Keith’s Weekly Property News October 30-2022
The latest sales figures for property in Turkey are about what I expected. We are now probably 2 months into a fairly pronounced downturn. And I do not expect this to turn around anytime soon. The winter season is just around the corner, and that typically brings seasonal lethargy. But the huge factor is the elections. I know, being in June 2023, it still seems like a far way out. However, I believe there will be a big drop in interest prior to the elections. There always has been in the past, as people adopt a “wait and see” approach, particularly so for this election, which seems to be the most uncertain one in the past 20 years, with potentially far-reaching ramifications for this wonderful country. Let us all hope it plays out in the spirit of fairness and Turkey emerges stronger.
In a way, this cooling off of the market is a very welcome event. I think we are in for another 7 months of it, so we are gearing up for what we hope are some good buying opportunities. Of course, the property market is not Bitcoin. The reactions are not instantaneous, often occuring over a long time frame, but some of the effects will start to be felt right away. Sellers who have to sell in a hurry will have to adjust their expectations. They may not hold all the cards as they did throughout much of the past year. In any event, it certainly will be interesting to watch how it all plays out in the remainder of this year and into the next. No doubt we can expect some twists in the plot. If you want to bring a blunt instrument to it, I reckon the prices doubled from around 2012 to 2022, with lots of gyrations on the way. I expect the next 5 years will bring another 50% from the logical prices that we saw at the end of 2021, so to cut through the cryptic part of that, let me just sum up by saying I expect a price retreat and then another surge. It has been a pretty constant pattern here in the past 16 or 17 years that I have been here.
If I were looking to sell, I would not be doing it now. Probably much better to hang on for another 2 years, try to maximize your yield and exit at a time that looks favorable. Better yet, why sell at all? You could actually be looking to add to your portfolio in the coming months. The new, incoming rents have re-set, and at a much higher rate, so incoming buyers will also likely collect higher rents. Istanbul is not the cheap rental market it was 2 years ago. It literally was too cheap for a city such as it is. It is much more in line with international norms now, in that regard.
As I have also maintained countless times, Turkey and Istanbul are asymmetric markets. What does this mean? Simply that 2 plus 2 does not always equal 4. The market can be opaque and the validity of data is often questionable, as is the street by street nature of multiple values and multiple kinds of housing stock. Quoting sqm prices is a perilous task, even for the aficionados, you constantly find yourself qualifying, extrapoloating, and even back-pedalling on previous assumptions. Anyone who claims to have an in depth understanding of it all is delusional. But people can speak with generality and for the most part that makes sense. It works more or less when you are discussing trends. However, it is pretty rare to find an analyst getting into the nitty gritty…is now a better time to buy new builds VS secondary market? What is the sqm differential between Ferikoy and Bomonti, when comparing apples and apples? What constitutes “prime” in the context of Kadikoy? Through the asymmetry, you can sometimes find a property that stands out or a ncihe in a new area. Two years ago, I would have scoffed at buying in Ferikoy or EyupSultan, for example. Now, I too, am a buyer. That is why zoom sessions are so much fun and useful. We get to grapple with such specicifity.
Just a quick end note. Due to soaring rents, small units can be favorable. The hard part? There really are not many studio apartments in Istanbul. If someone can find a large place that is able to be chopped up into 3 or 4 studios, one could expect an exceptional yield and overall it may prove more sustainable than Airbnb, though both look positive. High rents and huge numbers on toursim are likely to be with us for the years ahead.
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