«There is a fight for every customer.» A guide on how to buy an apartment in Turkey while avoiding burn-out
According to experts, real estate in Turkey in 2021 has risen in price by about 30%. This was influenced by many factors, one of which is the increased interest of investors in this region. Along with experienced investors who understand the advantages of this part of the sea coast fully, those who are buying housing for rent for the first time have also arrived in the country. Together with the architect Anton Garustovich, a Realting.com journalist decided to figure out how to choose the right apartment in Turkey and what to look for first.
Why buy property in Turkey?
It is impossible to call Turkey a new discovery of investors this year — experienced market players «discovered» this country much earlier. But it was this year that more and more newcomers began to come to Turkey, and they are not always well versed in the choice of properties for investment. What should such buyers look at? How to approach this country without falling into the hands of scammers?
— The first thing a buyer should think about their reason to buy real estate. What is the main task this property should fulfill? The criteria for choosing a property, not only in Turkey, but also in any other country, will directly depend on this. If this is an apartment for yourself, just to travel to in summer to relax and bask in the sun, then you can consider apartments on the second, or even on the third coastline, not even in the most popular areas of the city. For example, in Alania, there are Russian-speaking areas, and there are places mainly inhabited by pensioners.
If you are considering buying an apartment as an opportunity to receive passive income, then you can consider cities like Antalya, Mersin, or Istanbul. If you want to get quick profit, you need to consider new buildings in Alanya or Mersin, and if you want to move for permanent residence with your family, then it is better to look for housing in Antalya or Istanbul, because the social infrastructure is much better developed there.
In addition to the obvious reason of obtaining benefits through investments (long-term and short-term), there is another very powerful argument for buying real estate in Turkey: the possibility of obtaining a residence permit. In Turkey, since 2013, Law No. 6456 «„On Foreigners and International Protection“» has been in force, which regulates the conditions for granting a residence permit. According to this law, there are 6 types of residence permits in the country, and the main condition for obtaining one of them is the purchase of real estate. The main advantage of this kind of residence permit is that there are no restrictions on the cost of the property. And the main drawback is that there are no visa advantages for traveling to other regions, plus the owner of the residence permit must spend at least 6 months a year in Turkey (otherwise the residence permit will be considered interrupted).
You can obtain Turkish citizenship by purchasing real estate in the amount of € 250,000, and all kinds of bonuses will apply for investors in this case: visa-free travel to 110 countries of the world, the possibility of obtaining British citizenship under a simplified program, the possibility of obtaining citizenship for a spouse and children, etc.
How to use meteorology when choosing a property
— Turkey is unique, no matter how you approach it. I’ll start with the obvious: this country is washed by the waters of four seas: Marmara, Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean. Another interesting fact: it is located in two continents of the world at once — Europe and Asia. Most of the country (the Anatolia Peninsula and the Armenian Highlands) is located in Asia, but the extreme east of the Balkan Peninsula is already in Europe. It was in Turkey that the most important trade routes converged that connected different parts of the world with each other.
Its unique warm climate, thermal springs, mountain ranges, architectural monuments, and beautiful beaches make Turkey very attractive for tourists, and, of course, tourism has become one of the most significant parts of the economy of this country. Everything adapts to tourists: the real estate market, infrastructure, even highways. As a result, real estate has become the main trend for investing in this country, as it is the most obvious and simple way to make money.
Turkey is a really interesting region where very particular trends are developing. For example, old quarters are being ruthlessly demolished here in order to build new and modern housing in their place. Social infrastructure is not keeping up with new construction everywhere, but shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants can be found in every corner. On the other hand, the cost of apartments in new buildings in Turkey is also low: in a rather popular resort region, before the pandemic, it was possible to buy a 1 + 1 apartment (an American-style studio with one bedroom) for € 35,000.
— What regions are the most popular among buyers of real estate?
— The first and, perhaps, the most developed region for tourism now is Antalya. I will not talk about its obvious advantages and beautiful landscapes (a lot has been said about this and it is not at all difficult to find information), the only thing a potential investor needs to know: despite the fact that Alanya has the longest holiday season, storms often happen here in December, with the strongest hurricane winds and powerful downpours. This year, for example, literally two weeks ago, all flights from 7 am to 4 pm were canceled due to a severe storm. On the other hand, as soon as the bad weather subsided, all processes and life in the city returned to normal. Such a natural feature of this region does not mean at all that you should not buy apartments to rent out, but it is worth considering the seasonality of such deals.
Due to the popularity of Antalya among tourists, it sports some of the highest prices for properties. We can’t talk about a super-profitable purchase specifically for investment, but your average annual income will be about 5-7%. It won’t be possible to buy an apartment on the first coastline for a cheap price, the average price tag is about € 60-80,000, but if you «move away» a little from the coast, you can find interesting options for € 50,000.
