House Hunting in Turkey: A Spruced-Up Olive-Oil Factory for $1.8 Million


Credit…Engel & Volkers Bodrum

The ancient city of Milas “is a very prominent summer holiday destination,” Ms. Tanbay said, though this home is in a quieter area. The Aegean coast city of Iassos, with 4,000-year-old historic sites in its ancient quarter, is a 30-minute drive, and Milas-Bodrum Airport is about 20 minutes. The Aegean port city of Bodrum, with about 30,000 residents, is 30 miles southwest.

While there is no centralized database for real estate transactions in Turkey, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey’s Residential Property Price Index reported impressive growth in September 2020, with a monthly increase of 1.6 percent and a year-over-year gain of 27.3 percent. In the region that includes Mugla province, prices increased 36.3 percent year over year, making it one of Turkey’s better performers.

But the higher prices belie some depreciation tied to the poor performance of the Turkish lira, the world’s worst-performing currency in 2020. “After a huge boom that lasted until about 2013, the real estate market has been in decline for five or six years, and transactions are down dramatically in the last two years,” said Ali Onuk, managing partner of Aon Invest, a real estate advisory company in Istanbul. At the same time, the sagging lira has made real estate “more affordable for foreign buyers, and there’s greater demand in the A+, $3 million and up segment.”

Prices vary wildly across Turkey depending on the type and location of property, said Neli Devidas, a Realtor with Keller Williams Platin in Istanbul. Homes and apartments can range from about $140 a square foot in central Istanbul to more than $750 a square foot for units in high-end branded developments, which are popular in Turkey, she said. In the popular coastal resort city of Bodrum, branded residences range from about $370 to $560 a square foot, with homes in surrounding areas starting around $185 a square foot.

Bodrum has long been the costliest property market on Turkey’s coast, and “prices in these areas are still rising because of Covid-19,” Ms. Devidas added. “Turks want to move out of cities into homes or mansions with stand-alone gardens. That’s the trend right now.”

The migration has helped jump-start other segments of the market. “For three years, we had difficulty selling a development of luxury townhouses and villas about 20 minutes outside Istanbul,” Ms. Devidas said. “Now, because of Covid, they’ve sold quickly, and prices have already gone up more than 10 percent.”



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