Istanbul Property Market Real Estate

 Istanbul Property Market Options

Why choose to buy a property in Istanbul? In short: Locations, locations, and more locations.

Buying Property In Istanbul

Choosing a property to buy in Istanbul can be seen as a daunting task. The city is sprawling and each corner speaks to its own uniqueness. It takes a long time to even comprehend the city in its fullness, usually years. But most people come with a set of preferences and these can be used to quickly rule out or rule in some locations where people may consider buying property.

For more information email info@lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

Real Estate Budget

Budget can also be a determining factor. If the budget is under 500,000 TL probably the best option would be one of the suburbs. There is also probably not much point looking on the Bosphorous unless the budget is in excess of 5 mil TL, given the fact that there is limited supply of these properties on the market and always in high demand from locals and foreigners, alike.

Downtown Istanbul Real Estate

Some buyers just want downtown. Well, they are in luck. You could even argue that there are at least a half dozen downtowns, all having their particular claim to the title.

Downtown on the Asian Side? Well, that would probably have to be Kadikoy or Bagdad Cad. But for those who live on the European Side, there is an equal argument for areas such as Beyoglu, Sisli, and the CBD area of Levent.

Others would argue that the sea side gem of Bebek is the only true downtown (if you drive a Ferrari). It is hard to argue one over another, as it merely is a matter of taste or perhaps where people work, or even where their family has lived for generations, as can often be seen in the likes of such neighbourhoods as Kadikoy. All represent dynamic and vibrant downtown neighbourhoods with ample restaurants, bars and entertainment venues of all sorts. They are also all more or less transportation hubs, so when seeking to buy a downtown property, beginning a search in one of these areas would be an appropriate start.

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Beyoglu Downtown Istanbul

Others would argue that the old quarter in Beyoglu is the true downtown, dating back hundreds of years to the mercantile operations around the famed Galata Tower. It calls itself home to the largest concentration of expats, and is also the undisputed cultural and entertainment centre of Istanbul, though Kadikoy has made impressive inroads in the past 5 years. It is also hands down the tourism centre of the city. If people only know one street name in the whole of the city it is sure to be Istiklal. It goes through its ups and downs, but surely still has a strong claim to be the true downtown, both past and present.

Prices can range anywhere from 7000TL/ sqm. Expect to pay much more for a property with a view. Finding tenants is pretty easy if the property is kept in good order and the fee is appropriate. For more information Contact Us.

Sultanahmet in Istanbul City

A lot of foreigners end up in Sultanahmet during their stays in the city. Although it has a lot of character and history, this is truly a tourist destination and offers little value in the way of property to buy. Not to mention the fact, much of the quaintness would wear off after a while and you would be stuck with tourist prices for restaurants and line ups, etc. Finally, there is very little residential in the area.

Bosporus Real Estate

Bosporus properties are really an entity unto their own. The market is quite opaque and not many estate agents have a good price history for the area, as so few properties change hands.

Owners of property in this area will often not put their property on the market unless they are in financial trouble, thinking that it is irreplaceable.

In many respects, this is true, but it does lead to uneven asking prices and expectations. This market is probably best left for Qatari sheikhs and local business moguls. Prices (with a view) start from 30.000 TL/ sqm and go much higher for a villa with some historical charm and a good position along the water front. It is in many senses, by far, the most impenetrable real estate market in the whole of Turkey.

Buyers often purchase property here as conspicuous consumption, or as ‘trophy’ assets, rather than along strictly applied principles of investment, so often the selling process is guided by such indiscernible subtleties. However, if you want bling with a capital B, the Bosphorous is up there with some of the world’s finest and most naturally beautiful straits of water. If you are just looking to impress a few friends, we suggest some more modest options. Read more

Hot Property: Istanbul’s iconic waterfront mansions

Once the preserve of the Ottoman elite and affluent foreigners working in what was Constantinople, the mansions, known as yalis, were made famous in novels and more recently through modern Turkey’s hugely successful TV soap operas.

If you are looking for what constitutes pure suburbia in Istanbul when buying property, there are luckily many options, and also affordable ones. These areas are home to a lot of the construction of huge high rise building complexes, new universities, hospitals and shopping malls. There is usually quite a time-consuming commute to the city center, but with the increase in the Metro system infrastructure, as well as the addition of the 3rd bridge, the super-cool underwater tunnel, and the pragmatic Metrobus, many before inconceivable locations have opened up for living as well as for investment.

Beylikduzu is one of these shining stars, with many choices in new buildings with all the facilities (swimming pools, concierge, playgrounds, fitness studios, etc). Though not technically luxurious, they are quite utilitarian and time-saving. Prices in such complexes can start as low as 5000TL/ sqm, but are starting to go up. Developers are also offering more attractive payment plans than in years past.

If Beylikduzu is not your cup of tea, you could do a targeted investment near the 3rd bridge or the colossal 3rd airport. Both areas are booming with new construction. Proximity to airports can often be interesting in that the profile of tenants is quite good: they often spend less time at the property (hence, less wear and tear), they usually command greater than average local salaries, and are usually well-educated.

If none of these options suits you, then you could always try something along the Black Sea, or the Islands in the Marmara Sea. Saying that there are many options for purchasing a property in Istanbul is really no exaggeration.

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Tin Pan Alley

Istanbul Real Estate Property For Sale

Buy Property in Istanbul – Essential Information

Andrew Henderson is the founder of Nomad Capitalist, the world’s most-visited resource on issues of legal tax reduction, investment immigration, and global citizenship. He works exclusively with six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs to help them and their money “go where you’re treated best.

Real Estate to Citizenship in Turkey

In general, could you explain the essence of the real estate to citizenship program in Turkey, both currently and in the past?

“In early 2017, Turkey introduced its own citizenship by investment program. Like any such program, you make an invest and almost immediately get citizenship in a commoditized way; everyone except Armenian citizens qualifies.

