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Is 2009 Turkey’s year?

4th February 2009 Print
On the overseas property investment radar, Turkey is still an emerging signal and the temporary suspension of Title Deed Act last year gave many investors the wrong signs. However, 2009 looks set to be the year when Turkey firmly establishes itself as a strong green light on the radar.

Turkey’s attractions are myriad, although the pleasant climate in its beach resorts tops the list. Turkey’s winters might not be as warm as those enjoyed by its direct competitor, Egypt, but the Turkish summer season is long and considerably cooler than in Egyptian resorts.

Access to Turkish resorts and the legendary Istanbul is increasingly easier by air – Pegasus Airlines fly to several airports in Turkey from numerous European cities including London and Easyjet flies to Istanbul from Luton and Gatwick. Not to mention the countless charter flights in the summer.

But, perhaps best of all for the investor planning a lifestyle purchase and/or looking for a buy-to-let is Turkey’s coastline. Barely touched by the concrete that lines a lot of the French, Greek and Spanish seashores, many of Turkey’s resorts are virtually unspoilt. In Turkey, beautiful coastlines are a given.

Investment in buy-to-let purchases has received a welcome boost from Turkey’s tourist statistics. Visitor figures for the first 10 months of 2008 rose by a massive 13.1% – proof that Turkey’s attractions continue to draw the crowds even when the credit crunch is biting hard. Visitors from Austria, France and Slovakia experienced spectacular increases, up between 26% and 31%. These figures prove that the government ‘Euro 25’ long-term strategy for tourism is bearing its fruits.

As well as booming tourism, the Turkish market is also showing promising signs for the resale market. Turkey currently has a huge shortfall of housing caused mainly by the population growth in the cities. While the country’s population is growing at a rate of 1.4% annually, the rise is 4% a year in western and southern cities, popular with migrant workers flocking to urban centres from rural areas. Experts cite the Turkish housing shortage at between 2.5 million and 5 million units. In addition, a large amount (some developers estimate up to 50%) of older housing in cities needs extensive renovation or reconstruction in order to bring it up to modern standards.

“Although Turkey’s still very much an emerging market,” comments James González, Market Analyst at Obelisk, “the signs are that it’s set to become more established during 2009 and Turkey certainly offers some excellent investment opportunities”. James points out that, although some Turkish procedures and practices still lag behind those in more mature markets, Turkey’s government is working on improving property law. “Better transparency and easier business practices are an on-going process in Turkey,” says James, “and things can only improve, particularly since Turkey has its sights firmly set on EU membership, possibly in 2015.”

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