Almost two-thirds of Turkey struggling to pay rent, survey shows

Almost 68 percent of people in Turkey are struggling to pay their rent, according to a survey conducted by AKSOY polling, as the country’s population grapples with runaway inflation, causing an uptick in housing rental prices.

A total of 47.5 percent of participants said they were having a “very hard time” paying their rent, while another 20.4 percent saying they were having a “hard time,” Cumhuriyet newspaper cited the survey as saying on Tuesday.

Soaring consumer prices have hit Turkey’s 84 million population hard, with little hope for improvement in the near future as citizens are faced with high energy, food and rent prices and a sharply depreciated lira, which has lost 44 percent of its value in 2021 and around 24 percent this year. Critics say the unorthodox economic policy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is to blame. The Turkish leader has refused to hike interest rates in a timely manner to cool inflation and ordered the central bank to cut borrowing costs late last year.

The country’s inflation rate extended to 78.6 percent in June, the highest level since 1998 as food prices almost doubled from a year ago, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

A mere 7.1 percent of respondents said they had no difficulty in making rent payments, a figure that shot up to 14.7 percent among Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday announced what he called the largest social housing project in the country’s history.

The new project is geared for first-time home buyers and offers favourable payment plans to “pensioners, relatives of fallen soldiers, veterans and newlywed couples,” Takvim newspaper cited Erdoğan as saying following a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

“Our aim is both to give a boost to the construction sector and provide homes at affordable conditions to our citizens by increasing home supplies, which contracted during the pandemic. This project will also help reduce home rental prices which has been causing grievances lately,” Erdoğan said, adding that further details on the project would be unveiled next month.

Last month, Turkish authorities moved to limit rent increases to a maximum 25 per cent for the next year, a move prompted by the ongoing economic crisis in the country.

According to the new temporary amendment adopted in parliament, rent price hikes will be limited to 25 per cent until July 2023.

(This article has been updated with an announcement from Erdoğan in paragraphs 6-8)

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