Promising and already «tried and certified» destinations in Turkey for buying real estate
— Another region of Turkey that is rapidly gaining popularity is Alania. The main advantages and disadvantages in this area will not differ much from most of the country: beautiful beaches, a warm but changeable climate, good quality food, poor water quality, a lack of central heating. However, this region is very actively developing, and that is why this area can now still be called promising in terms of investment. New residential complexes are being actively built here, new hotel chains are coming in, retail outlets of famous brands are opening their branches. Tourists from the CIS countries, Germany and Britain love to come to Alanya.
Another favorite region for tourists from Europe is Kemer. This is a very green city right on the coast, close to Antalya in popularity. The cost of a square meter for housing is also growing rapidly here, so it is difficult to find truly profitable properties. You can consider the option of buying an apartment in the primary market (directly from the developer at the construction stage), but the choice of a new building must be approached with the utmost scrupulousness.
Perhaps everyone has heard about apartments in new buildings, so I will show you a version of new buildings that has become popular in Turkey only recently — these are «„turnkey“» villas. For this options, developers build a village of several (dozen) cottages/villas, and sell them at the stage of complete readiness.
— An inexperienced investor is unlikely to consider Istanbul as a city where you can profitably buy real estate. And this is very rash, because the rental market in Istanbul has apartments gone faster than hot cakes. The fact is that almost 50 (!) universities are located here, and students come to study from all over the world. A significant drawback is the rather high threshold of entry, because the apartments here are quite expensive and the climate is not so hot.
— On the east coast of the Aegean Sea, in the southwest of Turkey, there is another resort town: Didim. This is not the most popular resort town in this sunny country, but that is only for now. Last year, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey stressed that the government has prepared two pilot projects to develop tourism in the region, and they have already begun to work on them. What does this mean for investors? This means that you need to buy local real estate right now (or even better, yesterday) if you are considering a long-term investment option.
Two simpler and more understandable (and equally fast-growing) cities for investment are Izmir and Mersin. In Mersin, among other things, there is one significant nuance — the construction of a nuclear power plant. On the one hand, this is a plus, because the number of jobs will increase in this city, on the other hand, it is a minus, because this will significantly affect the tourist flow to this region.
In Izmir, the sea is not as warm as in Antalya, however, the focus is on health improvement. Today it is a growing city where several large-scale constructions of a wide variety of projects are underway. For example, the local government plans to turn the main street in Izmir into Manhattan (whatever that means). The chairman of the city’s chamber of commerce said that about 30,000 new apartments are planned to be built a year. This means that in the next few years the Izmir real estate market will expand significantly: due to the high cost of land in Antalya and Alanya, the eyes of international construction companies will be turned to Izmir.
«Trade is in the blood of the Turks.» How not to fall into the traps of scammers
— What are the traps in the Turkish real estate market for an inexperienced buyer?
— For an inexperienced buyer, there are many traps in any real estate market, and many things have already been said about many of them before me. Therefore, I will try to tell you exactly about the specific, one might say, characteristic traps for buyers in Turkey.
The first trap that should alert you right away is a very tempting price for an apartment in a popular location. If you study the history of this country, it becomes obvious that trade is in the blood of the Turks, and they know how to set up marketing snares in such a way that often even an experienced buyer falls into them. Here, the trading process resembles a real bazaar, where they actively work with the attention of the buyer: they distract, entice, correctly place accents. At the same time, there is a fight for each customer, in the literal sense of the word.
My partners told me about a case when a buyer came to buy a specific apartment, the developer showed him everything, explained everything to him, and a decision was made to buy. But before the paperwork was drawn up, the buyer went either to the store, or somewhere else, and never returned — another developer simply lured him away. It seems to be a story with a happy ending for the buyer, but, in fact, you need to be very careful here so as not to end up buying something that you didn’t intend to. By the way, the process of poaching can begin right away at the airport, be prepared for this.
At the same time, buying real estate in a new building in Turkey is relatively safe. Of course, you should buy housing from trusted developers who have been working on the market for more than one year and carefully (!) read the contract. In a «„good“» contract, there must be a clause about payments to the shareholder in case of delay in the construction process. Usually, for each month of delay, the amount of the penalty is about € 350-400, and, perhaps, that is why Turkish developers most often complete construction on time. As I said, tourism is one of the strategic directions for the development of the Turkish economy and the state is trying to control, lobby, and protect the interests of players, companies, and investors in the tourism sector. This includes supporting the construction of tourist complexes and ensuring their timely completion. The government understands how important this is for maintaining the country’s reputation as beneficial for investment and business in the region’s tourism.
But the most important condition for your peace of mind remains to be the use of professional services, which means trusting market players who clearly know all the rules of the game and know how to get the greatest benefit for their client.
If you want to buy an apartment in Turkey or are just considering this possibility, go to the catalog of properties in Turkey on the Realting.com platform and leave a request for the property you like in just a few clicks.