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The Bosporus, a unique point in the world where the Asian and European continents meet but are kept apart by a strait running through the middle from the Marmara to the Black Sea, is also famous for its waterfront mansions, or "yalı" in Turkish. These historical waterfront mansions are a delight for the eye when taking a tour of the Bosporus, whether on a boat or on the coastal line.

Since the Ottoman era, they have been popular among the wealthy classes, but nowadays they are being sold one after another.

As the recent volatility in the Turkish lira has raised interest in Istanbul's Bosporus waterfront mansions, foreign investors have acquired about 100 of the 600 mansions on both shores of the strait. According to sector representatives, Middle Eastern investors take the lead in luxury villa and waterfront mansion sales in Istanbul.bosphorus

The highest demand for the 30-kilometer coastal line of the Bosporus is from Arab customers, particularly Qataris who purchased the Şehzade Burhanettin Yalısı (Erbilgin Mansion) in Yenköy for $150 million.

Sühran Aras, Coldwell Banker's luxury housing trainer in Turkey, said currently, 60 waterfront mansions and 40 waterfront condos were on sale in the luxury housing market due to inheritance-related issues.

Read more: Bosporus mansions on sale attract attention of Middle Eastern investors

The devaluation of the Turkish lira is making properties more attractive

A seaside home on the market in the town of Kas.
Foreign buyers swooped into Turkey’s property market in the wake of the historic lira crisis and purchased more homes in the last six months than in all of 2017.
Last August, Turkey’s currency lost one-third of its value in a single week, making goods (and homes) that much cheaper to hordes of tourists and prospective home buyers overseas carrying anything from British pounds to Iraqi dinars. The lira stabilized to an extent in the following months, but as of late last week was still about 30% weaker than a year ago. The exchange rate is about US$1 to 5.3 Turkish lira.
The buying opportunity has not been lost on foreigners, who bought double the number of homes in September than they did in the pre-crisis month of July, according to government statistics published last week.
"We definitely made sales off the back of the currency movement, though for some people, it was just fortuitous that it happened at that moment," said Julian Walker, director of Spot Blue International Property Ltd., a London-based Turkish real estate portal targeting foreigner buyers. "It was an extra bonus."
For example, a grand coastal villa selling for 5.5 million lira would have cost a U.S. buyer roughly $1.146 million in July but only $859,000 in September off the exchange rate alone.
It’s primarily been home buyers from the Middle East and North Africa driving the spike in foreign activity, with Iraqis—the biggest buyers of Turkish real estate—doubling in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to the new government data.
Foreign buyers have given Ankara, Turkey’s landlocked capital, the biggest boost, with sales to such buyers soaring 160% in 2018.
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Sales to Iranian buyers more than quadrupled in that time, making them the second largest cohort of foreign buyers in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of sales to both Algerians and Jordanians tripled. Besides the discount foreigners are getting on the exchange rate, the Turkish government has also eliminated a pricey 18% value-added-tax on real estate purchased with foreign currency.
Turkey also saw an influx of buyers from the West. Germans more than doubled their activity in the Turkish housing market, as did Americans, who landed in Turkey’s top 20 for the first time in at least four years, according to the government data.
The financial incentives drove some sales, but the boom in Arab and Middle Eastern buyers is also the result of a so-called "golden visa" scheme that offers Turkish citizenship in exchange for real estate investment, Mr. Walker said. In September, the government lowered the investment threshold from US$1 million to only $250,000—which could also account for the surge in buyers that month.
"I think there’s been a more significant reaction to that than the currency," Mr. Walker added.
Foreign buyers have given Ankara, Turkey’s landlocked capital, the biggest boost, with sales to such buyers soaring 160% in 2018. Istanbul saw a 74% uptick in sales to foreigners, according to government data.
Away from the hustle and bustle, sales to foreigners jumped roughly 70% in the Mediterranean resort area of Antalya.
Read more: Foreign Buyers Flood Turkey’s Struggling Housing Market

Property sales to foreigners in Turkey posted an 82 percent year-on-year increase to hit 13,338 units in the first four months of this year.

Almost nothing has changed in the trend of property sales to foreigners in Turkey; sales to foreign buyers saw their best April month ever, Istanbul again took the top spot and Iraqis once again were the top buyers
Having seen its best first quarter performance in sales to foreigners, the Turkish housing market has now enjoyed its best April in history. Following a strong upward course for quite some time now, not much has changed in terms of the top buyers and the top location in Turkey; Istanbul again took the top spot and Iraqis were again the top buyers. Foreigners acquired some 3,720 houses in Turkey in April, marking the best April month ever for the housing market, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). It pointed to an increase of 82.1 percent compared to 2,043 units sold in the same month a year earlier. On the other hand, property sales in the first four months have hit 13,338, an 82 percent year-on-year increase, up from 7,341 units sold in the same period in 2018.
Read more: Ever-increasing house sales to foreigners see best April

Turkey’s state-run real estate company, is offering big discounts on apartments after an economic slump caused a crisis in the housing market.

Home-buyers can snap up one of about 3,000 properties for as little as 304 liras ($50) a month, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Friday citing a schedule of sale auctions.

Turkish property prices are sliding in real terms after a currency crisis, which began last year, caused a surge in interest rates on mortgages and inflation. The government has sought to revive the industry with discounts, lower taxes and cheap mortgages provided by state-run banks.

The apartments on sale are located in 30 regions of the country, including Ankara, Denizli, Samsun and Hatay, Hürriyet said.

The price of property in Turkey dropped an annual 13.6 percent in March, when subtracting the inflation rate of almost 20 percent. Prices fell 1.7 percent in Istanbul even when excluding inflation, the central bank said on May 17.


The number of properties sold to foreigners in Turkey has boomed, with an increase of 87 percent at the start of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK)

Incentives including a drop in the level of investment needed to secure Turkish citizenship in September 2018 have helped drive sales.investment

In January and February 2018, 3,471 houses were sold to foreigners. In 2019, the number of house sold for the same two months had reached 6,489.

Omer Emec, the chief economist of Albaraka Turk, told TRT World that foreigners were motivated by good value for their money.

Read more: Turkish government incentives, including a cut in the minimum investment needed to obtain...
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