In 2016, Turkey remains of the world’s leading countries in the global real estate market, with investors looking to put their money into properties in Istanbul more than any other city in Turkey. 2015 predicted an increase of 60,000 foreign property purchases in Turkey for 2016. Demand for properties in Istanbul has generally been on the rise over the past few years, not only with investors from Gulf countries but also Russia and Eastern Asia and 2016 looks as positive as ever.
Real estate prices in Istanbul are behind many European cities, but Turkish property companies are realising the importance of establishing and marketing real estate investment funds in Turkey. Global Securities Board Chairman Erol Göker said that “the bridge between capital markets of the world and Turkish real estate market is now being established.” Istanbul currently sits in the middle of the table for expected real estate sales for 2016, being the 14th most popular city in the world to invest in real estate. Businesses are particularly keen on purchasing office space and Istanbul also has a substantial development pipeline which is keeping rents stable and investments popular.
The realisation of the importance of Istanbul and other areas of Turkey in the world real estate business this year, led to one of the world’s most influential real estate development and investment events being hosted by Istanbul. Between the 24th and the 26th of March 2016, over 47,000 visitors, including 5000 investors, attended the showcase, bringing together key real estate investors and developers, regional and city investment promotion authorities, institutional investors and service providers, to network and discuss critical issues affecting business decisions in the international market.
Since 2002, Cityscape has been the leading event in the development of the world’s real estate business, with events later this year being hosted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Jeddah, Qatar, Kuwait and Korea as well as the first event of this year, held in Istanbul. Being an ideal platform to identify real estate investment and development opportunities across emerging global markets, it was imperative that Istanbul and the Turkish market make a splash in 2016, considering the current climate of terrorism and political unrest. Cityscape and the contacts that the event comes with was the perfect opportunity for Turkey to make its mark.
The news from Istanbul’s Cityscape event in March was more than positive. Sur Yapı, CEO of Altan Elmas said that the number of visitors was high considering the recent terrorist attacks and added that this is proof that Turkey remains a safe harbour. Mazaya Qatar’s CEO, Hamad Bin Ali Al-Hedfa, who runs one of the country’s largest real estate investment companies said that “opportunities in the Turkish market will continue in the middle and long terms”. The general feeling across the global market is that it is not possible for someone who invests in Istanbul to lose, because there is only one Istanbul and it is one of the world’s greatest cities, and will continue to be for decades to come.
With real estate investment funds continuing to be on the rise, emerging trends in Europe suggests that there has only been a 17% increase of real estate companies in Turkey making a loss in the first quarter of 2016, compared to last year’s figures, which is extremely positive under the current climate. There has been a significant increase in investors from the Middle East, buying into the second home holiday market in Istanbul, but also in the Marmara and Black Sea regions. Official statistics from Turkstat show that Iraqis are the most prevalent nationality buying in Turkey, accounting for 19.6% of foreign property sales, followed by Saudi Arabian buyers with 13.3% and purchasers from Kuwait at 11.1%.
Whilst buyers from Gulf States have long been the top nationality purchasing properties within Istanbul projects, there has been a noticeable uplift in enquiry levels in recent months from such buyers. With a focus on newly built projects that offer a good mix of properties and onsite facilities, there seems to be a trend towards the upmarket district of Beylikdüzü and schemes that offer a rent guarantee, maximising the ROI for purchasers.
Those investing in Istanbul properties generally prefer either the coastline or locations close to airports. The focus of high end development is concentrated on the European side of the Bosphorus with the central districts of Etiler and Nisantasi still considered prime for foreign property buyers. One bedroom apartments measuring 100 square metres in the Levent neighbourhood are currently selling for $500,000. A new build three bedroom home in Nisantasi can be bought for $1 million, and a four bedroom home measuring 2000 square feet can be purchased in the Etiler district for $3 million. Property in Istanbul is prime at the moment and it is now a great time for investors from the GCC states.
Turkey Homes founder Tolga Ertukel says that “the Istanbul property market will still be prosperous in a medium-long run because it is such a special place. This city offers a magnificent history and endless opportunities for our clients. At Turkey Homes we believe that finding a real estate agent you can trust is an important requirement in Istanbul”.