Housing in Istanbul
Now after a long flight from San Francisco, I am back in my hometown Istanbul for the winter break. In this post I would like to explain you the differences between housing in Istanbul and most of other US cities.
First of all, we (the residents of Istanbul) like living in downtown. We usually have 5 to 6 floor apartments, owning a country style villa in the middle of the city with it’s own garden is a very rare situation and usually a sign of luxury and richness. There is one other important factor that increases the value of your house dramatically, a view of Bosphorus… If you ever see that fairy view of Bosphorus you can understand why.
Oh so you wonder about the most expensive houses in Istanbul? They are definitely the old mansions on the shore of the Bosphorus whose prices range between 1 million dollar to 100 million dollars and most of them are not for sale anyways. They are usually historic mansions and the owners are not even allowed to modify them because of their historic importance.
Well speaking of downtown, a city like Istanbul, which has more population than the whole country of Sweden, does have multiple downtowns for sure. Most touristic historic downtown is the Sultanahmet. So being close to those downtowns is also a plus for your housing.
So compared to suburb residental life of US cities, Istanbul is quite different. Altough there are new luxury suburb areas with american-style housing formations, they are quite new and rare for Istanbul.
From my observations, in most of the US cities downtowns are usually commercial areas and after work hours people drive to their suburb houses. In Istanbul people drive to their houses in downtown but it can take more time for us to reach home because of our lovely traffic. Also Istanbul is quite big in landscape as well so it can take up to 3 hours drive from one end to the other end of the city.
Another difference is the number of homeless people in downtowns, I don’t know most of the US cities but in San Jose the downtown is full of them and they really look weird. In Istanbul it is really less than any big american city and they don’t look as weird as the ones I saw at San Jose or San Francisco. I also noticed that raising kids in downtown in most of the big american cities is a big challenge where as in Istanbul it is quite normal and usual.
Lastly the neighbour relations in american culture looked pretty weak to me, in Istanbul most of the neighbours really talk with each other, visit their neighbours and spend some time together. Gossiping about other neighbours is a tradition for most of us :)
I hope you can see those differences with your own eyes some day.