1-With the local elections now past, Turkey seems to have entered a period of relative calm. The markets and the currency have been bolstered, and the ever-important tourism high season starts to kick into gear. Of course, there are still presidential elections coming up in August, so that may well contribute for a low Lira and continued Istanbul property buying opportunities for foreigners.
2-The construction of the third bridge on the Bosphorous is underway. It is hoped that this will alleviate some clogging of the traffic. It seems that investment in these areas should take a wait and see approach, as there already seems to have been speculative impact when the project was announced.
3-One of the projects I have been following for quite some time (Tarlabasi Project) continues, with the next phase of construction looking about set to begin. It may be the last chance to get an affordable and versatile property investment in the form of a town house or small building that are so much in demand in the city center. Currently buildings ranging in size from 200-400 sqm can be bought in the 500,000-1 million TL range.
Renovation costs (on a complete gutting) cost about 800 TL/sqm and upwards. There is strong demand for rentals of studios and 1 bedroom apartments in the area, which can go anywhere from 900 TL/ month to 1500 TL/month. Tarla properties can be found here
4-Istiklal’s complete overhaul continues apace, with many large business buildings being town down and hotels, etc. put in their place. The side streets off of Istiklal can still be a good place to pick up good Istanbul real estate at affordable prices. Many new restaurants and famous Turkish sweet shops have also opened up (Oh no!).
5- Metro extensions (link) are in abundance and the Marmaray Project connecting the two continents by tunnel is fully operational. As a result, getting around town has become much easier. Not to mention that at a mere 1.95 TL per trip, Istanbul must be one of the cheaper mega- cities for public transport. Those over 65 ride free!
6- The West Side Project, one of the largest in Europe, in the Esenler District of Istanbul has delivered units in the first phase. The complex has every imaginable amenity and is reasonably central and reasonably priced. It is the ideal option for families, and even has a private school within the complex.
Contact for more details. Currently, there are some very good financing options, making it a very accessible property option.
7-Renovation costs on the rise? Well, not really. Istanbul remains a relatively cheap option. Basic overhauls on apartments can start from as low as 700 TL/ square meter. Of course, the Italian marble will run up those costs a bit. Electricians and plumbers run about 150 TL/day and a handyman is about the same cost. A decent carpenter is about 200 TL/day. Still well below European averages and a mere fraction of the cost in London.
8- The state of the rental market. After year upon year of increases in rents, it now appears that owners are having to drop their prices in order to find tenants for their properties. In my view, this was a necessary correction, as many owners were starting to get unreasonable in their expectations. A stable tenant at a reasonable rate seems to be the sustainable play. Owners should be looking to decrease voids, or empty periods, rather than going for top dollar. The rents should also be advertised in TL. FX rents send the wrong message, besides this is Turkey after all.
9-Military permissions, necessary for foreigners when purchasing property in Turkey, seem to be consistently being approved within six to eight weeks. Having the paper work in order and done properly are keys to avoiding any delays in this process. It is advised to get a professional to assist with the application.
10- There is a large urban regeneration project planned in Okmeydan. The area is not so attractive now, a large sprawl, but the prices are certainly right. I believe this will be one of the more lucrative investment spots in Istanbul over the next few years. The most logical move seems to be to purchase a relatively good-sized building on the periphery of the project. The prices are low enough now that even if the project is not a blazing success, the investor would still see good growth over time. Again, I would be pleased to go over this on serious enquiry.