Monday, September 22, 2008


a representative of a Turkish-based company, Atlas, which has officially signed up to a 49-year lease to operate a golf course on land designated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The plans are centred on an area of land at Mercimek, which borders the Zonguldakllar estate and close to the Sultan Kent and Konya Kültür housing estates on the Akbük road.

The area covers 173 acres of land on which there will be allocated a clubhouse, an 18-hole golf course and a holiday village with a capacity of 420 beds.

Mr Kinaci, a map engineer based in Milas, confirmed the project would cost $40 million (approximately £20 million) – with the golf course costing close to $10 million.

He said: “I can confirm to Voices Newspaper that Atlas has signed a 49-year lease to operate a golf course and hotel project on the land at Mercimek.

“The project has been put to public consultation and there are no objections.”

He added: “As far as we are concerned, once all the legalities are complete, Atlas will build the first golf course in Didim. It will be a major boost to tourism to the whole area.”

Atlas is a company predominantly in the steel and shipbuilding industries in Turkey. This project is believed to be their first foray into the golf tourism business.

Mr Kinaci said: “We are moving ever closer to reality. We are being extremely cautious as we want to get everything right and ensure that the news we give is accurate, clear and concrete to the public.

“We would not want to raise people’s hopes unnecessarily, but things are beginning to happen.”

He declined to give any time schedule on developing the course or when Atlas hoped to open the golf course and hotel facilities.

Seda Türk, Didim council’s planning department manager, and Meltem Öz, Didim Council’s city planner, confirmed Atlas’ interest was more than just a ‘passing one’. And they confirmed that it would provide a big boost to the tourism of the area.

On a separate note, Mayor Mümın Kamaci said representatives of an unnamed Swedish company had visited Didim council offices this week to look at the potential of building a new golf course in the area.

He said that the company had been given a number of options and they had departed back to Sweden to ‘mull over’ the proposals.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Located on Turkey's southwestern Mediterranean coast in the Mugla Province, Dalaman is the ideal destination for tourists visiting the seaside resorts to the west and east of Dalaman such as Fethiye, Marmaris, Koycegiz, Oludeniz, Dalyan and Hisaronu. With culture, nightlife and wonderful beaches, holidays in Dalaman have something for everyone.

Flights will be from Leeds Bradford and Manchester and will start in Summer '09 so register your interest now and we will let you know before the seats go on sale so that you can plan ahead and get the best deals for your trip to Dalaman next year!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Prospective investors in Turkey were delighted with the recent news that the government’s temporary ban on the issue of title deeds (Tapu) to foreigners has been lifted. Now that the Turkish government has had time to re-draft the relevant law, title deeds are being processed as usual. This is welcome news for foreign investors, especially now that mortgages are more readily available in Turkey - the essential elements for overseas property investors are firmly in place.

The government’s move will reassure prospective investors looking for a good short, medium or long-term investment. The changes to the law are not expected to make any significant difference to individual foreign property investors because they primarily affect foreign companies rather than the growing numbers of foreign investors who usually buy property in officially zoned areas around cities, town and holiday resorts.

Turkey remains a popular investment location, especially now that a number of lenders are offering mortgages to non-residents. Ken Thorkildsen, Director of Obelisk Private Finance, says that Turkey’s mortgage market is evolving, particularly since the passing of the country’s new mortgage law in 2007 which allows lenders more freedom in their lending practices. “Prior to the 2007 Mortgage Law, mortgages were only available to Turkish nationals, at high, double-figure, interest rates,” explains Ken, “now non-resident property owners can take advantage of multi-currency mortgages with low fixed rates. Mortgages are available to citizens of countries with whom Turkey has a reciprocal arrangement, such as the UK and Ireland. There are a handful of lenders offering mortgages to non-residents and that is set to grow as demand increases from foreign investors.”

Now that the Tapu ban has been lifted, Land Registry offices across Turkey have restarted processing applications for the transfer of title deeds to foreign nationals. This is cause for celebration amongst investors, particularly those interested in buy-to-let. Recent survey results published by the Daily Telegraph and undertaken by independent travel group, Cooperative Travel, show that Turkey has pushed Spain from its top position as favourite holiday location for Brits, partly because of the over-valued euro, but also because the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in the UK.

Turkey is a popular tourist and investment location for a variety of reasons, not least because it is now better served by low cost airlines, making access easier and more cost effective. Most importantly, property in Turkey is still significantly cheaper than other similar locations. Now that mortgages for non-residents are gradually becoming more available and the government has passed its new Tapu law, investment in Turkey has been given the green light.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Turkey is to build a Disneyland resort near the town of Oren, 35 kilometres south east of Milas, after reaching a deal with all parties concerned in just 3 days. Disneyland Turkey, which will rival Eurodisney Paris, is to be situated just 90 minutes from Didim.

The complex is expected to be constructed in under 2 years, planning was completed after officials visited Eurodisney Paris and Germany’s Heidi Park. It will be built over an area of 1.3m square metres and will employ a “cast” of almost 17,000 staff.

According to the news, reported in Turkey’s Hurriyet daily, all the permission from 74 authorities has been granted and construction will commence after the proposal is signed by the Council of Ministers.

Project manager, Tekin Erdogan said “The electricity station in Oren had a negative effect on tourism in the area. It was struggling to bring any tourism investment to the town. We decided a different angle was needed to attract both investors and holidaymakers. This will be bigger than the Disneyland resort in Paris.”

He also stated that there will be 5 hotels of up to 7 stars with a total capacity of 8,000; a marina is also being built close to the resort.

Animation shows with cartoons heroes, the entertainment facilities, Turkish-Ottoman and Selcuk architectural examples are projected to attract an estimated 12,000 visitors daily. People will be able to visit the Turkish Disneyland via the marina. There will also be scheduled ferry services from selected locations to the fun park.

Babakn Olcaysu who is the licence owner of the Oren Investment Concept said “The government has given its full support to the project. We got all the permissions in just 3 days. The project is expected to cost $3.2 billion. Babakn added:” This will attract tourists from all over the world, and will be of great benefit to all cities around it.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


If you propose to invest in property abroad or take a more permanent step and live abroad, tax planning is one of the most important considerations. Obtaining tax advice – and this should be from a professional tax adviser with knowledge of tax regulations both in your home country and the country where you plan to invest – before you make any investment decisions means that you can make the most of opportunities to reduce your tax liabilities.

Within the general tax considerations of owning assets abroad is the question of inheritance tax, an aspect that many property investors tend to overlook. However, this is one area that has wide implications for the future of your heirs. Careful inheritance tax planning can make the difference between your heirs continuing to enjoy your investments or losing them to pay a large inheritance tax bill.

While inherited assets in some countries attract no inheritance taxes, in other countries taxes can be higher than 80%, particularly if the beneficiary is not a close relative. It is therefore very important to bear this in mind when making investment plans. A further issue to consider is that regardless of the country you choose to invest in or move to, you may still be liable for inheritance tax in your home country. “Inheritance tax rules have important implications for investors,” comments Ken Thorkildsen, Director of Obelisk Private Finance. “If you do not plan your inheritance tax carefully, you may find that your heirs face high tax bills both in the country where you invested and in the UK.”

In general, resident heirs pay less inheritance tax than those who are non-resident and many countries also offer generous deductions or total exemptions for beneficiaries who are direct relatives, e.g. spouse, children or parents. This is the case in Andalucía, home to the Costa del Sol, where recent legislation means that direct heirs who have been resident in the region for 5 years, are exempt from inheritance tax on assets up to the value of €175,000. Ken welcomes this recent development which he believes “has hugely positive implications for the resident ex-pat population in one of Spain’s most popular investment destinations.”

Laws on inheritance tax are complicated and inheritance tax regulations vary in individual countries. For example, Spanish law rules that in the case of a married couple, 50% of the net assets are liable for inheritance tax on first death, whereas under UK law, a married couple may be liable for 100% of the assets minus allowances. Basic familiarity with a country’s tax regimes and its implications should be a high priority for the global property investor. This coupled with expert guidance from a tax expert, can make a substantial difference to the planning of an investor’s estate and by extension, to the beneficiaries. “An essential aspect of owning assets in more than one country is to draw up a will in each country,” advises Ken. “This helps speed up the inheritance process and makes things much easier for your heirs.”

Given the complexity of inheritance regulations and the fact that in many countries they are in a state of constant change, Ken offers the following advice: “No action should be taken without consultation with a professional tax adviser. While there are many ways of reducing inheritance tax liability, only an expert can offer guidance on the right ones for you and your particular situation.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Garanti Bank has begun to offer a new “non resident mortgage” to foreigners looking to purchase property in Turkey. With the new service the bank will enable foreigners to obtain lira or foreign exchange indexed loans with a maximum 240-month maturity. Foreigners will also be able to obtain loans of YTL 500,000 or the equivalent amount in foreign currency

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A circular concerning the implementation of a bill regulating property sales to foreigners was issued Thursday. The circular restarted the process of property sales to foreigners, which had been suspended April 16 after the Constitutional Court's annulment of the existing legislation created a legal loophole.