Real estate in Istanbul was one of four options, but is by far the easiest and made the most financial sense. Originally, the required real estate investment was US$1 million, based on the value on the day of purchase. However, the government’s high hopes for renewed foreign investment never materialized, and after months of rumors, the minimum investment was finally reduced to US$250,000. The large declines in the lira make valuations a bit tricky, but working with a professional should smooth things out.”

Second Citizenship Explained

What countries do you think will benefit most or make use of the program most, and why?

“Most of my clients seeking a second citizenship are Americans looking for a “Plan B”, including the ability to renounce US citizenship and avoid the huge tax consequences of being a US citizen. Going from being a US citizen only to being a Turkish citizen only isn’t very appealing, but it may be appealing as part of a “passport portfolio” wherein you hold a western-friendly passport along with a Turkish passport. However, I imagine the largest clientele will be Chinese and Arab investors who see the low level of investment needed to get not only a “Plan B”, but visa-free travel to such hard-to-get countries as Thailand, South Africa, Morocco, and Middle Eastern frontiers like Iraq.”

Property in Istanbul – Benefits to Europeans and Western Buyers

What benefits do you feel it would offer for European/Western buyers of property in Istanbul? I can think of one example: Many Europeans live year-round in Turkey, especially in the coastal areas. Some have residence permits, but they are temporary. Others, have to navigate the tourist visa route, which poses challenges.

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“I have a residence permit in Montenegro on the basis of owning property. It will never entitle me to citizenship, and I can renew it every year. I don’t see that as a huge burden, providing they don’t enter the European Union and increase the standards to qualify for renewal. The same feelings are likely held by the Brits, Germans, and others living in Turkey; I don’t hear from many Europeans about the need for a second passport in a “Tier C” country.

If anything, some Europeans would likely prefer to NOT be Turkish if they’re living there. I think holding citizenship may actually be better if you DON’T live there, since residence permits can generally be renewed as long as you own property. I can see some Americans buying property to get another passport, but many Europeans will be cautious, I think. If you’re Danish and aren’t paying tax there, your perceived need for a “Plan B” is probably low especially since citizenship puts you “on the radar”.”

How does Turkey benefit from this program?

“This program was designed for and by developers with excess inventory. Their goal is to bring back the European and, primarily, Middle Eastern investors who fled in recent years over concerns with security and the lira.”

Clearing out that glut in the construction market could help developers sell their inventory and keep hiring for new projects. It’s worked in countries like Portugal, where a “Golden Visa” residence permit helped turn the real estate market around from the doldrums of 2009. We will see how valuable a Turkish passport is perceived as.

Could you compare it to a few other countries programs, some good, some not so good?

 “Turkey is unique in that it is the only substantial country offering citizenship by investment, but whose passport does not afford visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen Area or the United Kingdom. As such, it’s hard to compare it as an actual passport. How is compares about as a citizenship is interesting. On the plus side, you have a substantial country with a lot of bargaining power. On the minus side, you have a substantial country that has more power to do stuff to you than a tiny Caribbean island you can buy citizenship in. What I like about Turkey, however, is that you can buy any real estate, which means you can actually make a good investment. In most other programs, real estate is “approved”, which means it’s generally overpriced and more for living in than for investment. Turkish citizenship could turn into a profitable endeavour for those working with professionals.”

How did you start your business, NomadCapitalist?

“I have spent years looking to “go where I’m treated best”. After selling my businesses in the United States, I spent time in nearly 90 countries seeking opportunities for banking, tax reduction, immigration, and investments. I was doing this stuff by myself and blogging about it, and then people started asking for my help I’ve always been fascinated by Turkey ever since visiting for the first time in 2011, and I find this new opportunity very interesting.”

Expats Investors and Citizenship Programs in Istanbul

I watched several of your YouTube videos and was very impressed, and also noticed you have a good viewership. You do not just offer valuable insights on citizenship programs. There is also a lot of other great information for expats and investors alike. What are some of the more popular subjects you have covered?

“Most people come to me to save money on taxes. We live in such an interconnected world that an entire new generation of online business owners and consultants no longer need to pay taxes where they’re from. I reduced my tax rates from about 43% to below 1% by following the very advice I offer to others. Stuff like passports and bank accounts are just part of what’s required to reduce taxes in a legal way, and people get a lot of diversification benefits from like holding other currencies and asset protection. Once you have your tax and lifestyle plan in place, you can take the money you save and invest it in high-yielding properties. Some of my clients will easily save $250,000 in taxes this year (or even in a few months) and will look at how to earn 10% returns in Istanbul and get a passport for free. It becomes a compounding benefit.”

Turkish Real Estate Market in 2018 – 2019

Do you think it is a good time to buy property in Turkey? And why?

“I think there is always the potential for good deals… and bad deals. Too many people who have come to Turkey have paid the “foreigner premium” for properties in dubious suburbs. The Turkish real estate market has so many players that it’s easy to get confused. If you have a focused plan and stick to it, I think that Turkey has a lot of benefits: a young, growing population, and a greater position in the world in terms of exports. Of course, there are a lot of questions about the economy right now, but I like to buy uncertainty and hold for the long-term. I think Istanbul offers a very unique offer; not many cities have a growing population of 20 million people and haven’t lost value in decades. Now that some prices are hovering near $1,000-per-meter, I think it’s becoming attractive for a long-term hold.”

Do you think buying property in Turkey can be a good hedge in a carry trade?

 “[I'll sit on the sidelines on this one.]”

What do you envisage for the future of Turkey’s program? More changes or a loosening?

“While there has been a Caribbean citizenship price war in the last year, I think most countries – especially a larger one like Turkey – isn’t going to constantly tweak. Honestly, you can debate about WHETHER you want a Turkish passport, but I think that if you decide that you do, this offer is rather attractive.

I wouldn’t foresee any further reductions, particularly as the $250,000 minimum is less than the originally proposed $300,000. That shows to me that the government is being aggressive to court investment, and if anything changes, I would suggest it would be some consulting firm convincing them to tack on a hefty application fee.”

