About My Bricks Real Estate

Our living and breathing passion is real estate in the downtown area. We look forward to virtual sessions where you walk side by side with us along the streets or in real life when you arrive in Istanbul. We are fully equipped to help you with any logistic matters you may require, from obtaining citizenship through investment to managing your assets professionally here in Istanbul. At this point in time, the agency is transforming and we have investment coming in. It is an exciting time to purchase in Istanbul. I look forward to doing the ground-work for you and launching you on your way to a profitable and enjoyable investment. our website link is: https://www.mybricksrealestate.com/ Kind regards, Keith Boyle

Keith’s Weekly Property News May 8-2022

There was a major and unavoidable slowdown this past week with the Eid Holiday making viewings for the most part impossible. We will be resuming our regular viewings this week. It came at an inconvenient time as many clients are keen to get on with their CBIs.  
We had several negotiations going on in the past week, as well as some completions of purchases. The negotiations seemed slow, with owners calling most of the shots. The USD is near the psychological barrier of 15, so perhaps that was a factor. In general, prices seem to have leveled off. We are still, sporadically, seizing on good opportunities and fair pricing, though nowhere near the number of properties we would like to be closing on. It takes patience from all parties. We cannot just push through deals that we feel are not there. It will be reflected in subsequent yields and bite into future appreciation. We want at the very least to get them at market price, if not a little below. In the past 18 months, nearly 90% of our transactions fit that, so it is pretty hard to let that go. However, we have a couple of ready made CBI packages, that while not stunning, are very reliable and ensured and designed to protect your capital. Rather than do something rash by going out and over-paying elsewhere, contact me if you are interested in one of these. We like to call them “bullet-proof” and I believe to a high degree that they are. 
Regarding proposed CBI changes we know very little, nor does anyone else. The only thing I can say is that I am surprised that the announcement has not yet officially been published. We really expected that it would have by now. And we continue to believe that it will be imminent. What we surely do not know are the details about implementation. As always, once we have credible information we will pass it on to you right away. 
In geo-politics, Turkey continues to thread the needle between the US, Ukraine-Russia and the EU. So far, we can say that this is having the net effect of restoring Turkeys image as a major and responsible regional power. I think Turkey relishes the opportunity to be both a peace-broker and bridge between many countries. It is a bit of a tour de force in demonstrating how Turkey operates as a swing state. Lose Turkey and you can lose the Middle East, even Africa and the East as well. President Erdogan, who was being reviled and shunned by EU leaders just a few short years ago, is now back on their speed dial. Nothing like a war to make new buddies. As group member Anton speculated, EU companies have been encouraged to increase already large trade with Turkey. 
On the tourism front? It will be the biggest year ever. Turkey has two cities in the top 10 in world tourism, Istanbul and Antalya. The numbers this year will be unheard of. If anyone has some preliminary numbers from, April, it would be great if you could share in the meeting. This is both good for short and mid term lets. Im always a bit hesitant to be over-exuberant about things, but I just cannot see any storm clouds for Turkish tourism. In the mid-2015s we had some high profile terrorist attacks that did a lot of damage, so we have to temper our enthusiasm with hesitation about the unknowns. Having said that, at the moment, tourism roars forward. 
 
On the property front, we are seeing some difficulty in our traditional target areas of Beyoglu, Besiktas and Sisli. Other neighborhoods can pick up the slack, but only to some degree. Many of our clients insist on one of the above neighborhoods. Kadikoy , another favorite, has been plagued by very unreasonable seller demands, so it is mostly a pass there. We continue to look at Golden Horn areas, Kagithane, of course, and lately, Eyup. Izmir remains on track, but has also seen a thinning out in opportunities. Karaburun looks set to be an excellent alternative to Cesme. We have an exemplerary property there that I am keen to move on. I will present that tonight. Alanya also remains on the radar, while Antalya and Bodrum are clearly off. 
A couple of lovely sea view properties in Fatih fell into my lap last week, but the negotiation has gotten bogged down due to the issue of tenancy removal. A few times lately, I have been suggesting to put the property before the rent. By that I mean, if you are getting a good deal on the property, you may want to accept the existing tenancy status and then raise rent aggressively in accordance with inflation. I was not a huge fan of aggressive raises in the past as I somehow felt that both tenant and owner should bear some of that pain equally. However, with rents that have fallen well behind market, I am in favor of pursuing the full inflation raise. This might deter tenants from staying and allow you to re-set at market rent. These are in many ways new problems and we are being forced to adapt and try to find new solutions. Keep in mind that the majority of properties on the secondary market are tenanted. They do not just come all packaged up with bows tied. It is up to us to somehow make it work, whether it be by recourse to local laws or perhaps incentivizing (on both seller and buyer side), the tenant to leave. Unfortunately, this slows down the negotiation process at a time when we do not want it to. 
Just a few thoughts on sqm prices. All quotes are from “decent, but not prime” locations in their respective neighborhhods. 
Mesrutiyet, starting at 1.5K USD. 
Bomonti, starting at 1.7K, but moving to 2K. 
Kurtulus. 1.25-1.6K 
Tesvikiye, starting at 2K. 
Cihangir, starting at 2.25K 
Galata, starting at 2.5K 
Kadikoy, starting at 2.5K 
If you find these prices high, you have likely been duped by property adverts puffing up the net sqm. The above numbers can be considered to be quite reliable. At the upper ranges, you may expect a bit less renovation, perhaps a view of some sort etc. At the lower range, you may expect at least moderate renovation. For new builds in all the above areas, add minimum 40%. For Bosphorous views, add minimum 50% 
 