The regulation enables foreign companies, which had previously been granted rights equal to Turkish ones to purchase real estate on the basis of the Foreign Direct Investment Law-No. 4875, to own real estate by permission of the governor's office. The regulations, which will come into effect in three months, will determine the basic aspects of how to receive this permission. As a result, no land will be sold to the companies concerned until then.

Meanwhile, companies operating in foreign countries and foreign real persons will be able to own up to 10 percent of the land within a building scheme. In addition, the area that foreigners can own will be restricted to two and a half hectares and demands by foreigners that surpass these limits will be rejected, according to the new amendment.

Parliament passed the bill regulating property sales to foreigners on July 3 after it was revised taking into consideration the Constitutional Court's annulment of previous legislation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


One of Spain's major developers, Martinsa Fadesa, has filed for voluntary administration after failing to renegotiate a €150m (£119m) loan earlier this week. The company reportedly owes The debts of around €5bn (£3.98bn).
company said in a regulatory filing that it had lodged a petition for court administration, marking the start of Spain’s largest bankruptcy process since the introduction of new rules in 2004.

It follows the rescue in March of Immobiliaria Colonial by by creditor banks, which swapped debt for equity held by the controlling shareholders in Spain’s second-largest property company.

Martinsa Fadesa is the latest in a long line of Spanish property companies to run into difficulties, following the collapse of the Spanish housing market last year, after a decade or so of booming activity. Many small construction companies and property developers have either filed for protection or been absorbed by larger groups. The number of companies entering administration this year has more than doubled compared with 2007, according to lawyers.

“Filing for voluntary administration is the best way to avoid aggravating a crisis situation that could become irreversible and have serious repercussions on creditors and all shareholders' interests," said a spokesperson. "The company, along with its administrators, will from now on focus in revenue-generating, through the sale of assets and land management and restructuring the company so the project can be revived.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008


News in the foreign press pertaining to Turkey's real estate sector experienced a surge in the aftermath of the approval of a bill by Parliament on July 5 that regulates property sales to foreigners. The attention paid to Turkey's real estate sector, which is characterized by low prices, has been increasing, wrote British newspaper The Times, adding that prices in the sector are expected to skyrocket if Turkey manages to join the European Union.

“It is possible to purchase a property on Turkish shores at a relatively low price of 35,000 sterling (pounds). Does this sound attractive to you?” wrote the paper. “A clever couple can buy a property with a little amount of deposit and with two credit cards. Credit-card companies provide the opportunity of zero interest rates for 15 months period for those with high credit rankings,” The Times wrote.

The paper emphasized that prices in the country's real estate sector are far lower than that of the EU average. “British customers have started to settle in Turkey's popular cities such as Istanbul and coastal areas such as Antalya and Bodrum in the aftermath of the opening of Turkey's real estate market to foreign customers in 2003. The investors expect an increase in the prices of the country's real estate market if Turkey becomes a member of the European Union,” wrote the paper.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Parador Properties, which had a number of overseas operations, including Cyprus, has gone into voluntary administration.

The company was once considered to be one of Europe’s top estate agents. It used to fly prospective purchasers to their desired destinations and offered advice about specific areas and communities. Simon Lambert and managing director Jack Hamilton founded Parador in 1998.

Parador’s PR company, Quay West Communications, announced: “It is with regret that Parador Properties has announced that, due to the downturn in the overseas property market, it has gone into voluntary administration. This does not affect property purchases by any of its clients, as all contracts were made between the individual client and the builder; Parador Properties acted only as an introductory agent.”

Thursday, July 3, 2008


A DRAFT bill seeking to expand the scope of the law regulating property sales to foreigners was today (THURS) endorsed by Parliament.

The bill, which was discussed in Parliament last week, has been taken back to the Justice Commission at the last minute.

Amendments for opening up properties in prohibited military zones and strategic regions (lands) to foreigners through permission from governor's offices were sent to the Justice Commission for ratification.

This was passed, and sent back to Parliament which duly gave the title deeds lawchanges the nod. They now await being rubber-stamped by President Abdullah Gul.

During previous meetings in Parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was forced to withdraw the regulation expanding the scope of property sales due to opposition pressure.

The regulation, which was taken back to the Committee at the last minute, enables private business enterprises in Turkey launched or contributed to by foreign investors to exercise the rights for immovable and limited property for conducting their operations enumerated in main contracts.

The same principal will be valid in case immovable properties are transferred to another company with foreign investment or in case an immovable owned company with national capital becomes foreign owned through share transfer.

Acquisitions of companies in strategic properties under Article No 28 of the Law on Prohibited Military Zones and Security Zones and in military zones, security zones and some strategic lands enumerated in the same law, will be subject to the permission of governor under whose jurisdiction the related property falls.

The demand for permission will be decided after an evaluation of the acquisition's conformity with the country's security and operation field, in the commission established with the participation of related representatives within the governor's office.

The draft bill handled by Parliament for property sales to foreigners, maintains foreign persons and institutions can possess immovable lands, 10 percent of the total land, within the frameworks of zoning implementation plan and piecemeal plan, while the regulation expands the scope of possessing properties.


A Turkish bank has introduced a new product in housing credits, "Mortgage with Low Installments," to the market, reported daily Milliyet yesterday.

In Finansbank's new mortgage program, installments start at YTL 500, according to authorities at the bank. The installments are determined on the basis of triple combinations, such as, YTL 500, YTL 750 and YTL 1,000, and increase on a two-tiered basis, such as YTL 500 for the first two years, YTL 750 for the second two years and YTL 1,000 for the remaining period.

Consumers are provided with the opportunity to choose the appropriate amount of credits and the payment plan that best fits their incomes. "Finansbank's new product encompasses an installment plan that has not been implemented until now and, therefore, this new product is the first of its kind in housing credits," said Erkin Aydın, Finansbank Mortgage and Personal Loans group manager.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Recent property statistics confirm that Brits just cannot get enough of overseas property. Figures released by the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) claim that in 2007, the British spent a staggering £246 billion on homes abroad, a 21% increase on 2006.

Spain still tops the favourite destination chart – Spanish homes accounted for over a quarter of all purchases – but newer markets are fast emerging as investor favourites. According to a survey carried out by property investment company, Obelisk, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania head the list of preferred countries for investment in bricks and mortar.

Savvy investors have seen high capital growth and strong rental yields in their property investments, but this is by no means always the case. Media reports continually highlight the flip side to property investment and horror stories involving purchases abroad appear almost daily.

Overseas property investment is not something to be taken lightly, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that investment in a home overseas does not end in tears. By applying a combination of thorough research, due diligence and canny financing, buying a property abroad should have a happy ending.

Research holds the key to success. Only careful analysis of the myriad of factors involved in a purchase means you can be sure of walking into an investment with your eyes wide open. Aspects such as the local and national economy, the tourist industry and property market history are all essential when it comes to making an investment decision.

At Obelisk, a world leader in overseas property investment, they take their research very seriously. “We believe that an investor should only commit to a purchase when they have enough information to base their decision on” advises James Gonzalez, Market Analyst at Obelisk. “Our comprehensive in-house research and analysis ensures our clients receive the most secure investment opportunities.”

Hand in hand with exhaustive research should be due diligence. This means you avoid falling victim to a property with no planning permission or to a developer going bankrupt. It also ensures you get what you paid for. “One of the main pitfalls of property investment is lack of financial and legal security” warns James. “At Obelisk, no project is released unless it has met our compulsory due diligence criteria.”

Following research and due diligence, careful financial planning, guided by experts, makes the difference between laughing or crying all the way to the bank. Remortgaging your current property is often the easiest way to become a cash buyer, but taking out a mortgage on your investment property may cost you less. However, you need to consider the fees and costs involved throughout the process to make sure you incur minimum costs but achieve maximum gain.

Ken Thorkildsen, Director of Obelisk Private Finance, adds, “The number of mortgage products available abroad is increasing for non-resident property buyers. But in order to secure the best solution at the most competitive rates, it is essential to seek the advice of overseas finance specialists. At Obelisk Private Finance, we source only the most competitive products from those available in countries throughout the world.”

If you are among the thousands of British owners of properties abroad or planning to join them, apply the tried and tested formula of research, due diligence and wise financing. Then write your own happy ending.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Just as Turkey looks as if it is shaping up to become the next major holiday-home and investment destination, its government has stopped title deeds being issued to foreigners.

