The appeal of investment property in Istanbul is set to increase as the city moves towards being crowned European Capital of Culture in 2010; what’s more, the Times have recently highlighted the city as one of the most appealing in Europe for property purchasers in the near-term.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that property in Turkey’s city of Istanbul is ripe for investment entry, how about the fact that tourism numbers are up, the pound still goes a long way in Turkey, and Istanbul is considered a far ‘safer’ city than it once was?

All these are reasons why the appeal of investment property in Istanbul is rising – against a backdrop of a government committed to doing what it needs to in order to increase foreign direct investment.  In this article we examine the real estate landscape in Istanbul for would-be investors.

Tourism numbers across Turkey have increased by in excess of 13% in the year to date, and according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, this trend is set to last as Turkey works hard not only at promoting itself internationally, but at raising its appeal as well.  There is no denying or ignoring the amount of investment being poured into everything from airport upgrading to road building and amenity and facility development.  This is work being done to improve the overall standards of living in Turkey for the Turkish people – but also to make the country more sophisticated and therefore more appealing to greater numbers of international visitors and investors.

The Turkish city of Istanbul is right at the heart of this investment – Istanbul is already a world famous tourism destination in its own right, but it has also grown rapidly to become a centre of commerce and business where significantly wealthy individuals are drawn.  Add to this the fact that the city will fulfil a long held ambition and become European Capital of Culture in 2010, and you can of course understand the rapidity with which investment is now being poured into the improvement of aspects of the city.

This has had a knock on effect on property prices – but then they were starting from a low base, relatively speaking.  Forget the multi-million pound homes on the Bosphorus for a minute, and think instead about the apartments and townhouses across the most popular residential and historically appealing areas of the city.  These are properties that have seen up to 20% growth year on year until now.  Now they are suffering from the effects of the global financial crisis and prices are stagnating, developers and vendors are more willing than ever to discuss the price, and at the same time the appeal of these properties is set to increase!  A well-timed entry into Istanbul’s property market right now could see an investor acquire well-located property for a bargain price that will either short-term let to increasing tourism numbers, or long-term let to the stable, steady and reliable professional local demand that exists in Istanbul.

As stated, the Times have focused on the city as one of the more attractive in Europe currently, and when you add in the undeniable fundamentals such as tourism demand, the European Capital of Culture tag and overall increased attraction and appeal thanks to continued private and public investment, it’s easy to see how a well located purchase could make for a good long-term investment.

Finally, as previously mentioned, the government in Turkey has been forced to realise that it needs increased foreign direct investment to stave of the worst effects of the global economic meltdown.  As a result it is going to have to make reforms and changes – part of these reforms and changes that have been proposed include advancing the principle of reciprocity to attract buyers from other countries, improve transparency in the investment environment, and open up certain restricted parts of the property market to overseas investors.  These restricted parts include certain historic and very attractive parts of Istanbul.  So keep a close eye on this city’s real estate market, because we believe it will return very good things in years to come.