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.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com

Carrefour on my street – Guest blog

I have been coming to Istanbul regularly since 2008 and even in that short period the changes are amazing. I recall being really pleased when the Belediye replaced the paving on our street, but that is nothing compared to some of the major changes that have happened. In less than ten years a metro has been built that can take me from Taksim to the airport and over to the Asian side, with a trip over the Halic on the way.

Metro on the Golden Horn

Metro on the Golden Horn

The infrastructure programmes have been amazing, and when compared with how slowly Crossrail has been built in London it makes me realise just how much has changed in a short period of time. The new crossing to the Asian side came in particularly useful to me when I accidentally booked a ferry ticket to Bursa from Kadikoy instead of Kabatas. The twenty minute journey to Kadikoy wasn’t anywhere near long enough however, for me to come up with a reason why this was my other half’s fault and not mine.

Regeneration comes in many forms, some good and some bad. Where I live in London has had extensive regeneration and I recognise a similar process in Istanbul. It makes buying a property here a slightly daunting prospect, as rapid change can make it difficult to know what will happen in an area, and one must just hope that the changes will be positive. Istanbul is a wonderfully comfortable city to visit, a good friend I love to see again and again. But like a friend who buys too many clothes, you can never be sure what you will see next and if you will like the most recent trend.

One of the biggest changes I have observed is the growth of what could be described as alternative lifestyles, more often than not described derisorily as ‘hipsterism’. Often seen cycling along the streets of Hackney in London, I see similar styles more and more in Istanbul. Turks make particularly fine hipsters as dark hair and high cheekbones really help to carry off the look and Turks are one of the few people who can get away with an ostentatious Ottoman style moustache.

Hairy guy

Hairy guy

At first hipsterism was confined to Cihangar, but soon the abundance of top nots and beards became too much for that small area and it began to spread it’s tentacles across Beyoglu. For a long time however, it seemed unable to get past the natural barrier that is Taralabasi boulevard. Not surprising, as that traffic can be a bit of a nightmare to cross at the best of times, never mind on a fixie. Eventually though the hipster tide broke down even that wall and I started to see hipster cafes everywhere. Well, I think they were cafes, but they might just have been really trendy people sat outside their house having a coffee.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a hipster, local organic vegetables and artisanal cheese is great and my male friends love being free of the tyranny of shaving. Istanbul is big enough to contain a wide cross section of people, including hipsters and hijab I teyzes in baggy trousers, this is part of what makes it an amazing city and why many of us want to own a property here.

And then one day, walking down Omer Hayyam, I smelt change in the air. Was it the Belediye fixing the street? Some hope there, Omer Hayyam is still a slippy slope in the slightest bit of wet weather. Maybe it’s those slightly uneven steps and nasty bins under the bridge. Perhaps it was a Starbucks, we all know there is no cap on the number of Starbucks that can exist in any one area. And then I saw it, like a beacon in the night. A Carrefour mini supermarket.

Carrefour on my street

Carrefour on my street

On Omer Hayyam. Just around the corner from my flat. My heart beat faster, could it be true? I peered in the window and there they were, hipsters shopping. And I knew that whatever happened to the area, we would be safe, as there was somewhere locally to buy milk. So thank you hipsters, your top nots might be daft but you’re brought Carrefour a bit closer to me.

Sapanca Revisited

Lake Sapanca

Lake Sapanca

Last year, we did a few small blog pieces on the very much up and coming area of Sapanca Lake just two hours from Istanbul. Since then, as we predicted, demand for properties in the area has surged. New projects, catering to the lavish demands of GCC individuals are popping up throughout the region. Large villas in private compounds with ample green spaces, community and recreation centers and full security seem to be the property type of choice.

Lilimont has done extensive research and come up with what we feel is an ideal lifestyle, as well as investment choice.

 

Hillside villas

Hillside villas

VHSapanca Luxury is a joint Saudi-Turkish boutique Project that is scheduled for delivery in eaerly 2017. Financing is available through a leading Turkish financial institution and spans an installment period of 24-48 months. The high quality finish, lake and lagoon views, and the centrality of the project (15 minute walk to downtown Sapanca) makes his Project a bargain at approximately 1200 USD/ sqm. It is anticipated that off plan buyers will achieve a thirty percent appreciation by the time of delivery. Prices range from as low as 350,000 USD up to 750,000 USD for properties ranging in size from approximately 300 sqm to 650 sqm of internal with generous, private terraced gardens.

Inquire now with Lilimont for a brochure and specially secured early buyer discounts.

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!

