A sign of Turkey’s ambition and rising prominence in global trade came in October with the opening of a new railway tunnel that links the European and Asian sides of the city and is likely to facilitate business between Asia, including China, and Western Europe.
Called the Marmaray Project, the 1.4-kilometre tunnel was a Japanese-Turkish joint venture, with the Bank of Japan investing $1billion of the project’s total value of $4billion. Running under the Bosphorus Strait, it will not only help trans-continental trade relations, but also be a boost to districts of Istanbul and help ease the pressure on Istanbul’s traffic and two bridges over the Bosphorus.
In particular, residential projects in Istanbul that are in close proximity to stations along the new rail route should make appealing buy-to-let opportunities for foreign investors. One example is Halkali, which is on the western perimeter of Istanbul’s European side. This district, which is also very close to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, will be linked by a high-capacity line with Gebze on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Once fully operational, the upgraded rail service will reduce the journey time between Halkali and Gebze to around 104 minutes from the current 185 minutes.
The inauguration of the tunnel comes at a time when research by Turkey’s Real Estate Investment Trust Association (GYODER) showed that property sales in Turkey were up 78.7 per cent in the first half of 2013 compared to last year.
A member of GYODER reported recently that a new law allowing more foreigners to own property in Turkey, introduced last year, has driven demand from overseas buyers, so that sales to buyers from abroad were expected to reach $3 billion this year, compared to $2.64 billion dollars in 2012.
The recent Cityscape exhibition in Dubai was testament to the growing demand for Turkish property from Middle Eastern investors. A number of developers in Istanbul have reported multi-million-dollar deals with Arab investors, who typically buy multiple units in one of the city’s new residential or mixed use projects.
The most recent statistics in GYODER’s New Home Price Index revealed that in September there was a 1.51 per cent month-on-month hike, and 13.80 per cent increase in the price of new residential property compared with the same month last year. Prices of property on “Branded Projects” in the European half of Istanbul remained steady in September but increased 0.34 per cent in the Asian side, according to the index.