Safe as houses: Bodrum Castle overlooks the lively old town. The peninsula is popular with British and Turkish buyers alike
The country did it for six months in 2005, too, in an attempt to prevent large tracts of rural land being bought up. The latest ban - announced in April and awaiting ratification in parliament - has a similar purpose, limiting foreign ownership to 10 per cent of the land in any town.

Agents selling in Turkey expect the restriction to be lifted soon. "I don't see it as a problem, as you could never expect to receive your title deeds within three months anyway," says Julian Walker from Turkish property specialist Spot Blue. "For anyone buying now, the suspension will have ended by the time they reach completion."

Even 10 per cent foreign ownership of land is a high figure that is unlikely to ever be met, Walker points out. "Even in Spain, 95 per cent of sales are to the domestic market. In Turkey, there are 77,000 foreign property owners out of a population of 77 million, which is 0.1 per cent, so 10 per cent is light years away," he says.

"You have to remember Turkey is a poor country, 20 years behind the West in its property market, laws and business practice. And even though finance is available, it is also still typically a cash market."

advertisementApart from this blip, Turkey's property market is proving resilient, with prices expected to rise by 10-15 per cent this year, says Knight Frank.

The currency exchange company Moneycorp reports that British interest in Turkish property has trebled in the past year. A NatWest survey of mortgage lenders predicts that Turkey - where 22,650 Brits own property - will be the third most popular

destination for UK buyers in the next three years, with most sticking to the area between Kusadasi on the Aegean coast and Alanya on the Med.

In its attempts to double tourist numbers to 10 million by 2010, the Turkish government is investing in infrastructure and attractions, including new golf courses in Dalaman and Belek.

It is also encouraging new air routes and airport expansion. EasyJet now flies to Dalaman and Istanbul, BA to Antalya. A new international airport at Edremit will open up areas around Ayvalik, north of Izmir - until now, despite good beaches, great windsurfing and attractive property, the preserve of Turkish buyers.

Beyond its appeal as a value-for-money location for holiday homes - outside pricier Istanbul or Bodrum, the average two-bedroom apartment costs £35,000-£90,000 - Turkey is also drawing investors to Istanbul, where new development is taking place on both sides of the Bosphorus.

Prices average about £700-£900 per square metre, with studios from £40,000 in developments such as Life Studio near Ataturk international airport (through The Right Move Abroad), or Astrum Towers, six miles from the airport, which agent Regnum predicts will see annual growth of 30 per cent.

So, this Christmas - or whenever the restrictions ease - why not vote for Turkey?


Lively resorts, leisure facilities and low-priced newbuild properties make the Bodrum peninsula one of Turkey's best-known areas for British visitors, while quieter spots such as Yalikavak and Gumusluk appeal to wealthy Turkish property buyers wanting £1m-plus villas.

"Bodrum is one of the most popular coastal regions," says Jane Griffiths, managing director of Regnum, "and Turkey's appeal is widening to take in growing numbers of Eastern European holidaymakers as well as British. Small apartments can achieve rents of £300 a week."

Friday, June 13, 2008


British visitors to Turkey are up 18.75%, according to the latest figures from The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (TCTO).

The figures for January to April 2008 show that Turkey is maintaining a healthy increase in visitors arriving from the UK, having increased by 18.75% to a total of 205,879. This compares with 173,379 for the same period in 2007.
Predicted to be amongst the top three leading tourist destinations in the Mediterranean by 2020, Turkey is also one of the fastest growing second-home property markets in the world. The number of visitors to the country has seen a sharp increase over the same period last year, signalling a strong upturn in the fortunes of the Turkish tourist industry and indicating a resurgence in Turkey’s appeal to its expatriate citizens.

Irfan Onal, Director for the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in the UK, commented: “We are incredibly pleased to see the number of travellers to Turkey continue to grow. Buying property in Turkey is increasingly becoming a very attractive proposition as people choosing to buy a Turkish property are finding that their homes currently represent fantastic value for money. There are several projects underway to ensure the continuing development of infrastructure and services in a bid to prepare for the increasing number of visitors to Turkey.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alicante construction

There has been a significant slowdown in the number of new homes being constructed in the Alicante region in Spain, with just 489 new housing starts recorded across the province between January and April this year.

The number of new homes built in Alicante during the first four months of this year is 96% down on the average of 13,000 new homes recorded during the corresponding period over the past seven years. This is according to the provincial association of real estate promoters (PROVIA).

The fall in construction levels should help overcome the existing oversupply of homes in the region, with some 50,000 new homes currently unsold and lying empty.

Last year there were 25,619 new housing starts in the province, while 32,125 local residential properties were completed – the lowest level for eight years. At the peak of the last construction boom in 2004, there were 45,000 new housing starts.

Overseas property markets

Global residential property prices appreciated at a slower rate of growth in Q1 2008, rising 6.1% against capital growth of 9.2% in Q4 2007 and 9.8% during the same period last year, according to Knight Frank’s latest Global House Price Index.

Bulgaria once again recorded the greatest annualised price growth, with average prices up 31.5%, while average property prices in Iceland appreciated by 19.1%.

"Bulgaria continues to confound market fears of oversupply and has so far proved immune to the deceleration seen in much of the continent (Europe)," says Knight Frank's head of research, Liam Bailey.

However, just 20% of the property markets covered in the Index recorded double digit house price growth, compared to 35% a year ago.

Bailey adds: “The Knight Frank Global House Price Index shows that while house price growth in Europe and America continues to slow or even fall, pockets of strong growth remain."

Since Q2 2007, Bulgaria has been the best performing location in the Knight Frank Global House Price Index. While the rate of growth in the price of flats was lower than in previous quarters, it was nonetheless maintained at over 30%, again being driven by the performance of areas bordering Romania such as Ruse and Vidin, as well as the capital Sofia, where annual price inflation exceeded 60%.

Jersey has been included in the Knight Frank Index for the first time. The British Crown dependency has seen price growth accelerate to 28%. Over the last quarter, prices of property in the capital rose by nearly 10%, with the average property costing nearly £475,000.

A location where previously high rates of growth have slowed is Russia. Price inflation has fallen from an annual rate of 30% to Q4 2007 to 22% in Q1 2008. St Petersburg has continued to see growth rates outpace those in the capital.

Iceland’s economy has cooled significantly over the last year, however, the country’ sproperty market remains robust.

Sweden continued to see strong house price inflation, with the year-on-year rate of growth of 9.1% only marginally lower than that of the 10.6% observed in Q4 2007. The highest rates of growth have occurred in the north of the country, at over 13%.

Neighbouring Norway has seen growth decline significantly to the lowest rate since Q3 2003: annual growth to Q1 2008 was just 3.8%, compared to 16.4% the same period a year earlier.

House price inflation in Finland is at a similar rate to Norway and its lowest rate since Q2 2002, although the slowdown has been much less dramatic, and price inflation has less volatile over recent years.

Denmark has seen the worst performance in house price growth, with prices falling by almost 1% across the country, while the Copenhagen market saw prices fall by 10%. However, many areas are still seeing positive growth, such as Aalborg, which recorded a rise of 7% to Q1 2008.

Croatia has also seen growth moderate over the last quarter. The annual rate of growth fell to 7% from nearly 12% the previous quarter. Property in Zagreb remains marginally more expensive than coastal properties.

Other European markets outside the UK have seen a similar trend. Spain continues to take a battering in the press, despite having seen one of Western Europe’s strongest performances of 3.8% annual growth. However, this is the lowest rate of price inflation since 1997, and there are undoubtedly serious concerns over the Spanish housing market and its impact on the Spanish economy.

Neighbouring Portugal appears to have escaped the market boom and bust cycle that has afflicted Spain: the highest growth rate seen in residential property prices over the last 12 years was 8.7% in 1999. After seeing slowing growth in late 2006 through to early 2007, price growth picked up in Portugal in the year to Q1 2008 to reach 3.8%.

After a fairly dramatic appearance on the Knight Frank Index in the fourth quarter of 2007, price growth in Poland has slowed significantly, with annual rates to Q1 2008 at 3%, a sudden reversal of fortune from the 22% observed to Q4 2007. The price of houses has been rising faster than the price of apartments, which in some locations have seen price falls. The rapid rate of apartment construction in recent years means that across the country there is a shortage of houses, which consequently hold their value better than property in the oversupplied apartment sector.

The residential market slowdown occurring in much of Europe has not bypassed France. The price boom that occurred in France over a four year period from 2002 to early 2006 definitely appears to be over. The rate of annual price growth to Q1 2008 slipped to 2.5%. The greatest growth – 4.8% - was recorded in the South East. The lowest capital growth occurred in Central and Alpine France, up 1.4%.

Property prices in Germany fell by over 5% on a year on year basis. However, the new build residential property prices are not falling as fast as those for resale property.

Austria has also seen price growth slow, although the 1.2% annual growth nationally to Q1 2008 hides marked regional disparities. Growth in Vienna accelerated during the latter half of 2007, rising from 4% in the summer to 5.4% to Q1 2008.

