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.

Istanbul property, property in istanbul, property for sale in istanbul, istanbul property for sale, property istanbul, property for sale istanbul, real estate istanbul, buy property in istanbul,

“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.

Bosphorous Property For Sale Instanbul Buy Properties Real Estate

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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Red lights- you may have got it wrong on pricing when putting your Istanbul property up for sale

One of the most difficult yet necessary tasks of an Istanbul estate agent is to moderate the sometimes exaggerated values owners have of their own Istanbul properties. To further compound the sensitivity in this is the constant state of flux that exists normally for real estate markets, as well as imprecision in assigning a value to a particular piece of istanbul real estate.

I can tell you, over the years, I have certainly seen both ends of it. I have seen property in Istanbul sell for much more than I would have imagined, but more frequently, I have seen properties sit idly for sale for eons due to incorrect asking prices.

Though far from exhaustive, the below list should give you some idea of whether or not your expectations are in line with market reality.

  • You have assessed the property as objectively as possibly in the context of the broader market.
    do it...

    do it…

    It is important that you have not just gone on the internet and done a superficial search on asking prices. Be aware of neighborhood transactions and compare to your property.

 

 

 

  • You have had two separate real estate agents in Istanbul provide valuations. You may want to consider paying a small sum to them, as this might let them know you are serious about getting an accurate, well-thought out assessment.
  • Has your property been on the market for 6 months? This is a sufficiently long enough time to gauge market feedback and also long enough if some temporary blips (political uncertainty, etc) might skew price trends.
    too long

    too long

    If your property has been on the market for a year or more, ask yourself the question if you are really serious about selling your property.

 

 

  • Have you been following your estate agent’s client flow? If they are averaging less than one viewing per week, it may suggest a problem. Of course, for higher end, more rare real estate types, this may be overly-ambitious. However, for your average property within the majority of buyers’ reach, you should be hitting this number, with one view every two weeks being the absolute low.
  • Do some clients seem offended when you show them the property? Although this is a pretty extreme situation, it does happen. I rarely will agree to take on a property that is offensively overvalued, as it immediately destroys credibility and wastes time. Some clients will be very forthright and comment on an absurd asking price. If you hear such comments, do not just brush them aside. These people are not doing this as a negotiation tactic. They will not be making an offer on the property.
  • Very basic, but are offers coming in? Are some clients coming for a second viewing. If you are not getting any second viewings at all, that is a huge red flag.
    deals to be done

    deals to be done

    I always sense when selling a property is imminent and one of the big cues for this is several clients making repeat visits to the property.

  • Yield, yield, yield. Assuming your property is not a Norse Castle somewhere north of Stavanger, most clients will be interested in how much rental income a property could achieve. Just about everybody has some idea about rents in local neighborhoods; it seems to be wired into our survival DNA, so it should not be hard to figure this out.
  • And one of my personal little favorites. If you are using general listing sites that count the number of hits you have and they have an “add to favorites” function and you are not getting more than one “add to favorites” out of one hundred, it is a signal that even in the impersonal online theater, buyers are not even tentatively showing an interest! My hot properties usually get 3-10 “add to favorites” in one hundred. Try it some time, it is a lot of fun.

 

So, in short, in the rough and tumble world of real estate, a little self-monitoring can be a valuable tool!

 

An Istanbul property buying opportunity.

Many medium to large size investors use their invested amounts to leverage better Istanbul real estate deals for themselves. If they are investing in larger developments, they can also negotiate much better prices than those just coming off the street and looking to purchase single properties. They can further secure further discounts by getting in very early in the construction phase. Developers have been known to give up to 30 percent discounts in the first phase of a project as compared to the delivery stage. Therefore, wealthy investors, rather than developing their own project and assuming all the risk, sometimes piggy back on the developers and purchase large numbers of properties in Istanbul at steeply discounted prices, which they sell on delivery of the project, often at lower prices than what the developer is offering at that time.

Currently, one of Lilimont’s clients has 5 units in the very popular ‘My Home’ project in the booming Maslak area. The area, about ten minutes from the city center and immediately adjacent to Levent 4 metro stop. As the area has really become a focal point for high rise tower development, a surge in prices is evident.

My Home in the country

My Home in the country

This price growth has enabled our client to offer these units at a discounted price compared to what is on offer by others. Furthermore, as he has identified an attractive investment requiring a good deal of capital, he has made the rational choice to let these properties go at a great price. His stated desire is to sell them to one investor, rather than one by one, which would be too time consuming, albeit more profitable.
The properties are large 2 bedrooms, with starting prices as low as 775,000 TL and would make for a good bulk purchase, with possible further price slashing by a hard-nosed negotiator. One of the units has already been tastefully furnished and you can see it here  - http://www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com/for-sell/residential-apartments-maslak/

The developer is the Turkish legend, Ali Agaoglu, a regular on TV screens and the printed press and known for his ability to offer quality projects aimed at the burgeoning middle class and their demands for green space, quality design and high quality finishes.

