estate agents are trying to help me find a new one, but others are demanding higher rents and imposing conditions. This is not the way one should behave at a time like this,” said Süleyman Güler.
Uğur Berkant Balta, a real estate agent, noted that demand for flats in low-rise buildings and detached houses have increased after the tremor, which has led to a rise in prices.
“For instance, there was a villa in the Urla district for which the owner was asking 850,000 Turkish Liras. However, after the earthquake, the owner raised the price of the property to 1 million liras,” Balta said.
People are particularly looking for flats in buildings that were built after 2010, he added.
The authorities have given 105 hours to people to evacuate the damaged buildings, which means more business for moving companies in the city.
“A lot of people are calling to hire us. We cannot get into the apartments but remove the belongings inside from the windows with cranes,” said Emrullah Aşkın, the owner or a moving firm.
“We are responding to emergency calls. We only remove the belongings from lightly damaged structures,” he added.
Another company owner noted that people are moving to nearby districts and cities, such as Manisa province.
A resident of İzmir complained that it is very difficult to find a vacant flat to move in to.
“We have already evacuated our flat after the earthquake. And on top of that, there is a substantial cost for hiring a moving company. They are asking 1,500 to 2,000 liras to the closest distance. One of our neighbors, who relocate to the Çeşme district immediately after the tremor, paid 4,000 liras to the moving company, but before the earthquake, the price was around 2,000 liras,” said the local.
“Yes, it is a difficult job to do, but the price they ask for it is excessive,” the person added.