ISTANBUL – The real estate market for holiday homes is still very much alive in Turkey, as opposed to those in other Mediterranean countries, like Spain. The favourable exchange rate of the Turkish lira and the fast-growing Turkish economy are the most important reasons.
Turkeycame under the spotlight in the eighties as a country where Europeans could buy real estate for good prices. There have been some serious dips related to political instability and economic downturns: a bit more then ten years ago the country was hit by a deep economic crisis. Drastic reforms, for example in the banking sector, helped the country recover. Besides which, since 2002 Turkey has no longer been governed by weak coalition governments but by a still popular party, the AKP, which brings relative stability.
‘A few years ago we were affected by the emerging economic crisis in Europe’, says Monika Kramer, who works for TIA Group real estate in the Southern Turkish city of Antalya, and who also sells houses to Dutch people, being a German woman speaking fluent Dutch. ‘Especially the older and lower quality houses went down in price, causing an overall levelling in market valuations.’
The exchange rate of the Turkish currency, the lira, helped the real estate market to recover from the dip: the lira was much stronger five years ago than it is now. That not only reduces the cost of buying a house, but also the cost of daily living inTurkey. ‘Still, I do notice people have become a bit more careful’, says Kramer. ‘Before, people would buy straight away. Now people rent a house for some time first, so they can get a feel for the market and decide in which village or in which neighbourhood they would like to buy their own place.’
TheAntalyaregion is one of the most popular among foreign buyers on the Turkish coast, and the region where the largest numbers of Dutch people settle, mostly retirees. The smaller town ofAlanyaand the villages around it in particular are locations in demand. Already 44,000 foreigners live there, among them some 3,800 Dutch nationals – by comparison, in 2005 that number was only 1,900.
Ümit Rehir of the local paper Antalya Ekspres confirms the real estate market is doing well: ‘The foreigners who buy here are mostly elderly people and the economic crisis inEuropeis hurting them less than young people.’ It’s hard to generalise about prices, he says: ”You can buy an expensive villa here but also a very affordable apartment”.
According to Monika Kramer of the TIA Group, the relatively expensive houses especially have gone down in price:”The houses that were over-priced for their quality and location. During the dip of a few years ago the prices of those units have become more realistic.“
For Turks too, buying a house has become more achievable over the last few years. Because of the spectacular decrease in inflation, (which could reach 80% ten to fifteen years ago, but is at most 10% now,) and the ever-expanding economy, a mortgage system was launched and buying a house became a possibility for a much larger number of Turks.