Ali with his disceet family runabout

Ali with his discreet runabout

A Kuwaiti investment fund alone bought hundreds of units in one of his projects, predicting strong demand in their home country.
As Maslak has become a new business and residential district, the rents have also soared and the demand is being driven by the upwardly mobile Turks who favour Istanbul property on high floors with sweeping views over the city and the nearby forest.
Rental yields are estimated at a solid six percent, with plenty of room to grow further, as can be seen in nearby Levent.

As the summer season draws closer, an influx of foreign holiday makers will be looking for such opportunities. Particularly, Middle Eastern investors are often looking for such a chance, allowing them to house a large number of family members in the same location.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

Buy to let Istanbul Property

Naturally, many if not most Istanbul real estate investors are seeking to gain rental income from properties that they purchase. for_rentApart from those who are buying to live in a property, the vast majority are quite keen to know how much a prospective Istanbul property would fetch on the rental market and often base decisions on whether or not to purchase based on such projections.
Unless you are intimately familiar with the rental market, you will probably just be guessing and your figures will be well off. Below are some tips to provide more precision for your calculations:

  • -ask the realtor directly what the income is. Obtain proof by way of a rental contract or monthly bank deposits, if possible.
  • -scan the internet for properties with similar character, size and location. Try to get five, and then average them, finally subtracting ten percent for assumed negotiated final prices.
  • -use common sense. If the figure being given just seems too high, it probably is. Better to err on the side of caution.
  • -find an online index giving rental values in particular neighborhoods, try this or this. Look a few years back to add some historical perspective, as well as give you insight if rents are trending higher.

A few points to be aware of:

  • -if you are considering a property in Istanbul with an in-situ tenant, find out how long the tenant is staying. Sometimes, they may be on a shorter contract (3-6 months) and hence will likely be paying a higher rent than those who have been living in a property for years. This may artifically inflate the yield.
  • -again for in-situ tenants, understand the current contract. Some tenants prefer to get a contract with utilities included, as often their companies pay a lump sum monthly. In this case, they are often overpaying for the convenience of not having to worry about utilities. That can be fine, but just be aware that the yield may decrease when you get a new tenant in and they just want to pay the basic rent.
  • -be aware of any tenant that has a close connection to the owner, be it a relative or close friend. Understanding the nature of their agreement is not always easy and you cannot be sure what you are getting into. Better to start fresh with your own tenant in this case, unless you feel good about the tenant.

What are some other points to consider when aiming to maximize your investment and minimize fuss?
Sometimes in our efforts to sign on with tenants, owners can be too kean and overlook diligence in properly screening the tenant.

This guy?

This guy?

In my experience, avoid tenants in Istanbul who do not have steady work, as the temptation is too great for them not to pay when the going gets tough, and favorable tenancy laws make this easier. It is better to review the tenant properly before signing, as this will save headaches later on.
Another good idea is to immediately set aside ten percent of the rental income for repairs.

or this guy?

or this guy?

In my experience, this is usually more than enough, and it can be viewed as an acceptable amount for painting, etc. However, if you have not set the funds aside systematically, it can lead you to negative thoughts on your rental, where there should be none.
Istanbul is a good city to be a property owner. The rents are high and demand or to in most areas is pretty brisk. Small apartments in Aynali Cesme or Talabasi should always have good income potential, take a look at the potentials – Aynalicesme and Tarlabasi.

Time is money!

Time is money!

If your property is remaining empty for several months, you should be honest with yourself and ask if it is really properly priced and if it is in acceptable rentable standard, these being the two roadblocks in successfully renting out your property.
Finally, it should be noted that some properties outperform others on the rental market, but may not achieve the same capital growth. This should be considered prior to any purchase. There are often good reasons for this, yet they may not be obvious on first glance (for example, a student rental property may get higher yields as many people may share the space. Yet it may nor appreciate so well if the property gets more wear and tear).

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

How’s Istanbul property faring with the new year?

With balmy spring-like weather for most of January, the Istanbul real estate scene for 2015 is off to a zippy start. Lilimont has been keeping busy with a handful of transactions, as well as a few renovation projects and our proffessional services for foreigners (these will both be discussed in future blogs).

As global currencies seem to be flying all over the place, often unpredictably due to strong intervention by central banks, it often means great buying opportunities for investors, with property in Istanbul coming at discount prices.

Perhaps another driver has been the absence of bad news. It is a curious thing that often this is enough to float markets higher. You often do not always need really good news to push real estate in Istanbul forward and bring life to the market.

So, in short, it has been a good start to the year, but we will continue to keep the pulse and offer regular updates to followers. Of course activity also means that new sellers often enter the market, sensing that it is the right time to sell.

We have several new properties, but I would like to focus on two in particular, owned by the same couple, who are moving on to what is often termed Istanbul’s sister city, Berlin. Anyone familiar with the art scene here will know that there are deep and growing connections between the artistic communities in both cities and it has become de rigeur for young local artists to do a stint in Berlin, and many are opting for longer stays due to the lower cost of living.

