Purpose The inadequacy of regulations, the uncertainty of the quality of houses produced and the needs of users all highlight the need for a house analysis in Turkey. The goal of this study is to understand housing quality in Turkey based on the gap between expectations and existing housing stock, to identify the main housing expectations and the problematic issues in the current housing situation. Design/methodology/approach The authors designed a survey using the quality indicators of several well-known housing quality assessment tools to reveal residents' housing preferences and current housing situation in Turkey. The authors analyzed the survey results to identify the gap between housing preferences and existing conditions to reveal the housing quality of Turkish housing. Findings Overall results show that residents in Turkey, regardless of their demographics, want and need better houses. It was determined that physical conditions, safety, aesthetics and accessibility are the issues for which the expectations of the participants are high and the lack of which is most felt. Originality/value This paper reveals the residents' perspective on housing and their housing quality. It emphasizes the need for more research on housing quality, the need for updated regulation and necessity of a housing quality assessment tool in Turkey.