In Hungary, property price growth has been below 4% since early 2005, and the latest quarters figures are no different, with annual growth of 1.2%.

Switzerland’s stable growth in house prices continues, albeit at the extremely low rate of 0.4%, lower than the current rate (1%) of CPI inflation. The peak of Switzerland’s housing market cycle occurred at the end of 2002, where price inflation reached a dizzy 5.5%.

The UK housing market is experiencing its most significant slowdown since the early 1990s, with prices in Q1 2008 approximately 1.1% below their values last year.

The dramatic reversal of fortune in the Baltic markets towards the end of 2007 is still reflected in Q1 data. The price of apartments in Riga, the Latvian capital fell by nearly 6% during the quarter, marginally less than the decline in prices observed during the previous two quarters. The annual decline in prices reached 20% with prices per m² falling to just under €1,400, down from the €1,700 peak reached in Q2 2007.

Estonia is also continuing to see apartment prices fall, the 11% decline in values to Q1 2008 was marginally less than the 14% drop seen to Q4 2007. Over the quarter values fell by around 3%.

Lithuania remains the most stable Baltic market with a price rise of 0.5% over the course of the year.

In Ireland house prices have continued to fall. Nationally prices across the country fell by nearly 9% over the year to Q1 2008, an acceleration of the 7.3% decline observed in the previous quarter.

Asia Pacific:
Singapore’s property price growth has slowed marginally during the last quarter. Annual growth to Q1 2008 was 29.9%, down from the 31% increase of the previous quarter.

Hong Kong’s price growth has crept up to rival that of Singapore, recording nearly 29% growth in the year to Q1 2008.

In China, property prices house prices in 70 cities rose 11.7% year-on-year in the first quarter: 0.8% higher than the growth recorded in the previous quarter.

Over the 12 months to Q1 2008 Australia recorded annual house price growth of 13.8%, compared to 8.6% for the 12 months to Q1 2007, moving its Global House Price Index ranking up six places.

The Americas:
In the United States, the Knight Frank Global Index shows a house price decline of -0.03%, although the OFHEO data based on all transactions including mortgage refinancing is less pessimistic and volatile than other US house price indices. California and Nevada led the way in terms of house price deflation, with prices decreasing by 10.6% and 10.3% respectively. The Midwest states of Wyoming and Utah led the market with growth of 6.3% and 5.6% respectively.

Canada has seen a slowdown in the rate of house price inflation over the 12 months to Q1 2008. House price inflation has more than halved from Q1 2007 to Q1 2008 from 12.6% to 6.1% and moving down three places in the Knight Frank Global House Price Index. Despite Canada’s slowing house price inflation at a national level, some areas are still performing extremely strongly. In Saaskatoon, house prices rose by almost 50% to Q1 2008, whilst in Regina, and in Winnipeg, prices rose by 28% and 15% respectively. Vancouver saw price growth akin to the national average, with 6.1% over the 12 month period.

South Africa saw house price inflation of 8.8% over the 12 months to Q1 2008, a noticeable slowdown from the same period a year earlier which revealed growth of 13.6%. Political instability in the region, particularly in Zimbabwe and Kenya, may adversely affect any international investment in South Africa

Timeshares in Dubai

UAE group Emaar has announced that it plans to enter into the timeshare market, to cater for the robust growth in tourism.

Emaar Hospitality Group, a business subsidiary of Emaar Properties, will soon unveil its timeshare roster encompassing serviced residences and custom-designed resorts in Dubai, some of which may appeal to property investors.

The company also plans to expand its timeshare business to other countries, including Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia.

“The timeshare market in Dubai is poised for exponential growth with booming inbound tourists driving the demand for spacious accommodation that hotels cannot fully meet,” said Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties. “Emaar already has an extensive hospitality and leisure portfolio featuring several hotels and serviced apartments. Additionally, we plan to develop dedicated timeshare resorts. Emaar is finalising the modalities of the timeshare business in line with the guidelines of the Dubai Government and also putting in place a special team to support the initiative.”

A number of other companies are expected to follow Emarr into the timeshare sector of the property market. The government in Dubai is currently drawing up a legal framework to assist companies entering into the sector.

Marc Dardenne, CEO, Emaar Hospitality Group, explained: “A recent survey by NorthCourse Research Firm reveals that Dubai, followed by Sharm El Sheikh and Makkah, is the most preferred timeshare location in the Middle East region.

“Better regulation has been the key challenge of the timeshare business in Europe, where the business is most booming with over 1.3 million timeshare owners as of 2006. However, Dubai is already one-step ahead in terms of timeshare business by having a governmental framework to follow. This will give impetus to Emaar Hospitality in adopting a structured approach with a focus on segmentation of timeshare business – the key to meeting the requirements of Dubai’s eclectic tourist profile.”

Cesme Property

The Aegean city of İzmir's Çeşme district, which is a popular holiday resort, has never lost its value, said Levent Okudan, who has been an effective player in the real estate sector for the past 14 years.

“Çeşme is as valuable as a diamond. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's purchase of Çiftlikköy Kum Beach also helped increase the town's popularity,” said Okudan, adding, “There also is a talk of Mustafa Koç (a prominent Turkish businessman) purchasing a large property for tourism-related investments.”

Çeşme and Alaçatı will be undisputable stars of tourism within the next 10 years, claimed Okudan. He said he envisions houses similar to those in Majorca, which will include pools and a helicopter pad, adding that such works need to be implemented in order for Turkey to compete in tourism with Greece and Italy.

“Primarily, we need to expand the tourism season in Çeşme to 12 months. In order to do that we need to implement golf tourism. Secondly, although we own the best thermal resources in the world, we currently are unable to benefit from those. We need better promotion for the world to get to know us,” Okudan said.

“The government and the municipalities need to invest in high quality hotels and increase VIP tourism in those locations,” he said, adding, “Another way to improve tourism in the district is to establish a private airport for small planes and helicopters to serve businessmen and especially foreign multimillionaires. We need to prioritize infrastructure."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Land valuations in Turkey

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2008 – The World Bank today approved a loan equivalent to US$203 million to the Government of Turkey for the Land Registry and Cadastre Modernization Project. The Project will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the land registry and cadastre services.

"The Project constitutes a next generation of Bank operations in the area of land management and cadastre, where the country already has a well functioning property rights regime, but is striving to take the land registry and cadastre data use to the next level by spreading its benefits to people, businesses and multiple sectors, and facilitating better access to real estate information through the e-government platform,” said Wael Zakout, Sector Manager and Task Team Leader for the Project. “This project will also help improve customer service by reducing the time taken to register a property transaction to a few hours, and develop property appraisal function in line with international standards.”

The project will (i) renovate and update cadastre maps to support digital cadastre and land registry information; (ii) make the digital land registry and cadastre information available to public and private entities (iii) improve customer services in land registry and cadastre offices; (iv) improve human resources in the Turkish Land Registry and Cadastre Agency (TKGM); and (v) develop policies and capacity to introduce best international practices in property valuation in Turkey.

While the Turkish Cadastre and Registration system is considered one of the most effective in the region and registration of property transactions is done within one day in many offices, there are still many shortcomings to be addressed to ensure that the system modernizes to reach the same service level as in the European countries. Many of the Cadastre and Land Registry offices rely on manual systems, with old documents, some of them dating back to the Ottoman times. In addition, the TAKBIS system (Turkey’s computerized Cadastre and Land Registry Software) runs in only 140 out of the 1000 offices.

The most challenging aspect is that cadastral maps continue to be in a paper format, vary in accuracy and consistency, and are not linked to the national network. This makes it difficult to support E-government applications as cadastre maps serve as a base mapping for many government applications. Furthermore, in many localities maps are out of date and do not correspond with the ground locations and areas, differing sometimes by up to 10 meters.

The project will be funded by an IBRD flexible variable spread loan. It will have a maturity of 23.5 years including a 5 year grace period.

Land valuations in Turkey

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2008 – The World Bank today approved a loan equivalent to US$203 million to the Government of Turkey for the Land Registry and Cadastre Modernization Project. The Project will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the land registry and cadastre services.

"The Project constitutes a next generation of Bank operations in the area of land management and cadastre, where the country already has a well functioning property rights regime, but is striving to take the land registry and cadastre data use to the next level by spreading its benefits to people, businesses and multiple sectors, and facilitating better access to real estate information through the e-government platform,” said Wael Zakout, Sector Manager and Task Team Leader for the Project. “This project will also help improve customer service by reducing the time taken to register a property transaction to a few hours, and develop property appraisal function in line with international standards.”

The project will (i) renovate and update cadastre maps to support digital cadastre and land registry information; (ii) make the digital land registry and cadastre information available to public and private entities (iii) improve customer services in land registry and cadastre offices; (iv) improve human resources in the Turkish Land Registry and Cadastre Agency (TKGM); and (v) develop policies and capacity to introduce best international practices in property valuation in Turkey.