 

Luxury Spa, Boutique Hotel or Luxury Mansion.. Istanbul Property with a Difference: Abbas Pasa Palace

On occasion, history and Istanbul real estate intersect and that is when the work truly becomes interesting.

2938302-heybeliada-mavisiA few weeks ago, I took a speedy ferry which brought me out to Heybeliada, one of the chain of Prince’s Islands just beyond the entrance to the Bosphorous. Immediately upon disembarking, you shift into low gear after the whizz of Istanbul life. No cars, just horse and buggy transport and a tranquil early twentieth century feel. p1230807The Islands seem made for leisure and are a perfect anti-dote to the break neck pace the Istanbulu knows so well.
The low density of property, the abundance of green and the car-free streets allow you to amble up the gentle hills past grand Istanbul mansions hearkening back to former glory. Many have now been carefully restored and the Island is again very much coming into vogue, with wealthy families such as Koc and Sabanci, having luxurious abodes.
satelite-2-540x487This valuable Istanbul land (asking price is 4.5 million USD) that we have just added to our portfolio used to house an ornate mansion in the “Egyptian Revival”style belonging to the last Pasa, Abbas Halim. plan-5It was an architectural gem of the famous architect Hovsep Aznavur of Armenian descent and also mastermind of Misir Apartmani, a landmark property in Istanbul on Istiklal Street.b_13709 Abbas Pasa was known to be close friends with many of the famous poets, artists and architects of the time.
The original structure was carried piece by piece back to Egypt and now there are just a few stone’s remains.

The unparalleled beauty of the land, as well as its proximity to the sea, make it a great choice for a hotel or a completely unique palatial residence for the enterprising individual.

As the permits have all been approved, construction could proceed quite quickly.
The price is believed to be negotiable and, based on research, it represents a golden opportunity to aquire a piece of historic and superb real estate in Istanbul.

www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com 

Ottoman Bliss on the Princess Islands

This property in Istanbul has it all – location, beauty and great investment returns.  –

Karamanyan on the Princess islands

Tranquility

Tranquility

The Karamanyan is a beautifully renovated historical Ottoman Istanbul timber mansion, which consists of four stunning apartments, located on the island of Heybeliada just off the mainland of Istanbul south of Kadikoy. Heybeliada is the second largest in a group of four Islands known as “The Prince’s Islands” found in the Marmara Sea off the coast of Istanbul.

views to die for

views to die for

It is like stepping back in time and is an amazing contrast to the hustle and bustle of central Istanbul, which, with the fast boat is only 30 minutes from Bostanci and 50 minutes to Kabatas.

7-ground11cropped1

Istanbul real estate doesn’t come much better

 

 

It is located on the Island’s main street on the way to the prestigious Halki Palace Hotel, two doors away from the Island Museum (Once In”nu’s house) and just a five-minute walk from the gorgeous Private Beach Club. The building, which stands at over 60 ft tall is one of the most impressive buildings on the Island and on the street, which translates as “Street of the Mansions”, this one is a show-stopper.

7Bathroom1cropped

beautifully designed and finished Istanbul property

1-ground10croppedThis amazing piece of Istanbul real estate was once a dormitory for the Monks living on the Island and attending the nearby Monastery, however today it is used as a boutique apartment holiday rental. The apartments themselves are full of original detail and charm and consist of two or three bedrooms; they have been completely re-furbished and re-designed from top to bottom. Each apartment boasts its own unique qualities and include grand ornate living rooms and bedrooms, private gardens, open and covered terraces and enjoy beautiful sea and mountain Views. Although each apartment is independent from one another with its own gas central heating, water and electricity, the development was created with the notion of friends or family sharing the overall property, so this is why the residence is being sold complete one mansion.

This Istanbul property stands on a plot of 320 square metres and the property boasts almost 500 square metres of internal living accommodation. This beautiful old timber building was built in 1875 as ‘Grand Bretagne Hotel.1-Living1cropped

When this hotel re-opened in 1898, the original hotel was sold to the English family the Splins and Kastriadises, later the ownership changed to mining industrialist, banker, amateur Aram, Hrant and ArtinKaramanyan brothers.

9-Garden-1cropped1

The present owners are British citizens. One is a filmmaker and the other a frequently publicized haute couture fashion designer. The building has been restored with enthusiasm and beautifully furnished by the owners, with great respect to its history. The renovation was completed in August 2008, and is fully insured for building and contents. Kitchens and bathrooms are fitted with luxury units. Many of the furnishings have been hand-picked by the owners in Europe and imported.