Istanbul Property For Sale 2019 Real Estate Passport Travel Documents

Istanbul Property For Sale

Buy Property in Istanbul

The State of the Market: Pre-Season Report

Something very strange is happening in Turkey these days, though I have probably been the last to point it out (Well, in fairness, I have also been saying it for a while!).

Everywhere you turn in Istanbul, viewers are transfixed to TV screens that are at bulging and blaring with economists, pundits of one variety or another, politicians new and old, as well as stock market graphs and USD vs TL quotes that seem to fluctuate faster than the moving eye.

Wild stuff. And a far cry from the heady days of circa 2005, when barely a storm cloud on the grand Turkish Empire was visible, from Istanbul to Aleppo, and from Ankara to Tehran.

New finance ministers and the old, new Eu ministers and others left out to pasture, vie for air time to get their shot to expound, often ex cathedra, on the profound sense of crisis that charges through the concern-laden summer air that canopies the Bosphorus, a channel very much inured to talk of crisis; diplomatic, political, economic or whatever you care to mention.

But this one has gripped the imagination of one and all; the Turkish population itself, the government, the opposition, the so-called ‘West’ and the EU – all left just a little more than dumbfounded. How could this country – just a few short years ago – the darling of the Middle East and a favourite of those inside Washington and Brussel’s power corridors, and a country achieving blisteringly high growth rates into the bargain, arrive at such a state where the TCMB (Central Bank) had to make an emergency 6.25 % increase in the interest rates? Strange beyond strange.

There have been many scapegoats put forward and many attempts to make sense of the situation. To some, it is all about a US pastor held on terrorism charges, that Turkey refuses to release, to others, Turkey’s leaning towards Iran and Russia, and its planned purchase of military hardware from Russia, supposedly non-Nato compliant. Or finally, a result of the many gaping and open wounds festering in the Syrian catastrophe. The Turkish diplomatic assault has variously attributed the shaky economy to economic warfare – posed by – we are not sure, exactly – Interest rate lobby groups, foreign powers and so forth. Luckily, many of these are mostly political in nature and could expect to be resolved through diplomacy. Perhaps, also, the eroding effects of time will wash away some of these issues and a new normal will emerge. Ample fodder for upcoming PhD students to labour over, for sure.

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Istanbul Property For Sale 2019
Ah, but let there be light!!! Istanbul property has often been viewed as a safe haven, at least by those in the region, many of whom are used to some very un-safe alternatives.

Bankable stuff. Bricks and mortar and all that, a kind of Turkish gold. Above the din of panicked markets and currencies, and no-name analysts from this or that Capital Group, the shiny towers of Istanbul’s skyline boast an impressive array of both new and old architecture, with minarets hearkening back to a glorious Ottoman past while the silhouette of some of the finer examples of modern buildings nod to a Dubai-like future, if not even greater. Well, at least that is the narrative preferred.

But on this balmy late summer day on the Bosphorous, I am getting more calls daily from developers’ sales forces trying to enlist me to sell their property than ever before. Actually, multiply the average by 10. I have actually gotten into the habit of telling them our office has closed when I realise it is another sales pit-bull on the other end of the line.

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They used to say with proud contumely, ‘Our project has a sales office. Potential clients can come directly to us and early find us by themselves.’

I have not heard any of the same bravado for several years at least. Most are inexperienced junior sales staff put in a tough spot, cold calling on agencies they know do not have many real buyers. But the lure of hitting jackpot is there : you are a foreign real estate agency and may hold the magical – though somewhat fictitious key – to vast sovereign wealth funds of Arabian extract, private equity dying for a final resting place, and perhaps even more improbable wonders. Of course, some are just hard-working sales staff going through their rolodexes and doing good detective work.

Levity aside, Istanbul is still a great real estate market and one of the world’s truly great and dynamic cities. Therefore, a well-researched property acquisition rarely will go astray. The key is to look a little deeper than the initial glossy brochures you will inevitably be met with and to unlock the hidden value through your research and persistence.


So, in the face of all this turmoil and uncertainty, indeed even crisis, what can be done?

Well, successful businesses look inward and try to plug up holes and cost-cut in times of difficulty. The Turkish real estate market is no different. Some bad habits formed during peak years and now is a great opportunity to address those ‘inefficiencies’ or ‘drags’ on the market.

This list, by no means exhaustive, points out many areas in the Istanbul real estate market where improvement could be made by various parties from; the developers to estate agents to the foreign buyers, and even to the government level by introducing policies that promote and facilitate the sale of property to foreigners. There are of course many things that could be done for domestic purposes as well, yet for our purposes here, narrowing the focus to the segment that relates to foreign purchases, is sufficient.

