Property investors have been flocking to Turkey this week in a bid to grab houses and apartments that have in some cases dropped from £55,000 a month ago to below £37,000 now.
The highly-publicised collapse in the Turkish lira may have been a disaster for the country – and any British expat who bought there in the last two years – but it has been described as a bonanza for those holding US dollars, pounds or euros.
In August 2017, a pound bought 4.5 lira, before it started a steady decline over the year, slumping to 6.3 lira by mid-June. But at the height of the currency’s troubles last week, it was trading at just under 9 lira to the pound, meaning property had effectively almost halved in price in hard currency terms compared with a year ago.
The move immediately prompted something of a gold rush, according to Turkish property experts. This week, direct flights from the Middle East to Istanbul were fully booked as high-end investors flocked to the Turkish capital to grab bargains. Expat Turks living in Germany and elsewhere have also been trying to use the crisis to bag properties.
Agents selling property in the southern Turkish resorts of Bodrum and Marmaris are reporting a huge upsurge in interest. Apartments with pools that were selling for £500,000 a year ago were down to £350,000 and less at one point this week. Two-bed apartments were being offered for under £40,000 to those able to act immediately.
As the currency fluctuated, some apartment prices in Marmaris went from £26,200 down to £18,500 and then back to £22,400 by Thursday for those holding pounds.
“It’s a buyer’s market right now, and buyers are rushing in as if properties are going out of fashion,” says Cameron Deggin, who runs PropertyTurkey.com. “We generally receive 50 inquiries per day, and get about 2,500 views of our website, but in the past few days both have been running at double normal levels. Buyers are clearly looking for opportunities before the drop in lira is compensated – at least partially – by increases in asking prices.”
Developers whose costs are partially denominated in US dollars have already started raising the price of new-build and other apartments – in some cases by 20% – to compensate for the currency shift.
Can Emlak Properties in Bodrum told Guardian Money this week that the phones were running hot with inquiries from Brits in the area, but also from Turks living in Germany who were looking to grab a bargain.
“I have a two-bed detached villa that last month would have cost you about £55,000. Today it is yours for £37,000. It’s crazy busy,” said a spokesman.
The price “correction”, as it has been termed, follows a boom. Between 2010 and 2017, house prices in the country rose continuously, largely due to the rising middle class gaining access to mortgage finance for the first time – growing on average by 2.5 times nationally, or three times in Istanbul.