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20 February 2020 / Properties

6 Notable Districts of Istanbul to Buy Real Estate

If you are already familiar with the city, you may know where to buy property in Istanbul, whether this is for work commitments or a holiday home. However, international investors and those looking to get to know Istanbul better are often confused which district suits them best. This is understandable.

As Turkey’s largest city, real estate investors also want to know which areas offer the most capital appreciation, prices per square meter and current market trends. In this article, we look at the neighbourhoods driving Istanbul’s housing market, but considering it is a massive city, let us start with geographical facts and lifestyle trends first.

Covering Turkey’s north-south region, Istanbul breaks down into the European and Asian sides sitting on either side of the Bosphorus. A group of islands known as Princes also sit off the Asian coast. The Bosphorus is a strategic part of Istanbul. For many centuries, empires have fought for control over it, alongside the Golden Horn waterway sitting off it. These days, it serves as the bridge between the Asian and European sides.

Where to Buy Property in Istanbul

Need to Know: Istanbul is still rejuvenating its real estate market with new build developments. Most of these sit around the Bahcesehir- Basaksehir and Basin Express route that links the new Istanbul airport to the city centres. Experts say they offer a competitive return on investment for the short term when compared to other districts; hence real estate investors have flocked to the area.

All are residential areas and include apartment lifestyle residences with communal facilities like swimming pools, gyms, saunas, and landscaped gardens. The Basin express route is crucial for Istanbul’s transport network hence its popularity. (Further Reading – About the Basin Express and Real Estate.)

Best for Tourism – The Fatih District

When looking at tourism stats, the Fatih district is the most popular. This is understandable given it is full of iconic, historical buildings like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Anyone looking for a buy-to-let income from short term holiday lets should consider this area.

Heading across the Golden Horn but still staying within the European side, we arrive at the Taksim and Beyoglu areas which locals nickname new Istanbul because here, visitors find the best nightlife and shopping scenes with plenty of choices. Many tourists also book self-catering accommodation in these neighbourhoods.

Best for Business - Levent

While tourism is a focal point of Istanbul’s success, it is also a hub of business, finance, and economy. Individual districts stand out as centres for investors looking for commercial properties and these include Levent, Maslak and Esenyurt.

The first two often compete for the title of tallest skyscrapers, although Levent has an added advantage of sitting on the main metro line, making it easier for commuters to reach their place of work. Other districts for commercial properties include Sisli, Kagithane, and Esenyurt.

Most Expensive District - Besiktas

A need to know when entering Istanbul’s property market is that homes on the shores of the Bosphorus rank as the most expensive in Turkey. Part of that sector is Yali mansions which were built by Ottoman royalty and upper-class members of society for use as summer homes.

These days, some function as hotels and museums but others are still privately owned, and under protected status. To give you an idea of their price, one called the Erbilgen Mansion values at a staggering 200 million dollars. Otherwise, the Besiktas district on the European shores counts as the most expensive residential area in terms of prices per square meter.

Cheapest District - Esenyurt

The cheapest district is Esenyurt, sitting on the outskirts of European Istanbul between Kucukcekmece, and Buyukcekmece. One reason is its inland status doesn’t evoke the higher costs often associated with coastal and sea view homes. Undergoing massive development for off-plan and new build properties, Esenyurt offers much potential for budget buyers.

6 Notable Districts of Istanbul to Buy Real Estate


Anyone who wants to tap into the Bosphorus lifestyle and catch themselves an impressive view at the same time would do well to look at the Zeytinburnu district. Also, experts predict sizeable appreciation returns from the area when compared to similar upmarket districts like Bebek, Istinye and Sariyer. Two other notable aspects of Zeytinburnu is shopping galore, thanks to the Olivium outlet centre, and its excellent connections to Istanbul’s more extensive transport network.


For another upper-end market district, Istinye ticks all the boxes. Belonging to the Sariyer district, it is challenging to gain building permits and when granted, there is a set height in place; hence Istinye’s real estate market differs from sites like Levent. The area is home to a shopping mall of the same name that is one of Istanbul’s biggest and best, and residents have close access to the jogging trails and picnic areas of Belgrad forest.


Sitting in the Basaksehir district, Bahcesehir receives much attention because of its green landscapes. This residential area is also just 6 kilometres from the planned canal route for Istanbul, and 40 minutes’ away from the new international airport, hence it also appeals to foreign buyers. Bahcesehir Lake is its crown, and at weekends, during summer, locals flock to enjoy the surrounding picnic areas, cafes, and children’s playgrounds. Many off-plan developments in Bahcesehir also offer 3-year interest-free payment plans.


This area is dominating the market. Having grown over the last 50 years from a small village to a bustling town, many people buy property for the coastal lifestyle and shopping malls. It sits aside a large lake, that acts as the major landmark. Buyukcekmece’s property market also accommodates both budget and luxury buyers; hence it is an all-rounder.


Sitting on the Catalca peninsula, for many decades, Kucukcekmece was a favoured weekend getaway for locals living in the city centres. This changed as real estate developers realised there was potential here, and locals bought holiday and retirement homes. These days, both Turks and foreigners own property there and enjoy delights like Kucukcekmece lake. This is another area on the planned canal route.

To get more ideas of where to buy property in Istanbul, browse through our property listings. Each includes extensive information as to the neighbourhood, district and amenities like shopping and transport. If you want to view the property or receive more details via email, just get in touch. As an experienced Turkish real estate agent with a proven record of houses sales in Istanbul, we will advise and help you through the buying process.

Also of Interest

Sariyer Area of Istanbul: As one of 39 districts, Sariyer commands much respect. Its top market status also lends weight to the best of living in Istanbul with stylish architecture and residential neighbourhoods. Find out more about them and why buyers adore the Sariyer area in this article.

About Basaksehir: Many foreign real estate investors are flocking to Basaksehir district that offers much future potential, not only in terms of investment but also for infrastructure development. Apartment lifestyle residences are driving the trend, and this article talks about what property owners have to look forward to.

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