Istanbul Real Eastate Inefficiencies or Drags

  • The irregularities in the declaration of property dimensions in square meters by private sellers, as well as by developers (my pet peeve). For a full discussion on this subject, please read this article
  • Developers’ boasting of high rental income on projects. You must research the rental incomes of comparable properties in the area and also consult with an independent real estate professional who would be able to tell you in seconds how much a prospective property will generate in income. You may also use that agent later on in the process of searching for new tenants, so starting off a relationship early is not a bad idea.
  • The access to mortgages for foreign buyers is limited and many find the high rates in Turkey unattractive. This is a tricky one in the sense that if you borrow in TL and the TL slides, your debt can actually be much lower in currency (a kind of reverse carry trade). Still, it seems the best way to purchase property in Turkey for foreigners is to pay cash (possibly even reverse mortgaging an already-owned property). Why property owners in London are not arriving on the shores of Istanbul to snap up property is beyond me. Of course, many do, but I would expect some areas of Istanbul to be Notting Hill. Paying cash also increases your bargaining power, no doubt about it.If viable mortgage products are made available to foreign buyers and some loosening of paper work requirements are made – especially for buyers putting in 50% cash on purchases – there could be a veritable explosion of new waves of interest from just about every corner of the globe. Turkish property affordability and ease of purchase would become legendary, as the door would be well and truly open. Why banks will not give 50% LTV has always been an impenetrable mystery.
  • Unrealistic expectations. Can anyone really believe that they can generate 10% annual income on a luxury property? Yields in Monaco are about 1%, London 2.5% at best, Paris about the same, and Pyongyang, well, er, a published 18% (according to Dennis Rodman, perhaps!). Yields in Istanbul run from about 4% for luxury properties to 7-8% for standard investment properties. If you get 10%, pat yourself on the back for a job very well done.
  • Lack of research/understanding of market by buyers. Many foreign buyers come spectacularly unprepared for purchasing property in Turkey. Telling an agent the size of the property desired as well as a specific location are a minimum. Just saying I want something in ‘central Istanbul’ is not really helpful. Think of Istanbul as a country in itself. You would not walk into a realtor in Toronto saying you are looking for a property in Central Canada, though it might be a useful ice-breaker and create some mirth.
  • Lack of communication on all sides; agents, buyers, sellers. This seems like a non-starter, but it is vital. Many times deals break down from things as simple as one side not receiving key information in their native tongue. If you do not speak Turkish, at minimum, you should have a Turkish speaker who is also fluent in your native tongue, whatever that may be. Buying a property is a big deal and there are many small, but essential details that can get lost in translation, so to speak. If you are using a lawyer, use one whose language skills are impeccable. The lawyer acts as an impartial player in these transactions and it is his/her job to relay information impartially and also to defend your interests exclusively. They will be able to advise you on all technical aspects of a transaction, but may not offer insight on the value of a property, etc, as that is really not their expertise.
  • If the agent or developer point of contact only speaks Turkish, you may be in for a rough road. In a city with millions of highly educated, young and entrepreneurial people, finding proper assistance is not very hard and you should insist on it.

Buying A Property For Sale in Istanbul – Positives

  • There is now an attractive real estate to citizenship program on offer by the Turkish government. It is quite enlightened and could benefit many in the region looking for a bolthole from unrest in their home countries. For more information click here.

NOTE: This will also be the subject of next blog, with some key analysis by a foremost figure in the field for such programs. and founder of NomadCapitalist.

  • Your currency goes a far way in today’s market, but this trend may not last forever. This graph represents the TL vs. USD over the past 5 years. It looks like now is truly the right time to buy, as many analysts are now saying the Turkish Lira is actually undervalued, largely due to what is hoped are temporary political reasons (discord with U.S.). The much-vaunted Big Mac index, for what it is worth, also confirms this.
  • Government. There is stability at least for the next few years. One has to believe that this will eventually have a soothing effect on markets.
  • Increase of property sales to foreigners. For more information Click Here

Finally, Turkish property will do away with USD and Euro pricing, as decreed by the president. This should have a net positive effect for foreign buyers looking to seriously buy property in Istanbul as reported by the BBC here.


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The pulse of the market: Spring 2016 Istanbul

This is shaping up to be quite an unpredictable year for Istanbul property. Those familiar with the Istanbul real estate scene will know that this is not exactly a new phenomenon. One of the biggest surprises so far has been the dramatic crash of the Airbnb and short-term tourist rental market. In the past several years many people made extraordinary returns renting out their property in Istanbul to tourists on a short-term basis. This year, however, it is quite a different picture all together.

It is actually just a classic example of supply and demand  mismatch. There are a few other factors that are adding to it and exacerbating this seriousness of the decline. Unfortunately in the past years they’re just have been so many hotels built as well as so many Istanbul property owners who have looked to short-term rentals as a nice way to increase their overall yield on a property as well as to enable them to use it from time to time.

is this a new dawn for Istanbul property?

is this a new dawn for Istanbul property?

Several years ago I predicted that this was inevitable and I was surprised,in fact , that the good times went on for so long. I knew young people, often students, who were renting out flats for the purpose of sub letting them out to tourists. In fact, it became quite a trend. As the number of tourist rentals exponentially, the demand at the same time actually began to show signs of tapering off. Istanbul is a huge tourist draw and the number of tourists coming here yearly is breathtaking.

where have the Europeans gone?

These guys are taking a break from Istanbul

The issue is that the competition between hotels service Apartments grew while the number of tourists who opted for short term apartments actually decreased. Many tourists come from the Middle East and other regions of the world where the idea of renting somebody’s personal property is not widespread and, in fact, may even be considered  peculiar.

The European tourists are the ones who actually prefer the conveniences and flexibility offered by serviced Apartments. But their numbers have been declining for the past few years for a number of reasons.

I think that this is unlikely to change fundamentally over this short period. It looks like it will be a classic boom-and-bust cycle with the weaker operations getting weeded out and perhaps the stronger ones getting more market share as the others are forced out of the market. This could take a few years to play out. It’s not an overnight thing. The areas I am referring to are in downtown Istanbul so they are likely to rebound when the supply and demand issue works itself through the system.

What interests me more however is how it interacts with Istanbul property prices in the downtown area. The first thing that I noticed almost immediately in the past few months was that so many more properties in Istanbul came back onto the long-term rental market. It was literally a flood. And these are Apartments that have been well decorated, furnished and designed in order to appeal too wide range of tourists. The demand for rental properties in downtown Istanbul is pretty steady and strong. At the moment though this glut means that many properties that would usually be quickly snapped up remain empty for much longer then they would have been in the past.

Many Istanbul property owners are frustrated by this turn of events. Some have to pay mortgages and the lack of income generated no doubt creates stress. For this reason as well as many others it is not a big stretch of the imagination to conclude that quite a high number of those people will decide that it is time to cash in and sell their property in istanbul possibly in search of higher-yielding properties.

Is this all bad news? Not necessarily. The people who ran good short term rental businesses well may actually benefit from this in the future but they will have to be patient of course. The other very positive aspect is that house prices really have become artificially high in the downtown area. Many of the owners do not understand that the prices far exceeded affordability levels. Prices of $4,000 or $5,000 per square meter for properties with no particular outstanding features are just too high given the fact that interest rates are also very high.