Properties will be distributed in meeting. If you like, PM me and I will send them to you directly.
We invite you to join us for:

IstanbulInsights with Keith

On Sundays at 20:00* Istanbul time
*13.00EST/ 19.00CET/
20.00TRT/ 02.00SGT (Monday)
Via Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7931208182?pwd=ZndocVNmbXAyTE5uMnNscC9sK0xSZz09
Password for logging in: 1234
‘Just Click’ the above link and be part of the Istanbul Insights with Keith’s property market updates.
Every Sunday we will share more info about the best property deals of the week, market developments, followed by Q+A time.

for more information:
info@mybricksrealestate.com
Tel No: +905315823876
https://www.mybricksrealestate.com/keiths-weekly-property-news-may-8-2022/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTdtUblbpqeYT4_h-8vtkA

Keith’s Weekly Property News April 24-2022

Due to time constraints during this unusually frenetic period, I will give brief notes once again this week, hopefully with less typos than last week.

CBI update:

Everything is a bit unclear at this point. When the news broke that there would be a move from investment level of 250K to 400K most industry experts expected the announcement in the Official Gazette to happen almost right away. 10 days later it still has not been published and thus ramps up the speculation mill. Most experts still believe it is inevitable, with many predicting before or after the Bayram Holiday (starts May 2. But because of the weekend and the May 1 holiday, it actually means earlier. Others seemed to have pulled the date of June 1 out of the hat. The truth is nobody seems to know for sure and the ones who do know are not talking. So that is all I really have to say about that. If you do want to do CBI at 250K, you should be in full hunt mode to find properties. I outlined the time frames for that in detail in last weeks notes.

I often try to address many of the issues that get brought up in the whatsapp chats. This week a few people pointed out that people who signed on tenants in lira contracts last year probably took a haircut in terms of USD based yields. That is indeed true, yet we should be non-alarmist in our assessment. 2021 was indeed a truly remarkable year in every sense for Turkeys property market. Certainly not every year will follow that trajectory, from Lira 8 to Lira 15. The consolation for lower yields due to lira collapse is that the properties appreciated anywhere from 20-40%…in USD terms. That is phenomenal and came as a great surprise to me. All we can do with under-performing lira rentals is to jack up the rent each year according to inflation index. Luckily, we did not sign so many of such contracts, but we definitely did some. We are doing many more now and we are much more cautious in our approach, Where possible, and if the property lends itself to it, we are trying to secure currency contracts. This is not possible for every type of property. Difficult, for example, if it is commercial property which has wider appeal  to Turkish market.  I believe we will find our way and these issues will not materially impact the quality of the investment over the long term. We are now also focusing more on securing expat tenants. I have wide experience with this and know all of the places to market, plus the ability to network with key agents in high density expat neighborhoods such as Beyoglu and parts of Sisli. We should be able to, going forward, secure perhaps 75% of our contracts in USD. Mid term rentals will comprise a certain percentage more.

Finally, on that point, we do have to accept some currency risk while investing in Turkey. Entry and exit points are not irrelevant. We need to buy in at the right price, with the time being less of a knowable element. We want to buy at the right price, end of story. Then you will need to exit at the right time. Give it 5 years, is my view, though longer term can be very sensible as well. Turkey has the ability to soar, why would you want to pull out early? Besides, it is a lot of fun and a wild ride, where hardly anyone gets hurt in the long run. Call it the “Pirate Ship” of international property investing. Lots of gut-wrenching swings, but a safe off ramp is mostly there. I am sure we cannot say the same for many other international real estate markets. I have not heard many success stories from many EM markets in the past 5 years. No doubt they exist, but…

Don’t fight the demographic. Turkey has that and it will matter more and more in the years to come.

Last week was an interesting week, as in our bid to close out some CBIs, we hunted high and low and looked in places we had never considered. Fruitful, but punishing on the whole staff, We have 1 more week until the Bayram Holiday, so we will try to sustain the pace until that period, after which there will be a slowdown from at least May 1 to May 6.

The people who are getting the job done are the “squeaky wheels” who give us clear directives and time lines. Don’t be shy about that.

Regarding renovations, the long used 300 to 350 USD per sqm model that I re-iterated for the past several years seems to be quickly getting outdated. Rising labour and material costs are contributing to this, as has the property boom. The property boom, as evidenced by record sales in March to Turkish nationals and foreigners alike, leads to pretty intense competition to retain good tradesman, which I believe we have. Our decision to use Turkish materials wherever possible (a wise choice in my view), allows us to keep pricing within the 4000USD per sqm mark, still remarkably cheap by Western standards. These are based on the net sqm, footprint of the property. Additions, such as terraces and balconies that did not previously exist, will of course push this number upwards, as will Franke kitchens and Gaggeneau fittings.

