Istanbul - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing overall is beautiful, with varying plusses and minuses. For security reasons, there are no houses, only apartments, but most families live in two-story apartments with nice sized rooms and smaller balconies. For our four person family, we have a 4 bedroom apartment with 3.5 bathrooms. The apartment complexes all have nice amenities - most have some sort of gym, outdoor (and maybe indoor) pools, some have cafes, all have indoor garage parking, most have green space and playgrounds. At least one complex has a full on Turkish hammam spa on site. Singles/kidless families live in more urban-style apartments on top of malls, metro stops, etc., so less green space and more close shopping. Some locations are better than others; a few of the complexes are within a three minute commute to the Consulate, some are 20-30 minutes. Most families live in closer-in apartment complexes, with the singles being a bit further away. The Consulate is located far north of the city center, and neighborhoods get nicer the further north you go. Most families were pretty happy with the housing. A few singles I knew did not like the apartments they were in due to location, as they were in kind of an urban island further away from "stuff". We found the kitchen to be large by international standards, and while we had sufficient closets, storage for larger items like suitcases, Christmas decorations, etc., was pretty non-existent (and GSO won't remove furniture once you have it). We made our fourth bedroom into a catch all storage unit/pantry to make up for it. - Aug 2021

Consulate housing is all apartments. About half are within five minutes drive of the consulate, and the other half are about 20 minutes (without traffic). The apartments are mostly newer construction. Those closer to the consulate have amenities like pools, gyms and outdoor areas. There is family and single-person housing in both areas. - Sep 2017

Housing is great (don't be spoiled; government housing is FREE!). But where I was situated, I was living in the furthest residence from the consulate. So, a train ride and a taxi ride later (and then home again), I was relieved of more than twenty dollars a day. Bring a vehicle. - Oct 2010

Apartments for every income level; very few single homes and only for the very wealthy; best to live near your work as traffic is always an issue in a city of 15-16 million - Jan 2010

From 15 minutes to two hours given the terrible traffic - Jan 2010

Most folks from the office seem to live in high-end Etiler neighborhood about halfway between office and old city. Rich Turks in building can bring a bit of attitude, but building is very conveninent with lots of services inside (grocery store, bottled water delivery, car wash, hairdresser, ATM machine, dry cleaner, etc.). Great restaurants and stores and movie theaters walking distance away, and a metro station nearby. Down the hill is very fashionable Bebek neighborhood on the Bosphorus. - Dec 2009

The US Consulate housing pool is hit or miss. The consulate has apartments in Sisli, Etiler, Istinye, and Kemerburgaz. Commute times are between 20-30 minutes with the exception of Istinye, which is closer to the consulate. We are a family of 3 and we have to live in a 2 bedroom apartment. Most apartments have no closets and a very small amount of storage, so be prepared to get creative hiding suitcases and boxes. Places in Kemerburgaz are actually outside of Istanbul and require a car or second car if you're married and have a family since taxis and buses are rare in this area. The housing board at the consulate is not very responsive to your needs or concerns, so be prepared to be stuck with whatever they give you. - Dec 2009

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