Earthquake fear triggers internal migration in Istanbul

Earthquake fear triggers internal migration in Istanbul
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Istanbul residents living in old buildings built on unsafe ground started moving to safer neighborhoods, sometimes paying rents two to three times as high

Istanbul residents living in unstable districts without resistant grounds began moving to more stable areas in the north of the city, causing rents to increase two- to threefold after massive earthquakes struck southern Turkey on Feb. 6, killing more than 42,000 people and rendering 500,000 homes uninhabitable, DHA news agency reported on Friday.

While many residents are requesting an earthquake safety inspection of their homes, tenants living in old homes also want to move to new structures, it said.

Nizamettin Asa, president of the Istanbul Chamber of Realtors, said there is no clear evidence yet of migration to Istanbul from the provinces affected by the earthquake, but internal migration.

"At the moment, no one from outside is coming to Istanbul, but since there is an earthquake risk per se, residents feel the urge to move to safer areas with firmer ground and newer buildings. Those who are wealthy prefer villa-like houses with two or three floors," he said.

According to Asa, Arnavutkoy and Basaksehir are at the forefront at the moment, with their firmer ground and new building stocks.

“Relocations are mostly from central districts and coastal areas with old buildings,” he said.

Real estate agents also said that prices for new buildings increased after the earthquake.

"Right now, especially old houses are not in demand, new apartments are in demand. There is an average increase of 50 percent in rentals in areas with firmer grounds,” real estate agent Cesim Demircin said.