While the Turkish Cadastre and Registration system is considered one of the most effective in the region and registration of property transactions is done within one day in many offices, there are still many shortcomings to be addressed to ensure that the system modernizes to reach the same service level as in the European countries. Many of the Cadastre and Land Registry offices rely on manual systems, with old documents, some of them dating back to the Ottoman times. In addition, the TAKBIS system (Turkey’s computerized Cadastre and Land Registry Software) runs in only 140 out of the 1000 offices.

The most challenging aspect is that cadastral maps continue to be in a paper format, vary in accuracy and consistency, and are not linked to the national network. This makes it difficult to support E-government applications as cadastre maps serve as a base mapping for many government applications. Furthermore, in many localities maps are out of date and do not correspond with the ground locations and areas, differing sometimes by up to 10 meters.

The project will be funded by an IBRD flexible variable spread loan. It will have a maturity of 23.5 years including a 5 year grace period.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Turkey EU membership?

EU urges Turkey to speed up reforms

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan (C), EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn (R), Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel of Slovenia, the current head of the EU presidency, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the minister of state for European affairs of incoming EU president France, met at the Ankara Palace State Guest House.
The European Union yesterday urged Turkey to speed up reforms concerning human rights and freedom of association as it moves forward in the accession process, with EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn calling a restart of the reform process by the Turkish government a recipe for solving the ongoing problems that the candidate country has been facing.

The EU also warned of negative consequences if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is eventually closed down by Turkey's Constitutional Court. The Turkish capital yesterday hosted a landmark meeting of the EU-Turkey Troika amid domestic political turmoil over an ongoing closure case against Turkey's ruling party as well as the marring of Labor Day celebrations last week by the Turkish police's use of disproportionate force against demonstrators.

Along with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and Rehn, Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel of Slovenia, the current head of the EU presidency, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the minister of state for European affairs of incoming EU president France, gathered at the Ankara Palace -- the official state guesthouse.

Speaking at a joint press conference following their meeting, both Rehn and Rupel praised recent reforms carried out by the Turkish government. The two particularly underlined recent amendments to a disputed law used to prosecute writers for insulting Turkishness as well as a new foundations law that gives further rights to minority groups as positive developments.

Rehn, however, also emphasized that further reforms are needed and said these reforms would serve as the "recipe" for overcoming ongoing problems of the candidate country. He said that issues such as establishing a completely independent judiciary and strengthening human rights were a priority as well as the establishment of an ombudsman's office with powers to look into state abuses.

Criticizing the way Turkish police violently broke up trade union demonstrations in İstanbul on May 1, Rehn also said the police response was disproportionate and that trade union rights must be enhanced, "both in theory and in practice," via adopting and implementing related EU legislation. He also added that this would be key for opening more chapters in negotiations between Turkey and the EU.

Turkish riot police fired water cannons and tear gas at crowds in central İstanbul on Thursday, detaining hundreds. Dozens of people were injured.

"We in the commission deplore this disproportionate use of force on May 1," Rehn said, adding that the commission expected the events to be investigated.

"We reiterated our call for the Turkish authorities to act within the European law and the practice to respect trade union rights in line with EU standards," he said.

Rehn made it clear that the European Commission was against a court case that could see the AK Party banned and said because Turkey was a candidate for EU membership, the commission could not stay neutral on the matter. In March, Turkey's Constitutional Court decided unanimously to hear an appeal from a top prosecutor to close Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AK Party on charges that it had become a "focal point for anti-secular activities." The prosecutor has also sought a five-year ban from party politics for 71 politicians, including Erdoğan and former AK Party member President Abdullah Gül. The EU, which Turkey aspires to join, has harshly criticized the case and even warned that accession talks with Turkey could come to a halt if the AK Party is closed down in the end.

While avoiding comment on what exactly would be the position of Turkey's accession talks if the AK Party is eventually banned, Rehn merely said the move would have "negative consequences."

For his part, Jouyet, meanwhile, pledged that his country would assume "an objective, neutral and balanced" approach vis-à-vis Turkey's accession process during its upcoming rotating presidency. "There is an ongoing process and there will be discussions. France's EU term presidency will be objective, neutral and balanced. We will implement related criteria for opening of new chapters," Jouyet told reporters. Later in the day, Rehn also had talks with Erdoğan and Gül, who also met separately with Jouyet.

6 star hotel in Portugal

Europe’s first six star residential resort and spa, Palacio da Quinta, is to be built in the Algarve, by developer, the Imocom Group.

The development, which is being endorsed by former Chelsea football manager, Jose Mourinho, will comprise 79 luxurious apartments and penthouses set within 17 acres of lush sub-tropical gardens. Residents will benefit from private chef and butler, 24-hour concierge, chauffeur service, private jet and yacht charter. The resort will also feature indoor and outdoor swimming pools, 1000sqm health spa, cinema, gourmet destination restaurants, bars, designer boutiques, tennis academy and offer preferred tee times and discounts on green fees at some of the finest golf courses in Europe.

Chairman of the Imocom Group, Alejandro Martins, comments: "The Palace is set to become one of the most sought after addresses in Europe, taking Algarve living to a whole new level of international opulence. Unsurpassed services will be provided within the privacy, security and comfort of a personal home. The idyllic location of the Algarve is the ultimate setting”

Each property will feature its own terrace Jacuzzi, Italian marble flooring, fully fitted kitchens with Bulthaup units, home entertainment system, underfloor heating, aircon, video phone entry, indoor electric shuttering, central vacuum system and two underground car-parking spaces. Prices begin at £800,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Jose Mourinho comments: “This is without doubt a resort which is unique in Portugal and in Europe, one which will be a landmark for quality tourism in Portugal, set apart by its glamour and its quality. I am very interested in being directly involved with this excellent project.”

“From what I have seen it is clearly an investment that matches my image: a resort unique in Portugal which will give my family and me the guarantee of holidays with quality and security. This is without doubt an excellent investment and a great bet.”

British house prices down

British house prices down 4.2 pct

Average house prices in Britain have fallen by more than 4 percent this year, the nation's biggest mortgage lender said Friday. Halifax said the average house price fell 1.3 percent in April. Nationwide, another big mortgage lender, reported Wednesday that average house prices were 1 percent below year-ago levels in April.

LONDON - The Associated Press

German retail sales post fall in March

German retail sales in March fell 0.1 percent from February and were down 6.3 percent compared with a year earlier, the government said Friday. The Destatis statistics office said March this year had three less shopping days than March 2007 because of Easter. March 2007 was also a record month for retail sales, making the year-on-year comparison even worse, it said.

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse

Oil prices fall to near $112 a barrel

Oil prices retreated further Friday from the early-week record near $120 a barrel as a strengthening U.S. dollar prompted investors to exit the market. As the greenback has recovered this week against the euro and yen, the front-month crude futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange has dropped nearly $8 from its high to benchmark oils lowest level since April 14.

SINGAPORE - The Associated Press

India inflation hits 7.57 pct

India's inflation rate accelerated to a 42-month peak of 7.57 percent, driven by higher food costs, according to official data on Friday, dealing a fresh blow to the government. Annual inflation quickened more than two-tenths of a percentage point to touch 7.57 percent for the week ended April 19, up from 7.33 percent a week earlier. High inflation has become a top issue with taming prices the key goal of the Congress-led government.

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse

Swiss central bank posts first quarter loss

Switzerland's central bank on Friday posted a loss of 3.97 billion Swiss francs ($3.79 billion) for the first quarter of 2008 which it blamed on the appreciation of the Swiss franc against major currencies. In comparison, during the first quarter a year ago, Swiss National Bank posted a profit of 2.16 billion Swiss francs. The dollar is trading at around 0.995 Swiss francs.

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse

Japan calculates subprime blow

Japanese financial institutions together lost more than 1.5 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) in the year to March because of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, a report said Friday. The nation's eight major banking groups alone are likely to post a combined subprime-related loss of more than 900 billion yen, the Nikkei newspaper said. That is around 200 billion yen more than forecasts made public so far, it added.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bosporus view property

A view of the Bosporus view is the most important factor that affects home prices in Istanbul's Arnavutköy district, a favorite with those who want to live hand in hand with history on the Bosporus coast. There is a big price difference between a house with a full view of the Bosporus and a house that barely sees it.
Arnavutköy is located between the districts of Kuruçeşme and Bebek on the European side of the city. The district borders Ulus and is opposite the districts of Kandilli and Vaniköy, located across the Bosporus on the Anatolian side. The district, with the most beautiful view of the Bosporus, also features a bay and flora found only near the Bosporus.

