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.

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 

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

 

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.

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

 

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!

The Zorlu Center: Luxury capital of Istanbul setting the pace

Everybody in Istanbul has now become acquainted with the famous Zorlu Center, a massive development in the shadow of the Bosphorous Bridge.

Grand

It’s got everything!

The multiple award winning project is the epitome of a city within the city. It is perhaps the leading mixed use project in all of Europe, having first class office space, residential penthouses and sprawling fitness and spa, upscale shopping center with top class restaurants, a Raffles Hotel and the high profile performing arts center with a capacity of 3500 people that is hosting big name concerts with even bigger ticket prices. It is in many ways, the playground for ultra-wealthy individuals from Istanbul and, in fact, the world.

The prices, naturally, reflect this. Starting at 14,000USD/square meter, the properties with the best views are commanding upwards of 20,000USD/square meter. It is by far the most expensive high rise property in Istanbul, eclipsing Armani Macka and Saphire by 30-40%.

NY Times article

Wealthy sheikhs from the GCC, Turkish textile giants and reportedly even Jennifer Lopez are amongst the owners of these properties.

J Lo - better than a picture of concrete

Typical owner, seen at the local laundrette

Previously, the Kanyon was considered to be the place to go to eat, drink and kick back in the bustling Levent area. Now it seems everybody is going to the Zorlu Center to while away their Sunday afternoons.

Mr. Ahmet Zorlu, Director of the Board of Management of the Zorlu Holding said: “We will realize our Zorlu Center, project the first and only 5-functions mixed use project of Turkey, and present it to Turkish people who have always trusted us. Zorlu Center, with no match in Europe, will further increase İstanbul’s rapidly rising value in the world”.

Found one

the Barbican has a lot to answer for

Big words for a big project, which has an estimated total value in the 2.5 billion USD range. Double take on that number; it is hard to comprehend. The land value when the ambitious Mr. Zorlu bought it back in 2007 was 800 million USD, an absolutely jaw dropping and record breaking number at that time.

and another

I’m looking forward to buying stuff there.

The sales staff say that 70% of the residential units have been sold not long after the official opening of the Center.

 

 

 

 

Some of the shopping and dining highlights:

-Beymen 10,000 sqm store

-The first Apple center in Turkey

-Vakko has opened a two floor extravaganza devoted to luxury.

- Morini restaurant, owned by the AltaMarea Group, one of NY’s leading restaurant groups with Michelin-rated Marea and Ai Fiori.

.-Other notables include: Moncler, Bvlgari, Pomellato, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Lanvin, Dior, Miu Miu, Burberry (adult and kids), Tory Burch, Michael Kors, and Valentino, and more great dining:  Eataly, Jamie’s Kitchen, and Tom’s Kitchen.

All of this makes for a pretty potent mix. It is also well-connected to the Metro, so it is capable of bringing in the crowds. There are a few mid-priced local brands and retsaurants that the average consumer will be able to afford, so it seems likely that Zorlu will achieve its aim of becoming something of a new city center. It no doubt has raised the profile of luxury projects in Istanbul and probably will get mentioned in the same breath as Burj-Al Arab, Khalifa Towers, and the Shard in London. Although the prices at Zorlu seem eye popping, it is useful to keep in mind that they are still well off the above mentioned projects and just a fraction of 1 Hyde Park, where you may have heard that last week a 1550 sqm penthouse property was sold for 255 million USD.

1 Hyde Park - seems like a good deal to me

1 Hyde Park – seems like a good deal to me, truly standout unique.

There is little doubt that the Zorlu center has become the leading name in Istanbul luxury property. Having always been skeptical of big numbers, I have to take a step back and wonder how much early buyers in Hyde Park must have profited. The world of luxury property moves in strange ways, often in an impressively vertical fashion.

