Beyond Bodrum a boom in Turkish waterfront homes

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With its expansive, scenic coastlines, abundance of historical sights, and excellent cuisine, Turkey has been a consistently popular destination for international investment in its waterfront homes.اضافة اعلان

Besides its beaches, the country attracts foreign buyers with its affordability, high quality of life, and diversity of real estate options, said Michael Valdes, chief growth officer and president of the real estate firm eXp Realty, which does not have a presence in Turkey.

Until recently, much of the investment and attention have focused on the city of Bodrum and towns on the surrounding peninsula in the southwestern part of the country, which, he said, were “the top spots in Turkey to buy a waterfront property by far.”

Where are they buying now?
But while Bodrum’s robust real estate market has not waned, buyers were increasingly seeking homes in lesser-known waterfront locales in Turkey and in surrounding areas, international real estate experts said. Kusadasi, Kalkan, and Northern Cyprus, in particular, are emerging as popular destinations.

“The interest in owning a waterfront property anywhere in the country has jumped since the pandemic, and these spots offer a lifestyle that’s similar to Bodrum,” said Julian Walker, a director at London-based firm Spot Blue International Property and a specialist in Turkey. “They’re even more of a value, however, as they’re still up-and-coming.”

Walker said his company has seen sales grow between 20% and 25% each year over the past three years, driven in part by home sales in the three areas.

Even the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria in February has not slowed sales, he said. The earthquake’s epicenter was near Gaziantep, in southern Turkey close to the northern border with Syria, several hundred miles east of the country’s popular beaches.

And with the reelection last month of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country is likely to remain on a consistent course, a positive signal for foreign investors.

“The Turkish people are very resilient and they will rebuild better and stronger, and I am confident that the new inventory which will come to market will appeal to a wider audience of buyers,” said Valdes, referring to inventory in the waterfront areas.

Here is a look at the budding real estate markets.

In western Turkey along the Aegean coast, Kusadasi has been a cruise ship destination for decades. Stopping at this resort town allows guests to visit nearby sites, including the ancient Greek ruins of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary, a Catholic shrine.

But Kusadasi also offers a flourishing real estate market, according to Gokhan Duyar, owner of Property Kusadasi, a real estate company based in the town. The housing stock includes apartments and villas in the town center as well as villas along the water in surrounding areas, he said.

Property prices typically start around $135,000. For about $300,000, though, a buyer could expect a three-bedroom apartment with a sea view in an upscale building with amenities such as a swimming pool, a manager to look after the property, a gym and a parking spot, Duyar said. For closer to $1 million, buyers can expect a spacious villa on the sea with a swimming pool, tennis court and gardens.

Prices rose rapidly for homes in Kusadasi, but they are stabilizing, Duyar said. “We saw a flood of people rush into Turkey during the pandemic,” he said.

International buyers are drawn to Kusadasi’s mild temperatures, he said, which allow them to swim in the ocean for around eight months of the year.

Fugen Firik, a broker and owner of Firik’s Real Estate in Kusadasi, said that in addition to the weather, the picturesque beaches were another attraction. “The most well-known is Long Beach, which stretches for more than 11 miles,” she said.

As for dining, Firik said Kusadasi featured a wide array of restaurants including Irish pubs, Belgian waffle houses, and Chinese and Italian spots. Many restaurants also feature specialties from the Aegean Sea, such as dorado, squid and octopus.

“We have a large expat contingent living here, and the diversity of restaurants and nightlife speak to this community,” Firik said.

On Turkey’s southern coast, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Aegean, the seaside resort town of Kalkan is positioned like an amphitheater, said Walker of Spot Blue International Property. “The harbor and main town are the bottom, while most of the homes are constructed on the slopes,” he said.

The housing stock in the area, like in Turkey’s other waterfront areas, is a mix of apartments, town houses and villas. What distinguishes Kalkan, however, is that almost all of the properties offer sea views because of their position on the hills, Walker said.

Home prices start at around $175,000 for a modest one-bedroom apartment with ocean panoramas in an older building with amenities such as a gym and swimming pool. For around $400,000, a buyer could expect a three-bedroom property with sea vistas and a pool.

But those seeking a typical beach destination should be aware that Kalkan isn’t it. “There aren’t really sandy beaches here. Expect more rocky outcrops as you find in Italy’s Amalfi Coast,” Walker said. Patara Beach, located about 20 minutes by car from town, however, offers a more classic beach experience.

The town of Kalkan is most lively during high season, from April to October; otherwise, it tends to be quieter, compared with Kusadasi and Northern Cyprus.

Northern Cyprus
Located south of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a self-declared state recognized only by Turkey. Situated on the northeast part of Cyprus (which the rest of the international community considers it a part of), it is a mainstay vacation destination for Europeans despite its complicated history.

They visit for the scenic, long stretches of beach; the charming and historic northern Cypriot areas such as Kyrenia, Iskele, and Famagusta; and the inexpensive hotels. Lately, the waterfront homes have become an additional draw, Walker said. “As tourism has increased, so has the interest in buying a vacation property here,” he said.

Northern Cyprus’ real estate includes apartments in low- and high-rise buildings and town houses in the villages. Luxury villas are also an option and are positioned directly on or near the water along the coast.

Prices for properties, according to Walker, begin at around $85,000 for studios with sea views in upscale buildings that offer amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, Turkish baths and tennis and basketball courts. “The amenities that you get for even an affordable unit are somewhat over the top,” he said.

On the upper end, property prices can reach over $1 million, which could afford a buyer a modern five-bedroom beachfront villa with a large infinity swimming pool, spacious garden and luxury finishes.

From a lifestyle perspective, Northern Cyprus offers several benefits, including a mild climate that allows owners to enjoy their properties year-round. Also, meals are inexpensive, Walker said.

“You can get a spread of 30 mezes, grilled meats, a just-caught sea bass, alcohol and desserts for less than $25 a person, and the quality is incredible,” he said.

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