“The price of a mansion sold in the near future is taken as the base price in such popular areas as the Bosporus. The view of the Bosporus increases the price of houses by $200,000 to $250,000,” said Nurettin Bolluk, owner of NBR Emlak.

“We expect house prices to rise with the coming of spring. Purchases generally take place for ready money around these districts. The number of those who buy with housing loans is quite a few given the fact that the houses are addressed to a certain class of people. The firms, on the other hand, grant credits for the purchases via the companies, which want to keep the cash money safe,” added Bolluk.

Trumps in Bodrum

The daughter of US billionaire tycoon Donald Trump flew in by helicopter last Friday during a break from business meetings in Istanbul to view plots of land to build a villa in Cennet (Heaven) Bay of Göltürkbükü, a popular holiday resort for the high society and business world.

She, and her assistants, spent four hours with businessman Ahmet Hattat, on a boat in Cennet (Heaven) Bay as she was reviewing potential land of about 25 acres next to the sea.

Coming to Bodrum with her photographer, Ivanka Trump was quite cheerful in her sport clothes. She had the photos taken of two plots; it was stated that she will buy one of them and have a luxury villa built with a swimming pool and tennis court within a year.

Ivanka Trump admired the Cennet Bay for its natural beauty and tranquillity. It was also learnt that after having a villa in Bodrum, she wanted a Bodrum-type wooden schooner of 34 metres made at the İçmeler Shipyard.

After her expedition, Trump ate at Ahmet Hattat’s villa before returning to Istanbul by helicopter.

Property in Turkey

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors is looking for funds operating in Turkey to invest in.

Currently, the firm has invested in one private real estate fund, which has two local partners in Turkey. Franklin Templeton's real estate investments in Turkey consist of a retail unit and residential properties. The firm manages assets totalling approximately $5 billion, some half of the sum being invested in 75 private real estate funds worldwide.

Turkey a ‘developed emerging market'

Turkey is an attractive investment target because it is a very young market and a large economy, and there is little modern stock in residential, retail and office properties, Raymond J. Jacobs, managing director of Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisers, told the Turkish Daily News at the annual meeting of the European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV) in Istanbul yesterday.

“It is important to note that Turkey is not a developing emerging market, but a developed emerging market. Turkey as a market is similar to Brazil in the sense that both countries are developed emerging markets. Whereas Brazil is a more developed emerging market than China and India are, so Turkey is a more developed market than, for example, Ukraine and Romania are,” Jacobs said.

‘Turkish market strongest in Europe'

Hakan Kodal, president and chief executive officer of Krea Real Estate Development and Investment in Istanbul, said at the conference that Turkey offers notable future potential for real estate investment because of its population dynamics, the high number of medium and large cities with unsaturated real estate markets, the lack of quality assets across all market segments and the limited use of leverage.

“The total housing demand is estimated to be around 6.9 million units over 10 years, making the Turkish market the strongest in Europe in terms of new housing over this horizon,” he said. Kodal also noted that approximately 60 percent of the current stock in Istanbul must be replaced due to lack of occupancy permits, sub-standard building quality and earthquake risk. “This means notable investment opportunities in the sector. […] It is the right time to take a medium to long-term position in investing in Turkish real estate.”

The annual conference of INREV, which was attended by nearly 400 real estate investment professionals, ended yesterday.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Istanbul property

Istanbul has been named the world’s second best place to invest in property…

This is according to PriceWaterhouse Coopers and the Urban Land Institute, who have officially named Istanbul as the second best place to invest in property, behind Moscow.

According to Turkey’s Land Registry General Directorate, 73,000 foreigners now own property in Turkey, with 8,830 buying in Istanbul. Rental yields are reaching up to 7.6% for apartments in the city centre, while the Global Property Guide has revealed that developments in the suburbs are giving returns of up to 8.8%.

Demand is being driven by Istanbul’s domestic and international population, which is growing at 1.5% a year**, giving year-round rental opportunities for buy-to-let investors. Billions of dollars worth of foreign direct investment is also pouring into Istanbul’s real estate, with the International Investors’ Association predicting an influx of $15billion-$20billion in 2008.

Excellent rental returns

Julian Walker, Turkey property specialists at Spot Blue, commented: “Investors are scrambling to have their own square metres in Istanbul because they feel confident of the city’s excellent rental returns.

“Others are reallocating their funds because the Istanbul market is still showing signs of growth. And while there might be a global credit crunch, buy-to-let properties in Istanbul are proving popular for a younger demographic who are looking to use their profit to get on the UK housing ladder.

Mr Walker continued: “As Istanbul grows, there are other areas on the verge of the city that will go up in value. None of this is overnight, which is why we advise our clients to invest in Istanbul for the long-term. One thing’s for sure – investors are certainly getting a lot more value for their money compared to London.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

Foreigners Buying in Turkey

BRITONS are doing it all over Didim, but the Germans prefer to do it Antalya. Buying homes that is!

Latest figures released from the Land Registry General Directorate reveal that 73,000 foreigners own 38.42 million square meters of real estate in Turkey.

Muğla, where Bodrum is located, leads the list of most property owned by non-Turkish individuals. Antalya comes second with 3.81 million square meters, while Aydın third with roughly 3 million square meters of foreign-owned property.

This demand is not fragmented, however, as nationals of other countries tend to buy property in the same locale. For example, Germans primarily purchase property in Antalya, whereas Britons favor Muğla.

In terms of the number of foreigners owning real estate, Antalya again tops the list with 26,031 persons, followed by Muğla (12,865), İstanbul (8,830), Aydın (7,415), Bursa (5,241) and İzmir (4,145).

Foreign interests do not own even a single piece of land in the cities of Ağrı, Bitlis, Hakkari, Muş, Siirt, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Ardahan and Iğdır. Gümüşhane and Van only have one non-Turk each who owns property, an Uzbek and a Brit, respectively.

Land owned by Germans in Antalya amounts to 1.25 million square meters; 6,324 Germans own 4,890 parcels of real estate in the city.

Britons own 777,786 square meters of land in Antalya, followed by the Dutch (351,953 square meters) and the Danish (339,874 square meters).

Muğla has 12,865 foreign property owners, 10,039 of which are Britons. The amount of land owned by Britons totals 2.66 million square meters, according to the Land Registry, followed by German, Dutch, Irish and US citizens.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Istanbul ranks third among European cities in terms of the increase in revenues per available room in 2007, consulting firm Deloitte announced in a report.

Turkey's most populous city ranks 20th in the global list. Istanbul increased its revenues per available room by 22.1 percent in U.S. dollar terms, rising above the average of Europe, according to Deloitte's “Hospitality Vision - Global Performance Review” report, which evaluates the past year for the global hospitality sector.

“The East-meets-West charms of Istanbul and its promotion as a center for art and culture has assisted this growth,” said Deloitte in the report, noting that Istanbul's average room rates are more competitive than its rivals. Demand is high from Middle East business travelers, particularly in the summer, according to the report published Tuesday.

Istanbul attracts attention as a symbol of the nation's success, said Ahmet Cangöz, Hospitality Industry Leader at Deloitte Turkey. “Istanbul climbed 12 ranks to 20th spot [in global ranking] since 2000. It is becoming a rising star of global tourism,” he said. “The fact that Istanbul has been elected the European Capital of Culture for 2010 offers new opportunities.”

Global performance:

Hospitality sector, which displayed a high performance in terms of average revenues per room and occupancy rates in 2007, attained double-digit growth rates, Deloitte said. Average revenue per hotel room in Europe rose by 15.8 percent to $114, according to the report, in which 165 countries outside North America are compared.

According to the European ranking, Moscow tops the list of revenues per available room with a 23.5 percent rise. Paris ranks second with an increase of 23.2 percent, just ahead of Istanbul. Venice and London follow Istanbul with 22 percent and 18.5 percent increases respectively.

Seven out of top 10 cities that obtain highest hospitality revenues are European cities, said Cangöz. Europe is still the heart of tourism and remains a favorite destination for travelers, he said.

The Deloitte report also focused on the positive impact of “open skies” agreement.

“We will see more competition as transatlantic air travel is liberalized through the ‘open skies' agreement,” the report said. “With European airlines now being able to fly to the United States from any European airport and not just their home country, we expect to see a scrabble for flights to and from Europe's major hubs. Airlines are collaborating with former rivals to create competitive schedules, and all of this is good news for the consumer.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spanish boom over?

During the last decade vast swathes of the Spanish coastline have been developed in a construction boom that has made the nation one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Spanish house prices have risen by more than 200 per cent in that period, encouraging many overseas investors - a large number of them British - to purchase property with the promise of short-term financial rewards.

But in the second quarter of this year the rise in house prices dipped below the rate of inflation for the first time in 10 years.

Analysts believe that because of low interest rates and poor regulations speculators have saturated the market.

Last year more than 800,000 homes were built in Spain, more than in Britain, France and Germany combined.