 

 

www.lilimont-istanbulrealestate.com

 

Observations and such…. a snapshot with an Istanbul real estate theme

1-With the local elections now past, Turkey seems to have entered a period of relative calm. The markets and the currency have been bolstered, and the ever-important tourism high season starts to kick into gear. Of course, there are still presidential elections coming up in August, so that may well contribute for a low Lira and continued Istanbul property buying opportunities for foreigners.

what a project

what a project

2-The construction of the third bridge on the Bosphorous is underway. It is hoped that this will alleviate some clogging of the traffic. It seems that investment in these areas should take a wait and see approach, as there already seems to have been speculative impact when the project was announced.

all coming down

all coming down

3-One of the projects I have been following for quite some time (Tarlabasi Project) continues, with the next phase of construction looking about set to begin. It may be the last chance to get an affordable and versatile property investment in the form of a town house or small building that are so much in demand in the city center. Currently buildings ranging in size from 200-400 sqm can be bought in the 500,000-1 million TL range.

 

this is what's being built

this is what’s being built

 

Renovation costs (on a complete gutting) cost about 800 TL/sqm and upwards. There is strong demand for rentals of studios and 1 bedroom apartments in the area, which can go anywhere from 900 TL/ month to 1500 TL/month. Tarla properties can be found here

The juxtaposition of Istiklal

The juxtaposition of Istiklal

4-Istiklal’s complete overhaul continues apace, with many large business buildings being town down and hotels, etc. put in their place. The side streets off of Istiklal can still be a good place to pick up good Istanbul real estate at affordable prices. Many new restaurants and famous Turkish sweet shops have also opened up (Oh no!).

 

5- Metro extensions (link) are in abundance and the Marmaray Project connecting the two continents by tunnel is fully operational. As a result, getting around town has become much easier. Not to mention that at a mere 1.95 TL per trip, Istanbul must be one of the cheaper mega- cities for public transport. Those over 65 ride free!

6- The West Side Project, one of the largest in Europe, in the Esenler District of Istanbul has delivered units in the first phase. The complex has every imaginable amenity and is reasonably central and reasonably priced. It is the ideal option for families, and even has a private school within the complex.

wow

wow – The West side

Contact for more details. Currently, there are some very good financing options, making it a very accessible property option.

7-Renovation costs on the rise? Well, not really. Istanbul remains a relatively cheap option. Basic overhauls on apartments can start from as low as 700 TL/ square meter. Of course, the Italian marble will run up those costs a bit. Electricians and plumbers run about 150 TL/day and a handyman is about the same cost. A decent carpenter is about 200 TL/day. Still well below European averages and a mere fraction of the cost in London.

8- The state of the rental market. After year upon year of increases in rents, it now appears that owners are having to drop their prices in order to find tenants for their properties. In my view, this was a necessary correction, as many owners were starting to get unreasonable in their expectations. A stable tenant at a reasonable rate seems to be the sustainable play. Owners should be looking to decrease voids, or empty periods, rather than going for top dollar. The rents should also be advertised in TL. FX rents send the wrong message, besides this is Turkey after all.

9-Military permissions, necessary for foreigners when purchasing property in Turkey, seem to be consistently being approved within six to eight weeks. Having the paper work in order and done properly  are keys to avoiding any delays in this process. It is advised to get a professional to assist with the application.

10- There is a large urban regeneration project planned in Okmeydan. The area is not so attractive now, a large sprawl, but the prices are certainly right. I believe this will be one of the more lucrative investment spots in Istanbul over the next few years. The most logical move seems to be to purchase a relatively good-sized building on the periphery of the project. The prices are low enough now that even if the project is not a blazing success, the investor would still see good growth over time. Again, I would be pleased to go over this on serious enquiry.

www.lilimont-istanbul-real-estate.com 

Booming Bomonti

A long-forgotten corner of Istanbul real estate seems to be getting its day in the sun, finally. Bomonti is a central neighborhood of Sisli, just a 10 minute walk from the Osmanbey Metro Station and about 20 minutes on foot to the illustrious Nisantasi, is showing signs of an obvious turnaround.