This has created an environment where very few transactions are actually occurring. People involved in the market understood this well and were waiting for some event to break the log-jam. The dramatic free-fall being witnessed in the Airbnb scene looks to be exactly that catalyst.

Homeowners in downtown should not fret too much. Many of them have made exceptional returns and should be pleased with the investments they have made. Many also have  lovely properties and will not sell under any circumstances. And this in no way will cause a crash in prices. It will just mean that some people will make the rational decision to cash in on investments and perhaps try something new. This will create buying opportunities.
Over the mid to long-term, Istanbul is an exceptional place to own  property. Owners will just have to get used to the new reality and reduce their rental prices or their asking prices when looking to sell.

There are still enough buyers out there that they can certainly sell their properties to. Conversely, for new buyers it does represent an opportunity indeed. Also for many young people who have effectively been locked out of the market, this may be their moment to get on the ladder and own a home. In short the last few years represented a slow down in investments in the downtown area. What is happening these days may actually spur new investment, as investors see price levels that will be very tempting.

Being such a rapid and dramatic occurrence, I am very interested to speak with anyone connected to real estate in downtown, in order to brainstorm with a view to coming up with solutions to combat the adverse effects of this sudden new reality.

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What is drawing the big names in football to Istanbul?

Tw VPTurkish football and the Süper Lig may not carry the same global prestige as the Premier League, but the profile of Turkish football has been regaining strength in recent years, due in part to a number of high profile names heading for Istanbul.

Tw NaniBut what is it that saw players as high profile as Didier Drogba and Wesley Schneider opt to play at Galatasary a few years back, and more recently lure United team mates Van Persie and Nani to Turkish rivals Fenerbahce for the coming season?

Well despite the reputation of a league, the obvious light that attracts even the largest moths in the game is of course, money. Heavy investment, big sponsorship deals and improvements in grounds and training facilities have allowed teams around the world, to evolve into a more tempting proposition for the big names.

We’ve seen it in China, Russia and probably to the greatest extent the USA. “Soccer” is fast becoming a national past time in the states and the MLS draws vast support despite only being a spritely 22 years old.

Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, David Villa, Kaka and most notably David Beckham are amongst the big names to head state side. But the MLS has been branded with the unfavourable title of the Premier League’s retirement home, as players head for warmer climates to see out the twilight years of their careers.

The same however cannot be said for the Turkish league. The rivalry within Istanbul alone between Galatasary and Fenerbahce, and to some extent Besiktas, is arguably one of the fiercest in the game. With Galatasary and Fenerbahce in particular offering a very real chance of excelling in European football, the pace is far from leisurely.

So for those not quite ready for the retirement home, Istanbul offers the competitive football they require but what else? Well with some of the best tax rates outside of Monaco RVP will be keeping the large majority of his £240k weekly wage in his pocket. Not only this but the cost of property in Istanbul is considerably cheaper and, even the high end market offers more for your money than you’ll find elsewhere in the footballing world. The average cost to rent a one bedroom apartment in Istanbul is just £310 a month, a 52% difference to the £650 a month in Manchester. Over 80% cheaper than renting in London at £1,600 a month!

With their £4m+ transfer fees, it is unlikely either Van Persie or Nani will be struggling to afford the cost of living in Istanbul, or that they’ll opt for a one bedroom flat in the city centre. Professional footballers are wrapped in cotton wool these days and their agent organises everything from their hair cut to their living arrangements.

The majority of them end up rubbing shoulders with the Istanbul elite in the high end housing developments, that provide the secure environment needed to keep them away from prying eyes. Developments such as Istinye Park, Listinve, Selenium Twins and the Macka Armani Residence (rumoured to be home to Sneijder’s multi-million pound pad) are all popular options.

Lilimonts Istanbul Partner, Keith Boyle, commented:

“The privacy of these luxury residences with their high quality fitness and wellness areas, 24 hour security looking after the needs of Istanbul’s elite, swimming pools and full concierge services seem to be de rigueur in the choice-making of these wealthy, though often temporary expats.

Many, of course, opt for rentals in the same type of compound. However, others sense that the exorbitant rents make it a wiser choice to purchase a property with the anticipation of price gains.

The size requirements would typically be anywhere from 200 sqm all the way beyond 500 sqm. Mr. Persie, in an elite compound with great Bosphorous views, may expect to pay anywhere from £1.2-5 million on such a great pad.”

Lilimont 1Lilimont Istanbul are listing such apartments in this luxurious development in Florya, situated within eight acres of landscaped grounds. It boasts sea views, a central but private location, its own shopping centre, food, drink and entertainment facilities, a playground and health and fitness facilities including a Turkish bath. These three to seven bedroom apartments start as low as £390,000.

But if this expansive development is a little too open for the camera shy footballer, an apartment in this extremely exclusive Selenium development in Sisli may be more appropriate.

Lilimont 2

Each of the buildings offer every amenity our former Premier League stars might expect from the finest hotels. There is a grand entrance, fitness facilities, the buildings personal security as well as lounge and restaurant space to name just a few.

The development is one of the premier property projects in Turkey at present carrying the prestige associated with a top name in football. An apartment on one of the top floors will set you back just over the £1m mark, with one on the lower floors priced around £700,000. A real steal when you compare the quality and price tag with similar projects around the city.

However for the footballer that likes to think for himself there are other options offering the expensive flash lifestyle, but with a trendy city location that will provide a taste of Istanbul’s culture, not just another private gated community.

Lilimont 3

It doesn’t get flasher than living on your own exclusive island and the Karamanyan Timber Mansion would make the perfect footballing residence! It lies just off mainland Istanbul on the second largest of The Prince’s Islands”.

The prestigious location is a stone’s throw the island’s private beach and beach club and is steeped in history. Standing 60ft tall it is easily the most impressive property on a street whose name translates to “Street of Mansions”.

Lilimont 4Or if Robin or Nani favour a drive to work over a speed boat, this penthouse apartment in Galata ticks all the right boxes.