The result is a long anticipated downturn in the market with the worst hit areas in the big cities and on the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, where more than 250,000 homes are British-owned.

At the height of the construction boom in 2005 there were 7,000 estate agents on the Costa Blanca but 300 have closed this year, according to Enrique Llopis, honorary president of Alicante's College of Real Estate Agents. "It is a symptom of the property bubble bursting," he said yesterday.

"Demand is 10 per cent lower than it was a year ago and people are having to sell their property for less than they hoped."

Earlier this year the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said that Spanish house prices were so over inflated that during 2007 the country would see "an abrupt adjustment in which prices will plunge".

The Spanish government said this week that the housing boom was coming to an end, bringing with it a rise in unemployment due to the expected further decline in new construction contracts being awarded.

In a bleak assessment of Spain's prospects, the Socialist government admitted that the country faced an uncertain future. "We face a period of uncertainty and lack of clarity," said Pedro Solbes, the finance minister. "This is always bad for the economy."

Courtesy: Telegraph

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Property in Dubai

Of all the markets which emerged onto the international property scene at the beginning of this century, none has proved more fascinating and more dynamic than that of Dubai . This small emirate at the south-eastern end of the Persian Gulf has been the focus of a construction and real estate boom without parallel in human experience: up from the dust of the desert have arisen some of earth's most spectacular building projects, including as of the end of July the world's tallest building (the unfinished Burj Dubai, soon to become the tallest structure of any kind ever built) along with countless other soaring towers and headline-hogging mega-developments. As Dubai's ruler and the prime mover behind its progress onto the world stage, Sheikh Mohammed, seeks to extend and concretise his vision of his emirate as a global financial, commercial and tourism hum, his domain has attracted many thousands of investors looking to hitch their fortunes to his ascendant star.

It is clear now that the extraordinary capital growth which characterised the early years of the property revolution can no longer be found in Dubai; more so perhaps than any other emerging market to hit the European buying consciousness, the emirate at the beginning of its boom offered the magic combination of affordability and rapid appreciation and those intrepid pioneers who entered the market at around the turn of the Millennium (long before foreign ownership in Dubai was even legalised) have now seen their assets grow, in many cases, up to tenfold. But as the boom took hold and rates of supply, even at the off-plan stage, spiralled upwards - and as the market began to find a modicum of equilibrium - growth began to decelerate from the jaw-droppingly frantic to the merely heady. While estimates vary, many observers put appreciation in the five years from the beginning of 2002 at 200 per cent - that is, prices tripled over that period. Now, while official figures are few and hard to come by, it seems growth has declined to a still-not-to-be-sniffed-at ten per cent annually.

Supply is the big issue here. While an estimated 100,000 people are moving to Dubai every year (a massive increase for an emirate whose total population remains substantially less than that of Birmingham) the rate of housebuilding has been set even higher in anticipation that this rate of increase will continue or even accelerate over the coming years. A study by agents and analysts Colliers International showed that supply in Dubai grew between 2002 and 2005 by 23,000 units, or 47 per cent of existing stock - but that by the end of the decade another 170,000 to 240,000 units will be completed. Clearly, for an increase of this extent to prove viable, population growth simply has to continue at its current precipitous rate or a good many investors will be left holding on, perhaps for several years, to empty and unprofitable properties.

Thus far things seem to be running smoothly. The Dubai economic master plan calls for sustained growth in pretty much every sector and so far that's exactly what we've seen; the establishment of various themed "cities" around Dubai has attracted innumerable large foreign firms with their staff, all of whom require accommodation, while Dubai's generous tax regime (the emirate imposes virtually no personal taxes) has seen many wealthy individuals establish themselves as residents. Furthermore, large-scale foreign acquisitions around the globe (such as the controversial purchase by Dubai Ports World of Britain's P&O and assorted port establishments) have not only helped establish Dubai as an economic player of global import but have necessitated the creation of still more employment in the emirate itself. While it's true that a natural catastrophe or, more likely, a degeneration of the geo-political situation centred on the Middle East could have devastating consequences for all Dubai, such worst-case thinking tends to be poo-pooed by most analysts; barring such extreme events, Dubai's economy looks set for continued growth over the next decade, hopefully ensuring a steady supply of long-term immigrants to support the growth in housing construction.

A good proportion of foreign workers in Dubai, of course, do not own their properties. Rentals in the emirate have been if anything even more dynamic than the property-purchasing sector; rents increased by at least 20 per cent annually each year of this decade until 2006 when Sheikh Mohammed imposed a 15 per cent limit on increases in an attempt to stabilise the increasingly runaway market. Even with prices for properties at their current levels, so much higher than they were pre-boom, letting homes in Dubai is a big and profitable business and it's this sector even more than the purchasing market that requires the expected steady stream of professional immigrants to sustain itself. It's not known what proportion of homes currently under construction are intended for use as rental properties but it is at any rate a very significant proportion, and the great concern over Dubai's market (enough for the Prestige Group to rate Dubai as "watch" rather than "buy" in its initial Global Property Index last year) is that when those 170,000-240,000 extra homes finally reach completion there won't be enough tenants to go round, thus creating a glut of homes for sale by worried investors which could then send the purchasing market itself into the doldrums. While most analysts expect the market to sustain itself through Dubai's economic growth, worries persist and it is now probably this factor, rather than previous issues over legal status, which is the biggest obstacle in the minds of many looking to invest in the emirate.

To a certain extent one area of the rental market could be immune even to a significant downturn in the long-term sector. Dubai's tourist industry is stratospheric at present: over seven million visitors annually with an official target of 15 million by the end of the decade. While the number of hotel rooms in the country is also shooting upwards (the world's largest hotel is planned in a new Las Vegas-style strip boasting nearly 30,000 new rooms) plenty of opportunities remain for short-term rental profits, particularly in tourist-friendly locations such as in and around the massive new Dubailand theme-park complex. With incredible new attractions, a growing number of golf courses, the possibility of the establishment of a Dubai Grand Prix as well as countless other large sporting events (there is even talk of an Olympic bid for 2020 or 2024), new operatic and theatrical facilities and an increasingly exciting fine-dining portfolio, Dubai is becoming a genuinely year-round destination and while short-term rentals will never be as big a sector as longer-term stays it is certainly not a business at which to turn up one's nose.

The bottom line - as it has been, really, since Dubai first poked its head up from the sands - is that there is a bucket-load of money to be made here but it involves placing one's faith in the Dubai project as a whole. If Sheikh Mohammed's grand scheme continues to unfold successfully, as it undeniably has so far, then the economy will continue to flourish and both short- and long-term occupiers will continue to flood into the country. If this is the case then we may see even the current projected housing inventory revealed as insufficient and prices will carry on soaring. If, on the other hand, the wheels come off the project, oversupply will be a crucial and possibly terminal factor. It is hard to imagine that this would be the case - Dubai today is a place where miracles, whether economic or engineering, take place on an almost daily basis - but it remains a real, if minute prospect, and the most cautious of investors will probably wish to wait and see how matters pan out. For everyone else, the boom keeps booming...

blog search directory

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Property Abroad

An essential guide to buying a property abroad
Everything you need to know about estate agents, currency exchange, solicitors, mortgages, tax and insurance
Helen Pridham
The professionals involved in helping people to buy holiday homes abroad have plenty of horror stories. But most problems stem from a lack of care on the part of buyers rather than that the property is in a foreign country. People act without thinking, according to John Howell, of John Howell & Co, a firm of solicitors that specialises in international conveyancing. He says: “They seem to leave their brains on the carousel at the airport. They forget all the things they would do if they were buying property in Britain — like taking independent legal advice — and end up signing things they do not understand.” To avoid those potential problems, it is vital to use the right professionals:


There is never a shortage of people willing to sell you overseas property, in this country and abroad. But in most countries, including the UK, there is very little regulation of their activities.

Pauline Gallagher, chief executive of the Federation of Overseas Property Developers, Agents and Consultants (Fopdac), says: “Unfortunately the barriers to entry are very low, so it attracts people who see it is as a way of making easy money because of the large commissions paid by developers. This can lead to misselling at inflated prices.”

Fopdac is self-regulating, but members are vetted and must adhere to a code of conduct which among other stipulations requires them to provide consumers with a choice of independent legal advisers.

Another way of making sure you are dealing with a reputable agent is to contact an organisation such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), which can provide names of members in the UK who specialise in international property.

They also have a number of overseas members and a link to the International Consortium of Real Estate Agents (ICREA), which also has a code of conduct for its members worldwide.

Fopdac, , 0870 3501223
NAEA, , 01926 496800


There are two main ways of financing an overseas property purchase if you don’t have the cash. One is to remortgage your UK property, the other is to take out a mortgage on the foreign property. Several UK lenders offer overseas mortgages but mainly in the popular markets. Banco Halifax Hispania and Royal Bank of Scotland International, for example, lend on properties in Spain only; Leeds Building Society and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society lend in Gibraltar and Spain; HSBC in France only; while Barclays lends in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, and Lloyds TSB in Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.

