7 Reasons Why Istanbul Will Be The Best Place To Invest In 2013

Istanbul PropertyOne of the questions I get asked a lot at this time of year is “Where should I be investing next year?”

There was a time when I could have held up several as candidates for the hottest property markets, however with Europe still in economic decline and Asian property prices slowing down, those choices are limited to just a few outposts where property prices are still rising.

One of these countries is Turkey and there are seven reasons why I expect it’s fastest growing city,  Istanbul, to continue growing in 2013, even as property prices in most of the rest of Europe are likely to remain flat.

1. Turkey has risen to third place in the world’s hottest property markets

According to Knight Frank’s latest global house price index, Turkey’s property prices increased on average 11.5% between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012. This is phenomenal when you consider that one of Turkey’s near neighbours, Greece, has been grappling with their own version of a Great Depression.

Nowhere else in Europe have property prices risen this fast this quickly and it is likely that we will see further increases in the value of property in Istanbul as more investment money pours into the city.

2. Stable economy and a better credit rating

Turkey’s economic situation is far more stable than it used to be. Back in November 2012, Fitch finally lifted Turkey’s long term currency debt to BBB- from BB+.

Ratings agencies are notorious for taking a ‘glass half full’ view of most countries at the moment, so it is a very positive sign for next year that Turkey has actually been upgraded.

3. Pent up demand

Turkey’s economy and property markets have grown so rapidly, it is easy to forget that the country is still emerging. What makes Istanbul so attractive is huge demand for property.

At the very basic level, the price of property in Turkey is rising because demand is so high. 600,000 housing units a year are needed to cater for rapid population growth.

4. Lifting of reciprocity restrictions

The lifting of the reciprocity law in Turkey in May 2012 attracted global attention. Even before Turkey decided to lift its restrictions on foreign property investors, $1.1 billion worth of property had already been purchased, which was four times the amount in 2011.

5. Increased interest from Middle East investors

Turkey has been on a major charm offensive aimed at attracting investment from its Arab neighbours. The Middle East currently accounts for just 10 per cent of foreign direct investment in Turkey and there is a good chance that this will now rise considerably.

Back in October, the FT reported that one construction group developing a site in Istanbul had received $400m from Gulf investors before it was even launched.

6. Prices remain low in comparison to most Western European countries – even in Istanbul

The price per square metre of property in Istanbul has risen from £1,244 to £2,800 in 7 years, yet the average price per square metre of Turkey as a whole still has a long way to catch up with Spain, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Istanbul still ranks a lowly 29th among the world’s most expensive cities to buy property.

7. Turkey has performed well even as the rest of Europe remained flat or in decline in 2013

Knight Frank’s latest report on European property makes for grim reading. Austerity measures being taken in most countries to pay off debt are clearly having a negative affect on property prices. The index rose just 1 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012.

The 12 countries at the bottom of the list are all from Europe, and the fact that Turkey has weathered this year’s storm well and hints at more of the same to come in 2013 as the situation in Europe hopefully improves.

Where do you expect the hottest markets to be in 2013? Please leave your comments below:

Kind regards

Brett Tudor
Property Expert

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