5penhouse3croppedCurrently operating as a small business, the apartments are let weekly for holiday rentals and over the past four years has steadily grown in turnover.

The season is April to October and on the present pricing structure and running at full capacity the turnover could be approximately 95,000GBP. The apartments are also popular over Christmas and New Years Eve and have even had bookings in November and March.

The property price includes all of the bespoke furniture, high spec kitchens and bathrooms each of which has been decorated and designed with local Turkish tiles. The sale also includes the website and rental sites with the history of bookings and business growth from the past 4 years – This is an invaluable foundation to build on for any buyers interested in carrying forth the lucrative rental business.2-Bedroom-1-Master-Bedroom

This truly is a unique opportunity to own an opulent Istanbul residence and a part of history, on an exclusive Island in Istanbul surrounded by the sea and natural beauty.

This rarely found mansion property in Istanbul is ready for enthusiastic and interested new owners and would be ideal to live in permanently, use as a family holiday or rent out as an investment property.

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

 

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

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

Istanbul Property Assessment and Valuations

Lately, I have been getting quite a few requests to give valuations on Istanbul properties from foreigners who have bought property in Istanbul over past years and who are considering cashing in. In all cases, the goal is to give as clear a picture as possible on the current fair market value on the property in Istanbul. This is often easier said than done.

take time collating the info

take time collating the info

We must consider that the fluctuations in the TL can add additional complexity for the owner. What was worth 200 thousand dollars six months ago may not equal that today, given the currency has depreciated over ten percent. Naturally, foriegn owners looking to sell up their real estate in istanbul are interested in what they will take away in terms of dollars, euros, and so on. However, when doing a valuation, it is crucial to do it in TL terms, as it is in the end an asset in Turkey, and issues such as affordability and rental incomes on properties are gauged in TL. Once we have a TL valuation we can then convert to the owners desired currency but this should not influence the valuation.

What is the thought process and what are the main points when giving a valuation?

1-The first step must be to identify comparable properties which have been sold in the same area in the past six months. Finding a perfect comparable is not always possible, as the property types are so variable, as well as street by street differences. Additionally it is exceptional difficult to assess concrete property sales data in Turkey, cadastral records (land registry) can also be consulted, but are not usually so accurate.. However, if we can find properties that can be said to be reasonably equal, this is a strong basis for getting a working figure for a valuation.

2-Once property comparables have been found, then a differentiation process can begin. Which property has a better view, more light, is in better condition generally, has a higher rental income, is located on a street where the nearby properties are maintained better? For example, if property A was sold at 500,000 TL six months ago, but it has a better view, though not in such good nick internally, what is the value relation of these multiple factors. It is not an exact science, for sure, but having intimate knowledge of neighborhoods, street by street, is essentail in coming up with an as accurate as possible assessment and dealing with what are sometimes fuzzy distinctions.  Of course, this does not apply with large compounds where you have maybe hundreds of almost identical properties. These types of valuations are simpler, as the variation decreases and the comparative data is usually much greater.

prevailing price trend

prevailing price trend

3- General market trends. This often can also be a good starting point, particularly if the owner divulges the price they purchased the property for. For example, if the owner says they bought for 200,000 TL three years ago, and the data signifies that the particular neighborhood has been appreciating at 10% yearly during that period,   İt will be up to the assessor to disprove a similar trajectory for the property in question, and to provide rationale for the exception.

4- Always involve the owner. Home owners often are keenly aware of neighborhood developments and often know quite well the price that Mr. Jones, the neighbor, sold their property for last year. It is important to ask the owner what their expectations are for the price and also why they feel that way. They may be reluctant to tell you, but if there is trust, they should and often will. If it is unrealistic, reasons must be given.

5- Allow for ten percent error either way. It is best to give the valuation with the caveat that there is an error factor of ten percent either way, which can largely be attributed to market factors that change rapidly. Also, without feedback from live, breathing clients, it is impossible to get ultimate precision.

On the lighter side. After one particulary vehement objection to a property assessment I once gave years back on a 140 square meter apartment in the depths of Tarlabasi, I was bold enough to ask the owner the grounds for so vigorously disagreeing with my assessment. After brushing aside the methodology I explained I had used, he waved his arms in frustration and exclaimed that he had to buy new apartments in Umraniye (a new suburb on the Asian Side) for his three brothers who all jointly held a share in the current property, as that was the condition for agreeing to sell this apartment. Now, thats’s the job for an alchemist, I thought.

Six months later, he called me back and agreed that I had, indeed, given an accurate valuation.

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