An alternative is to use a UK-based mortgage broker that specialises in international loans. For example, Conti Financial Services can source the money locally for you. It arranges mortgages in a wide variety of countries. Kevin Fleury, senior partner at Conti, argues that taking a mortgage on your overseas property can have practical advantages. “Interest rates on foreign loans can be lower and the lender will want to make sure the property is properly valued and offers adequate security. Most of the problems I have seen are where people have paid cash for their overseas property and not bothered to check things out properly. If you do pay with cash, you should at least try to think like a bank.”

Banco Halifax Hispania, 01422 333868; Barclays, 020-8298 3223; HSBC, 0800 0858887; Leeds BS, 00350 50602; Lloyds TSB, 01624 638119; Norwich & Peterborough BS, 01733 372006; RBS International, 00350 44166;
Conti Financial Services, 01273 772811,; Propertyfinance4less, 020-7594 0555,


If you are planning to buy an overseas property with cash from the UK, you will need to convert your money into the local currency. This can be expensive if you use a high-street bank. Fortunately, there is growing competition from foreign currency specialists. They usually offer a better rate, do not charge fees and provide the option of taking out a “forward contract” so you can fix your exchange rate and not have to worry about currency fluctuations. Mark Bodega, marketing director at HIFX, explains: “We are able to cover our costs and make a profit on the spread between buying and selling currency, and still give consumers a better deal than the banks, because their spreads are so wide.”

Caxton FX, 0845 6582223,; Currencies Direct, 020-7813 0332,; Foreign Currencies Direct, 0800 3285884,; HIFX, 01753 859159,; Moneycorp, 020-7589 3000,; Travelex, 0870 0100095,; Capital IFX,, 0870 777 9777


Getting good legal advice is critical. Buyers can end up with question-marks over ownership or be liable for debts, such as bank loans secured against the property by the developer. You may also need to make a local will. Local lawyers may have better local knowledge, but you will need to be sure it is independent. Kevin Fleury, of Conti, suggests choosing one at least 50 miles from a development to make sure that there are no conflicts of interest. If you use a British solicitor who does international conveyancing there is the advantage of a common language and the benefit of knowing that he or she is covered by professional indemnity insurance. Specialists include John Howell & Co, which has several foreign lawyers, and Goldsmith Williams, which has developed relationships with reputable overseas solicitors in a range of countries . The Law Society can supply names of other solicitors in the UK and abroad.

Law Society, 0870 606 2555;; John Howell & Co, 020-7420 0400,; Goldsmith Williams, 0151 2311292,

The tax implications of a holiday home overseas are often neglected. Bill Blevins, of the chartered accountants and international tax specialists Blevins Franks, says: “People often overlook the fact that when they sell their overseas property it will be liable to capital gains tax in the UK, as it is not their principal private residence. There may also be a similar tax charge to pay to the overseas tax authorities.

Fortunately, the UK has double tax treaties with many countries, which means you won’t have to pay twice but you may have extra to pay if the amount charged overseas is less than in the UK.”

Tax may also be payable on rental income; in countries such as France there may be annual wealth tax to pay on properties above a certain value. Inheritance tax also needs to be considered. Last but not least, says Anita Monteith, tax manager at the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW): “Prospective homeowners should find out about local taxes equivalent to our council tax.” UK accountants will be able to advise overseas homebuyers, and if they don’t know about a particular country they can access specialists through the ICAEW.

Blevins Franks, 020-7336 1022,; ICAEW, 020-7920 8100,


Taking out insurance locally may be your only option in some countries in Eastern Europe or farther afield; your local bank should be able to help. But problems can occur if a claim arises and if you are dealing with a foreign language. That is one of the reasons you may prefer to deal with an insurer in the UK, where you will also be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service if something goes wrong.

Most UK-based policies such as Saga Insurance tend to focus on popular areas such as France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. HIFX’s policy, underwritten by Norwich Union, extends to Greece and Cyprus, while Andrew Copeland Insurance’s Europlan includes Malta and Northern European countries such as The Netherlands and Denmark. Wherever you take out insurance, make sure it covers you for the periods when the property is unoccupied. Much of Saga ’s cover does not apply if you leave your property unoccupied for more than 60 days.

Saga, 0800 0150751,; HIFX, 01753 859159,; Andrew Copeland, 020-8656 2544,

Overseas property markets

THE UK housing market may be in the doldrums, but activity in markets abroad is as strong as ever.

Increasing numbers of people are deciding to investing in overseas property, with research from the upcoming Property Investor and Homebuyer Show North suggesting that more than three-quarters of serious investors are planning to buy overseas in the next 12 months. Of these, almost a third believe emerging markets offer the best opportunities.

Stuart Law, managing director of Assetz, a property investment specialist exhibiting at the show, says you can make up to twice as much money on your investment in property abroad compared with the UK.

Advertisement your story continues below

"Yields of between six and 10 per cent are possible in overseas markets, compared with around five per cent in the UK," he says. "So it's not surprising that many investors are looking abroad for bargains."

Kevin Axon, a property consultant at Emerging Real Estate Ltd, also exhibiting at the show, says such investments can be relatively low-cost.

"Established overseas markets are still popular but emerging markets can offer good opportunities for investors. Lucrative property portfolios can be started from as little as £30,000 by investing in off-plan developments."


However, before you raid the piggy bank and book a flight to Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary or Slovakia, would-be investors would be wise to remember the old adage "buyer beware". Buying in emerging markets could prove problematic.

The risks are higher than in the more emerged markets as the economies, infrastructure and legal framework are not as advanced as in western Europe.

Not only that, but property markets in Bulgaria and Turkey could be hit hard by the resounding `No' votes in the recent French and Dutch referendums.

This was clearly a warning that the existing EU members are unhappy with what they perceive as the excessive growth of the Union. As a result, countries not yet in the EU could be left out in the cold, with the gate to membership perhaps beginning to close, with severe potential consequences for their economies and property markets.

Investors should treat property investment in these countries as speculative and be careful not to put all their eggs into one basket.

It may be better to stick to tried and tested markets such as Spain, although once again the advice is to shop around and do your homework.

Mike Hayes, editor of Homes Overseas Magazine, says: "Spain has excellent year-round weather, a superb infrastructure and plenty of sport and leisure activities, including some of Europe's finest golf courses, great food and even better drink.

"Having said that, southern Spain - and the Costa del Sol in particular - is having something of a tough time at the moment. Property prices are high and there are reports of agents overcharging on commission, money laundering scams and `land grab' horror stories.

"However, the famous Costas march on, because, the truth is, nowhere else in Europe can match the year-round sun and fun of Spain or the range of property available - and all just a two-and-a-half-hour budget flight from the UK."


For long-haul destinations, Mike Hayes recommends Florida and Australia. He says: "With the dollar still poor, property in Florida has potential, both for investors and for holiday-home buyers.

"Orlando's rental zone is the centre of attention for Brits, with Disney World, Universal Studios and Discovery Bay for the kids and many places to eat, shops, bars and golf courses for the bigger kids.

"Property rental is a well-oiled machine in Orlando, with everything taken care of, from pool cleaning and lawn mowing to the replacement of cutlery and linen.

Of course it all costs, and you shouldn't expect to clear a large profit from renting there. A combination of a small amount of rental return and a potential for good capital growth, though - plus a strengthening dollar over the next few years, should make for a sound investment."

Mike also recommends Australia for long-haul investors, citing the fact that some 10,000 of us leave the UK each year to live there. Destinations such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide are all popular and, again, a combination of a weak dollar, fantastic weather, great beaches and the low cost of living is proving attractive.

"Of course, Australia is no weekend getaway destination - buyers will generally be looking to make an investment based on capital gains and rental returns," he says.


Another long-haul contender is South Africa, which is currently witnessing a boom in property prices with increases of 25.5 per cent per annum, according to recent research.

Although geographically beyond other favourite investment hotspots, such as Spain and Cyprus, South Africa offers astute property investors the chance to benefit from a still booming property market.

Whereas property prices in Spain are now comparable with those in England, South African property offers incredibly good value for money.

Chris Wilson, marketing and communications manager of John McDonald Properties (JMP), says early returns can be very good indeed.

"The demand for housing far outstrips supply. The value of properties is expected to increase significantly and, for early investors, growth in the region of 30 per cent can be expected in the first year."

Overall, Nick Clark, managing director of The Homebuyer Show, says the future looks good for investing overseas.

"Many agents will take care of the whole procedure from initial visit to signing the contract. Buying a property overseas has been a distant dream for many people for a long time.

"But the process is becoming a lot easier."

Real Estate Directory