The two bedroom apartment offers panoramic views of the Golden Horn and Bosphorous are spectacular, further brought to life by the property’s oversized living room window. The 40sqm terrace provides outstanding views, overlooking a gothic church that remains from the Crimean War.

So if RVP or Nani are still in the market for a property, they should visit us at Lilimont Istanbul, and we can help them find something a bit more unique than an apartment in a closed community.

Lilimont Istanbul Real Estate: http://www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com/

Elections and a good Istanbul Property deal.

First of all, it would be hard not to mention the elections just past, which seemed to have fixed the attention of the entire country.

looking serious

looking serious

_83471165_e76a1016-7576-4c83-a0b2-1c5c912447b2

looks pleased with himself

The big surprise was that the AK party lost its majority and may need to form a coalition, something that has not happened in more than a decade.

The next 45 days look as if there will be a fair amount of uncertainty. Nonetheless, if the bickering that was so present during campaigning can be put aside, then there may be a resumption to a new kind of normal. Distant memories of weak and ineffective coalitions haunt the minds of many Turks, yet there is no reason to be sure that history will always repeat itself. Pessimism at this point is premature. As Abullah Gul wisely said, now is the time to focus on making things work. Indeed.

The first reaction of the markets seemed to indicate some panic and fear, but it has been far from free fall, suggesting that the sentiment is not as dire as it could have been. And voter turnout? Turkey must have one of the highest voting rates in the world, coming in at over a whopping 80%. That suggests that some parts of the democratic system are working just fine. Now if only the politicians could start being a little more collegial to one another!

As you may have noticed, from time to time we feature a property in the blog. Usually, we select this property in Istanbul carefully. Our criteria are essentially that it be an attractive property in some fashion and also makes for a good Istanbul investment vehicle.

This week, we are putting forth a one bedroom apartment just off Omer Hayam in The Aynali Cesme neighborhood.

pretty istanbul property

pretty istanbul property

This property in Istanbul was renovated from A to Z three years ago and remains in top condition. It is 65 square meters with an open kitchen plan and windows facing lively, colorful and vibrant Tarlabasi. In the evening sun, the view of dilapidated old Istanbul buildings in Tarlabasi is suffused with other-worldly hues. It really is a fantastic and nostalgic view for those appreciating this side of Istanbul life. feature-540x359

The asking price is 115,000 euro and it rents out strongly at 1500-1700 TL. It is also being offered with all furnishings. At a roughly 6-6.5 percent yield, this makes for an investment that provides immediate and steady returns. Being in a historical Istanbul building, the flat has high exposed vaulted ceilings and original wood flooring.

Galatasaray, at the midpoint on Istiklal, is a mere 5 minute walk.

This school has been around since the 15th century

Galatasaray school has been around since the 15th century

The price represents the entry level for properties in the area, so it is ideal for those seeking to take that first step on the Istanbul property ladder.

An optimistic view would look past the immediate political instability as a long term view points to democracy working in Turkey as opposed to a good amount of other countries. The political middle ground will most likely be found relatively soon followed by economic stability and in a relatively short time investments such as the property above could well look like shining stars against a backdrop of over leveraged Western property investments. Warren Buffets quote springs to mind – ‘Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful’.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

 

Keeping Property in Istanbul in Perspective

It has just been announced that housing prices in Istanbul notched a record rise this year.

Great news, but not without need of caveat.

In my decade plus here in Istanbul I have lived through the following:

  • -Istanbul property prices were originally billions of Turkish Lira.
  • -Or you could buy a piece if istanbul real estate for 100,000 Turkish Lira.
  • -The Turkish Lira was almost on par with the dollar some years back and now it is worth virtually 3 Turkish Lira.


Of course, there is a bit of leger de main at play here, as I am comparing the old Turkish Lira and the new Turkish Lira.

The Mightly green back

The Mightly green back

However, the relationship between the mighty dollar and the Turkish Lira has been a case of decline of the lira over the past 5-7 years. This means that Istanbul house prices have had a harder time keeping pace with the blazing dollar, and has also meant that those holding USD now find the prices very attractive in Istanbul. The record price rises should be viewed within this context, as well as the opportunity that currently is taking shape in Istanbul. In the city center, as opposed to the far-flung suburbs, the Istanbul housing market is robustly marching along in terms of lira prices. The outer areas, however, are about to feel the pinch. As istanbul developers try to pass on their increased costs due to dollar strength, they will likely find that their TL earning consumers will have reached the max in terms of affordability.

In downtown Istanbul, the market is readily propped up by dollar-wealthy foreign investors who have an appetite for anything they deem reasonable value. In a sense, this is not so different from how London operates, though on a less grand scale. During the interminable crisis that has come to shape the perspective of many investors, London became what they term a ‘buy and leave’ destination for investors, who often parked cash in properties that they neither rented out nor lived in. This simply does not happen in the TL dominated World of suburban Istanbul and is why I strongly favour sensible investment in the center. Commentators wryly referred to the London phenomena as being akin to a safe deposit box. Many Middle Eastern (GCC, MENA and countries to the near east of Turkey) now view Istanbul in this light.

Just buy and leave... simple as long as you have a million quid

London, Just buy and leave… simple as long as you have a million quid

Central Istanbul property shares some similarity with this investment trend. Investors often see the bustling downtown, with a vibrant economy, despite the bumps along the way, as a good position to hold, often taking a long-term view. Be it the ’flight to quality’ or ’safe haven’ or the less prosaic, more humorous ‘buy to leave’, there is the common thread that sees the big money investors in istanbul are staying away from what are viewed as the riskier non-downtown areas of large metropolitan areas. Legendary Irish poet Yeats may have exclaimed that ‘the center cannot hold’ but he certainly was not referring to real estate in the new millenium, but, then again, he lived in a castle.

