Turkey's 'new' era enticing foreign buyers

  Date posted: 13th of January 2007

The market was closed until 2002 and mortgages appeared only last year. Now the dam has burst, says Harriet Meyer
Turkey is being tipped as the next fly-to-buy hotspot for Brits seeking a home in the sun at prices last seen in Spain, France or Italy many years ago.

Unlike more developed markets, Turkish law deterred foreign buyers until 2002 and only recognised the concept of mortgages on residential property in January, 2006. Now enthusiasts claim easier access and credit is fuelling rapid price rises.

British buyers have been flocking to the coastal resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas - such as the fashionable Bodrum peninsula, Dalaman and Fethiye - as well as more traditional seaside towns of Kas, Kalkan and Altinkum.

Even so, Cameron Deggin of Property Republic (now Place Overseas) said: "Contrary to what people may think purchasing property in Turkey is a lot easier than in Spain as legislation is in place which favours foreign buyers. "Before 2002 foreign nationals couldn't purchase property in Turkey, but this legislation has changed and now the Government is encouraging foreign buyers." However, overdevelopment in some areas, access issues and rising prices mean buyers must do their homework before taking the plunge. Some experts fear valuations have risen so sharply in some areas that they may prove a bubble that will burst.

However, Mr Deggin argued that government money being put into building golf courses and ski resorts means some regions, such as Antalya, will continue to produce good returns for investors with all year round rental opportunities. Demand certainly shows no signs of slowing, and with an improved road network underway giving access to areas of the coast previously off the market, buyers will have more choice.

Turkey's desired accession to the EU, along with the introduction of a mortgage system and the relaxing of foreign ownership laws has helped attract demand. But potential buyers who are hoping for bargain flights to their holiday homes may feel frustrated as no-frills flight operators such as easyJet are yet to service Turkey's coastal airports.

The leading low-cost carrier flies only to Istanbul. However, there are many low-cost charter flights into Bodrum, Dalaman, and Antalya airports, particularly in high season.

Renting opportunities, particularly in the popular resorts and during high season, are good according to Mr Deggin.

He said: "It depends on where the home is but the better rental yields an investor can achieve in popular resorts in Bodrum and parts of Antalya are between 8 per cent and 9 per cent.

"This is mainly because the purchase price is low and the amount of tourists who visit. The population of Bodrum in winter is around 50,000, compared with the high season where it goes up to 1.2m.

"There are no restrictions on renting, and no restrictions as to what you can do with rental money - unlike certain countries where can't get proceeds out of the country."