The first property is located just 50 meters from the Osmanbey Metro, making it incredibly convenient and central. It is on a quiet side street in a very well- maintained building.

Great pad in Osmanbey

Great pad in Osmanbey

A two bedroom, 120 square meter in immaculate condition, ideal as a rental property. The list price is 300,000 euro, and with the dip in the currency, the price has really come into its own. The renovation style is universally appealing, a perfect blend of the contemporary and the classic.

 

Cool investment in Aynali cesme

Cool investment in Aynali cesme

The second property is located on a quiet side street in flourishing Aynali Cesme. This first floor flat has all of the classic features; high ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick, and hand made Turkish tiles, all at the tempting price of 200,000 euro. It is also in a building that is well taken care of and organized, and in an increasingly prime location.

Perhaps the enterprising individual could obtain both of these properties, providing an excellent foothold in the Istanbul market. Contact Lilimont for viewings!

Outstanding Istanbul Property Investment

From time to time, being realtor in Istanbul, a truly remarkable piece of Istanbul real estate falls into your lap. Being bottom-line minded, to achieve this status a property in Istanbul must not only possess beautiful characteristics, but also must be profitable for any prospective buyer.

Ottoman Perfection

Ottoman Perfection

This is quite a challenging prospect, as the owners of such outstanding properties are usually wealthy and reluctant to sell prized assets at below market value, mostly prefering not to sell them at all. And when it is a listed first degree historical property that was inhabited by the chamberlain to Sultan Abdulhamit the Second and attached to the greater grounds of his palace? A rarity indeed.

Sumptuous

Sumptuous

At time of writing we have the Mabeyn Kosk on sale for 2.25 million USD, a bargain by any measure, with a likely rental yield of over 7%, possibly even 8.5%! The 450 sqm net property, spread over five floors, with a gorgeous 140 square meter garden has been restored to pristine condition by the same architects who worked on the famed Egyptian Embassy property on the Bosphorous.

In its recent history, it was a high end gallery bringing together the elite in Istanbul. http://www.mabeyngallery.com/EN/exhibitions/upcoming

From the Gallery website:

Located in Besiktas, The Chamberlain House is one of the most remarkable examples of civil architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. The house was the former home of the Chamberlain of Sultan Abdulhamit II, Haci Ali Riza Pasha. 

The entrance floor and the master room of the house is decorated with murals as well as magnificent wooden ceilings covered with paintings in oil. Designed to display the Chamberlain’s taste in art, the interior evokes a compelling vision of Sultan Abdulhamit II’s initial commissioning of Western Artists. 

The building houses Mabeyn Art Gallery since October 2011. All the hanging systems and panels are designed to protect the lavishly decorated interior. Now, Turkish and International contemporary art works are exhibited in a century old historical setting.

Superb detail throughout

Superb detail throughout

Naturally, with such a past, the property has been the subject of many publications, articles and dissertations, a few of which are below (sorry, Turkish language only); -http://www.mabeyngallery.com/uploads/pressclips/9150_Milliyet-Sanat-Mart-2012.pdf

http://www.mabeyngallery.com/EN/press/

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/pazar/18881450.asp

Do not let this center piece asset pass by, as it seems destined to return great yields and immediate capital growth! We would approximate that with a fair economic wind a combined rental plus capital growth a return of 15% per annum could be achieved over the next 5 years. The price is somewhat negotiable due to a need to sell.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

The Good Life in Verdant Sapanca

In my last blog piece I touched on the rising popularity of the Sapanca Lake region, becoming increasingly in favour with Istanbul property owners due to its proximity to Istanbul and its affordability.

Lake Sapanca

Lake Sapanca

Many Istanbulites, particularly the wealthy, are fond of second homes in addition to their property in Istanbul, but the coastal regions are not so accessible, particularly if it is for a short weekend sojourn.

Also, living in Istanbul can make you itch for some quiet and tranquility in green environs. For these reasons, Sapanca has come into focus very recently, particularly with the rise of several boutique villa projects, some being backed by money from the Middle East.

So, how far does your money go in Sapanca? Quite a way, to be sure.

We’ve been monitoring Sapanca for a few years now and found very attractive and spacious villas ranging in size from 150 sqm to 220 sqm imternally, with ample garden area.

great lake view property

great lake view property

The prices range for mid range from 150,000 USD to 275,000 USD, leaving lots of room for upward growth. There is likely to be many opportunities to short term let to group tourists. Of course, there are palatial villas as well, but we can say on average that the mid-range properties are in the 1250 – 1500 usd/ sqm range.

wonderful views

wonderful views

 

Luxury properties, in compounds (or clusters), with full security, tennis courts, swimming pools and all facilities imaginable can be double.

Some of the activities in the area are skiing in winter, nature walks, mountain biking, off-road 4×4 driving, picnic spots, horse riding, swimming and much more. One imagines it will not be long before a first class gold facility is launched. Local cuisine abounds in many of the large kebap houses and fish restaurants.

Blissful

Blissful

 

 

If you would like some information on properties in the area, please feel free to contact me.