Another oft-neglected aspect of this flight back to the center is the inevitable rise in transportation, of which the cost of public transportation is the most sensitive. In Istanbul, sudden price rises of 30% or more for single-line transport have been known to happen. Once a bargain, the costs of daily commutes are starting to add up, with consumers constantly making calculations taking into account lost time travelling and the monthly AKBİL total (like an Oyster card). In addition, as metro lines expand, so do the number of people using them, often making it more crowded and less comfortable (I can attest to the fact that after the Levent line was expanded to Yenikapi, I now always have to stand, regardless of the time of day).

In spite of all the possible outcomes over the next half-year or so, it seems that the most likely is that central ıstanbul will retain its primacy and will be less adversely affected by the spasms of an EM currency.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

Ferikoy: bargain hunter’s kill zone

Ferikoy is surely a neighborhood that will experience very good capital growth. It is very central in Sisli, and only about a 10-15 minute walk to Osmanbey, the nearest metro stop. In many ways, Ferikoy has not had its day in the sun due to the impressive surge in popularity of adjacent Bomonti, which is truly booming and has the crown jewel of the sparkling new Hilton.

Once quite ethnically mixed neighborhood composed of Armenians, Greeks and a Jewish community, it now is home to working class Turks. However, a change is discernible, with many local business owners becoming wealthier, their appetites for more appealing housing has become evident with the many new constructions sprouting up.

Pretty smart

Pretty smart

Furthermore, many Turkish people, revolted by the commutes to outlying suburbs are scouring these once forgotten neighborhoods, undoubtedly seeing that the calculations tips into Ferikoy’s favour when travel costs and ever-important time is taken into account. Add to the fact that Ferikoy actually has a neighborhood feel and a sense of vibrancy, it is no surprise that it is starting to get much-deserved attention.

An exceptional Antiques market

An exceptional Antiques market

As prices in nearby Bomonti seeme destined to break the 3000 USD/ square meter mark and Nisantasi, a brisk ten minute walk, considerably well beyond that mark already, it makes sense that prices in Ferikoy, which start at 1500 USD/sqm, are at attractive levels for investors as well as those locals desperately trying to avoid coughing up a large portion of their monthly income to generally rising rents.

The only thing that stops nearly every single property in this area from getting snapped up is the stringency of the banks and their common approach of rarely exceeding loaning more than sixty percent of the true market value of these properties, thus making it difficult for budget (i.e. Low-mid income buyers) to come up with what still amounts to a sizable downpayment. Further keeping a lid on matters are the high loan rates that drive up monthly payments to the point where the loan terms are mostly not much more than five years, with borrowers eagerly closing them before the full term, if at all possible. Here’s a great deal  - Lilimont Ferikoy

Rental properties in the area start from 600 USD for a one bedroom and up to 1000 USD for a two bedroom, with rental contracts usually agreed in TL.

If nearby neighborhoods provide any example, it seems likely that these will steadily increase in the next few years, possibly as much as 40-50%, making the future yield look very strong.

With Bomonti starting to look more and more like one of Istanbul’s most successful urban regeneration zones, it does not tax the imagination to feel that where Bomonti goes, so will Ferikoy.

Flats in need of tasteful renovation abound and are ready for the enterprising investor who, mind you, should look for a realistic return, perhaps 20 percent for a project.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

 

The Target Istanbul Property Project

In the last blog piece we looked at some strategies for making, or rather maximizing profits, under possibly challenging conditions and identified five points for investors to follow. Now, we will apply those principles to an Istanbul investment property that is actually on the market.

To begin with, it should be said that it is believed this investment has the potential to achieve a 20-30 percent return in a year or so, a very good result if accomplished.

Just a few details on this project before we start - 

  • two apartments that can be joined to form a 3-4 Bedroom duplex property with a total internal area of 200 sqm, and an additional 15 sqm of balcony space, or about 7.5 sqm on each floor.
  • fantastic, open Bosphorous view.
  • interior in need of complete renovation.
  • exterior works also need to be undertaken.
  • 5th and 6th floors.
  • there is a functioning lift that also needs to modernized.
  • building entrance and stairwell also need painting and decorating.
  • the property is the ultimate in central location, looking out over Taksim Square on the street side and Bosphorous facing on the other. Siraselviler Street, on the way to Cihangir from Taksim.
  • asking price is 950,000 USD.
one of the best views in istanbul

one of the best views in Istanbul

At first sight, this is a property that many may overlook due to the poor internal appearance of the flats. However, those with an eye for real estate development may see beneath these cosmetic issues and focus on the excellent location, superb views and the fact that there is a lift.Let us do the numbers and see how they come out.

and the other.....

and from the other side…..!

Assuming a final price of 925,000 USD with all costs in (see last blog, POINT 1…buying at the right price) and a generous renovations budget of 125,000 USD, the total investment equals 1.05 million USD, so a re-sale in the vicinity of 1.3 million USD would achieve the desired return.Is this possible? It certainly is and here are a few reasons why:

  • full sea view properties are at the absolute high end of the market in Beyoglu. 10,000 USD/sqm prices have been recorded. However, these would be reserved for buildings with amazing character and prestige, check this out as a prime example of one of the best. Making a discount in this regard, the well-finished product that we would expect after injecting 125,000 USD into building and flat renovations, should get a price in the 6-7K/sqm range, which is well on target.
  • the size of the property puts it in the luxury category. Finding a flat in excess of 200 sqm in the area is quite a challenge, with average sizes much closer to 120 sqm.
  • the lift is a huge factor. Wealthy individuals (the end buyer) may not brook climbing up five floors (the younger legs may, however).
  • the prime location will be attractive to all, particularly foreigners. It also could be used as luxury office space (see POINT 2 in last blog…”the type of property should have a fairly wide appeal).

Now we come to POINT 3 from the last blog:  Be the catalyst for change in the building, and as you are on a schedule to complete your project and achieve your return, possibly take the high ground and put more cash into the building improvements than is your share.

Looks a bit dated and tired

Looks a bit dated and tired

In this case, there are 8 flats in the building, 6 not including the duplex, meaning your share is 25%. Perhaps instead of going the long path with lengthy owner’s meetings etc, cut it short and offer to pay for half of the improvements to the building.  After all, you are looking to close the investment within a year and lengthy discussions on building works are clearly not in your interest.

a scub and TLC and its this!

a scub and TLC and its this!