Location Location

Location Location

Yet, the property prices remain about half of what they are in these adjacent areas, making it an ideal selection for an Istanbul investment property. As many of the trendy and trend setting people who would normally favour Nisantasi get priced out of that area, an obvious real estate go-to zone is the corner of Sisli that is home to neighborhoods such as Bomonti and Ferikoy. Pending where you live it is between 1.5km to 2 km to Taksim, so an easy commute on the Metro or extended walk for those working there or wishing to go there on a regular basis.

In addition to the fluorishing of small, local developers seizing the opportunity to upgrade the existing housing stock, the big players have moved in and developed the Hilton Hotel, Rixos, Anthill Towers, amongst several others. While these towers reach some pretty high prices, in excess of 8000 TL per square meter and more if there is a view, some of the mid-sized projects that offer all the amenities represent good value, at around 5000 TL per square meter. International property buyers, particularly these days who are looking for a smart piece of Istanbul real estate, are starting to feel that there is real value in these prices, especially if they are coming in with hard currency. If a buyer is content to live in an older, but not historical building, and is willing to go for a renovation project, the property prices go down substantially from there, to around 2500-3500 TL.

It is not only the proximity to other colorful neighborhoods that makes this area in Sisli enticing, but also the fact that there is a very well-defined neighborhood feel in the area itself, with an abundance of cheap eateries, bakeries, baklava shops, and much more.bomonti_bit_pazari_flohmarkt002_gk_x_mob

there are not many international-type chain restaurants and bars around, but for many, that is part of the appeal. It retains some of the old Istanbul feel, with enough historical buildings to provide the ambience and character. Apart from the high rise corridor, the rest of the neighborhood is composed of humble 4-5 storey blocks, that when renewed, give the area of chic feel. The pace of renewal seems to also be gathering steam, as you notice while walking the area on foot. There is plenty of construction going on. 5044353053_c7874c5da1The affordability seems to be giving new vibrancy to an area that up until the past few years was a sleepy and forgotten place. Now it is still a nice, quiet contrast to the Taksim and Nisantasi neighborhoods, while maintaining central position.

There is also quite a bit of green space (that hopefully will not get built over!) and that is due to the presence of some attractive graveyards that are filled with pine trees and would make for very nice summer strolls, or a jog for those so inclined. There is also an historical brewery that is unique in this area and was once an Armenian enclave.

By gone brewing

By-gone brewing

Due to its local charm, one wonders that it will only be a matter of time before local artists, internet startups and the like discover the appeal of the area. No doubt, foreign investors, who are often seeking value real estate purchases at cheaper prices than could be found in there home cities,

Old breweries 21st Century style

Old breweries 21st Century style

will see the logic of an option that gives them the feeling of being in the middle of this mammoth city, while at the same time getting some necessary separation from it in terms of reduced noise pollution, human and car traffic.

As an example of the type of boutique compound that is well-priced and offers a high quality finish, check out the Terrace project that offers gym, sauna, indoor swimming pool and a lovely courtyard. Prices for 2 bedroom apartments start from 560,000 TL and there are several alternatives of duplex style apartments, either with an ample balcony or a small garden area. Contact immediately, as there are only a few remaining. The Terrace

The Terrace

The Terrace

Swimming at the Terrace

Swimming at the Terrace

So, with the New Year, there has been a lot of political turmoil in Turkey. However, as an uptick in sales suggest, many who have their eyes on Istanbul real estate see this as a unique buying moment. As the currency has plummeted, many developers are keen to sign on deals, largely cautious about what might be a difficult year ahead. Naturally, this makes it a buyer’s market. One must also keep in mind, that Turkey has seen volatile and drama-filled political periods in the past, yet has mainly been able to overcome them in the end, through some form of dialogue or compromise, though not necessarily prior to some daring acts of brinkmanship of the players involved. Let us hope that history repeats itself and that Turkey maintains the balance and stability that has been the engine of great growth.