Real estate in Turkey
2018 has been a crazy year for Turkey. The new Istanbul airport that opened in October has been touted as the largest in the world and is on track to be fully operational sometime in 2019. It’s five years into it’s Kanal İstanbul project which will link the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. This is a project that had been proposed as early as 16th Century Ottoman Turkey and is set to be completed in 2023 in time for the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.
Property prices in Turkey have remained low compared to other European countries despite the billions of dollars in foreign investment it has received throughout they year. The Turkish Lira has lost 40% of its value against the U.S. Dollar since the start of 2018, spurring an influx of foreign investment in the housing market. This could make the Turkish property market an ideal investment opportunity for the New Year. Owning property in Turkey could even give you the right to work and stay in the country indefinitely under programs like the Turquoise Card System.
The future is looking pretty bright in Turkey. While there are some short term concerns, real estate is a long term investment and if you are thinking about investing in real estate this year then here are some of the things you should know:
Where to buy?
Areas where expats tend to settle are Istanbul; due to it’s status as a business and cultural center, Ankara; for its political importance, and the south of Turkey as a tourist region. The western coast of the country is best for those who are more interested in nature or culture.
Istanbul: Istanbul is one of Europe’s largest cities, with a metropolitan area population of 12.6 million. It is a 24-hour city offering culture, business, and nightlife. Although there is a large number of available properties, there is a lack of properties that are both reasonably priced and well-maintained. There are definitely some properties that are in such poor condition. Individual areas are so far away from the city center that they are impractical for anyone who doesn’t work in them, while others are not friendly environments for foreign residents.
Istanbul is a city of contradictions and therefore one finds enormous price differences, sometimes between streets that are only 50 meters apart. It goes without saying that you should always carefully research your property, its value, and surroundings before making any purchase. While this is true of any place in Turkey, it is especially important in Istanbul.
Southern Mediterranean Coast: Properties on the Mediterranean coast vary from regular flats or small houses to luxury villas. There are also residential parks designed especially for foreigners.
Tip: If you are looking for a house or a villa, Make sure you avoid local co-operative properties. In a lot of cases, either construction quality is poor or more houses have been built on the property than were approved. Another issue is that co-operative properties are owned by the co-operative, not the individuals. So even if you buy a house or a villa, legally, you will have secondary property rights, like a tenant of sorts.
Other regions: Most of the other regions in Turkey have beautiful properties available for reasonable prices. Of course you will still have to research to find a property that suits you.
What is a good price?
Property prices in Turkey can vary to unbelievable extremes, especially in Istanbul. A 150 sq m apartment might cost a certain price on one street, while just across the street the same apartment could be 5 times the price. As always, properties in areas preferred by foreigners are generally more expensive than areas favored by locals. This is mostly due to property owners overcharging foreigners.
In order not to be taken advantage of and to get the best deal you have to remember that it always pays to shop around. Make sure you know the region you are looking to invest in and use a mixture of local and international websites to search about prices of properties similar to what you are considering purchasing. It would also be very wise to visit the area and inspect the property for yourself before making any commitments.
Avoid potential problems when purchasing property
Like anywhere else, buying property in Turkey should be approached with common sense. There are “dos and don´ts” that will protect you from fraud and even simplify the purchasing process.
First, use common sense at all times. Obviously one should never sign a contract they can´t read. Another important thing is to get copies of the seller and their real estate agent´s Turkish ID cards (Kimlik). Also, make sure that your lawyer is present, Which leads to the next point:
Find a capable property lawyer once you are actually in Turkey before you meet with any sellers. There are plenty of foreign language speaking lawyers in Turkey who can advise you. While their services won´t be free, in the long run it will most likely end up saving you time and money. You can find a list of Turkish lawyers and law firms specializing in property law at HG.org. Have your lawyer review all contracts and documents, and never make any payments until they tell you that you should.
Finally, have the property valued by an independent source. Since many property owners charge foreigners higher prices, getting an objective opinion will help you negotiate a price, not to mention protect you from getting scammed. If Turkey seems like an appealing investment in 2019, make sure you take your time, do you your research, consult a local attorney at the very least and get the best deal possible.