Again, let us go back to the figures -

The total budget is 120 K USD. 100 K USD should be suficient in completely renewing and redecorating the flats (wholly new electric, water, natural gas, plastering, flooring, re-inforcement of balconies, fully modernized and stylish washrooms and kitchen). This number could obvously go up, depending on the degree of luxury you seek. It could also be brought down lower, but for the purposes of the investment, that would seem to be detrimental. The quality of finish is highly important. Istanbul has become somewhat of a hub for high end design and contemporary chic, so many people are now putting finishes that are on par with those in Manhattan, London, or Paris. Money spent on these flash flats usually gives a good return on the investment. When you are going to sell a high end property, it is better to go a little over the top rather than doing something just acceptable.

-this leaves 25,000 USD for building works, plus an additional 25,000 USd collected from the owners.
With this, you can re-work, clean and repair the clad facade for an estimated 20 K (replacing a new facade won’t cost much more) . The entrance, stairwell and elevator, on estimate, could be repaired, replastered and redecorated for an additional 20 K with ease. This would leave 10 K for contingency. This dated 60′s building could be become a stand out cool property such as The Sanderson in London… without the help of Philipe Starck!

These works could be completed within 6 months or earlier, if you are super-organized and have good luck. That leaves 6 months to sell the property.

That brings us to POINT 5: Price the property appropriately. Remember that the magic number is 30 percent, so do not put an asking price of 1.75 million USD. Instead, a good starting point may be 1.5 million USD. This leaves you room to negotiate and still hit the target.

So, what are you waiting for? Imagine a 200 sqm plus luxury duplex in the absolute heart of a prime area in Istanbul.

Lilimont will offer services from A-Z to assist you in achieving your investment goal in Istanbul. www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

 

 

Niches in the Istanbul property market

In a previous blog, I touched upon the opportunities for Istanbul property owners to let out their properties on a short term basis to the ever increasing number of tourists. This has been a niche market where investors have been able to use their human capital and sweat to produce better than average returns, and in many cases, set up small operations that provide enough income to justify their putting a full time effort into it.

Of course, in property markets that are expanding, such as Istanbul, there area lot of alternatives that perhaps investors may want to turn their attention to. Below are just a few that I want to draw attention to.

1-the summer home market within driving distance of Istanbul seems to be getting increasingly more attention. Areas such as Lake Sapanca seem to creating a lot of buzz, particularly with Arab investors. Seen as a lush and temperate alternative to their native lands where summers are barely livable, Sapanca offers villas at affordable prices ( www.myvillasapanca.com/ ) and large enough to house the sometimes very large families. There is no doubt that this trend will continue and that land values in this area will rise, as well as touristic ventures of all forms.

Serene beauty

Serene beauty

I would not put it in the undiscovered category, but there really is so much potential for 5 star hotels, residences, spas and  business focussing on wellness trends. It is hard to see the downside of this area, being naturally beautiful and just a two hour drive from Istanbul. Typically, Turks with some wealth have always chosen the coastal areas for a second home.

2 hours from Istanbul

2 hours from Istanbul

However, a new set of wealthy class is seeking convenient getaways from the city that can be accessed year round on weekends. In a future blog, I will try to uncover some land deals for potential investors, as this seems the way to go. A ten year horizon could yield incredible returns.

 

2- Time shares. This is really so new here that it is hard to give much information, other than to say that this would certainly be an interesting angle for investors to explore, both from an owner of a time share to a developer of purpose-built time shares. As Istanbul’s role as business and tourist hub continues, more demand from wealthy business people and frequently returning tourists will swell. There is a new development on a largish scale in the Esenler area that is, again, being marketed to Arab buyers. This is a large, corporate-style time share, but one would imagine that smaller, more bespoke type of operations could generate some significant interest. This can also be an interesting alternative for those just wanting to get a foot in the market here, allowing them to do so without a large investment.

3- Student accommodation.

old style stooodents

old style stooodents

One thing that outsiders to Turkey may not know is that there has been a stunning rise in the number of universities such as Bilgi University and private education institutions that have opened their doors in the past decade.

The trend looks a safe bet to continue as the job market is demanding higher educated workers and earning spots in the top state universities are getting ever more competitive.

they're all like this nowadays...

students are all like this nowadays…

Though anecdotal, it seems there is a vast undersupply of affordable and purpose built housing for students. Properties in Tarlabasi and Aynali Cesme offer good University rental income.

 

 

 

 

4-

getting on

getting on

As the structure of Turkish families changes, albeit much more slowly than in western countries, it seems inevitable that retirement homes and nursing homes will become at least a bit more prevalent.

It may be seen by many as a sad state of affairs, but according to countless statistical studies, most countries, as they grow economically, also see rises in the number of such institutions opening.  One would also surmise that if women begin to take greater roles in the work force that this will further accelerate this trend.

 

5- Hey, get off that sofa!!! Again, as The power of the Turkish consumer grows, more and more are looking to fitness and leisure activities. Health clubs, once the domain of the wealthy, are popping up in most suburban neighborhoods and shopping malls. Here’s one of the good ones - http://www.njoy.com.tr/N/

One more rep!

One more rep!

Still, again anecdotally speaking, it seems Turks are still not engaging in sport enough and certainly not in enough varieties of sports. It is a pity that Istanbul did not get the Olympic bid, but one can hope that it raised awareness. The governing party seems to be supportive and are very concerned with the direction of today’s youth. Surely they will see the healthy body-healthy mind connection and devote more resources to this area. There is certainly evidence that this will be the case, though some ways to go yet.

Of course, this should be complimentary to efforts and investments that are made in the private sector.

I would be pleased if any readers would share there property niche ideas, as the above is by no means comprehensive…Hey, maybe we could even work on a joint venture!!!

If there’s any entrepreneurs out there that needs a well sourced piece of Istanbul real estate, then we’re more than happy to help find it! – www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com