Prices seem to have stabilized for the time being and we are seeing good opportunities pop up sporadically. Those usually have to be moved on quite quickly in terms of execution, if we want to capitalize. I have set aside some cash to fast-track deposits on the properties I like. We do the initial due diligence and if all looks good, I am ok with backstopping a deposit til a buyer teps in. It is often an effective way of speeding up the process. We are typically getting evaluations returned within 48 hours and are doing our best to get Land Registry appointments as fast as possible. Average time looks like 5 days if there are no procedural snags.

There is a always a lot more to say, but I am sure it will come up in the zoom discussion.

Here is a shorter than usual list of viewings we hope to have this week, subject to availability and initial CBI checks. (distributed in meeting).

Properties will be distributed in meeting. If you like, PM me and I will send them to you directly.

We invite you to join us for:

#IstanbulInsights with Keith

On Sundays at 20:00* Istanbul time

*13.00EST/ 19.00CET/

20.00TRT/ 02.00SGT (Monday)

Via Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7931208182?pwd=ZndocVNmbXAyTE5uMnNscC9sK0xSZz09

Password for logging in: 1234

‘Just Click’ the above link and be part of the Istanbul Insights with Keith’s property market updates.

Every Sunday we will share more info about the best property deals of the week, market developments, followed by Q+A time.

For more info:

https://www.mybricksrealestate.com/keiths-weekly-property-news-april-24-2022/

Keith’s Weekly Property News April 17 -2022

This week everything will be abbreviated, including our zoom session, which I will have to end at 21.15 sharp.

Basically, as I am sure everyone knows, it has been announced that the CNI amount will be raised from 250K to 400K USD. Beyond that there is not much we know for sure, nor will we til the decision is published in the Official Gazette, along with all the relevant details.

There has been much speculation, which essentially centers around 3 points:

  • Will people who have their Doviz Alim Belgesi (Or exchange certificate from the Central Bank) automatically be accepted in the 250K USD regime. Keep in mind, to get this document, you already need to have the property details of the property or properties  you intend to buy.
  • It is believed, but not confirmed, that people who have applied for the “certificate of conformity” will continue on with their citizenship process without any effect or change. I also believe this to be true.
  • Whether or not there will be some future date extension for people to complete the CBI program, or a deadline. I am very unsure of this, leaning slightly towards the opinion that there will not be, though hopefully I will be proven wrong.

I repeat that the above items are speculation. There is even speculation that the decision will be reversed or not published at all. I am highly skeptical of this.

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do apart from wait for all the details to be published, likely this week, but again not guaranteed to be.

By way of advice, I cannot really even offer clients much. We have clients who are travelling to Istanbul this week. With quite a bit of luck, we may be able to beat the clock, especially if there is some kind of extended deadline.

One thing for sure is you should be careful about agencies or developers trying to get you to sign onto deals very quickly with the guarantee that they can get you the deed ina few days and apply for the passport. This is a clear falsehood. No one can make such guarantees. There are time farmes for each step, from wiring money to securing valuation reposrts to getting an appointment to close at the registry. Yes, there aqre ways we can TRY to expedite all of the above, but guaranteeing it is just misleading.

For those who really want to close out their CBIs the secondary market is the slow way to go. That is why we have taken steps to source deals from developers, which are in theory faster. However, if that kind of property does not appeal to you, we understand. I suppose in any event, the practical thing to do is to carry on your property searches.

We are currently working one to one with many clients who have their POAs and Turkish accounts funded or at least open, in the belief that it may be possible to get them over the line.

Everyone has to make their own decisions regarding what is the best step for them. Getting a POA issued remotely? Doing the same with the account? Buying online, and so forth. Some will also be in whether it is 250K or 400K, so me advising people in all cases does not seem reasonable as everyone has much different motivations, budgets, timelines and buying preferences.

If you really do want to get it done and done fast, reach out to me and I will try to offer quick but safe solutions. For example, we may want to introduce escape clauses with developers, meaning that if the amount gets raised to 400K mid-process, we have the right to have deposit refunded. In many cases, it may not be accepted, but we can at least try. This will not work, period, on the secondary market.

So, in a way, folks, that is it for updates at the moment. Tonight , we will discuss in more detail how we may want to proceed, in theory, at such a time.

We also have the highly problematic “dangling” CBI, where the client has purchased maybe one or two properties, but has not reached the 250K mark. Obviously, we are leaving no stone unturned for these clients.

Property sales in March were very high, the highest number on record at over 130.000. Turks view property as the only hedge in these uncertain inflationary times.  I expect one of the original aims of the CBI, to sell  the over-supply of new builds on the periphery of Istanbul or other cities, has largely become superfluous.  The need for hard currency no doubt still exists, but we must also consider that there are many non-CBI buyers of Turkish property and the proliferation of new passports being given largely to individuals from a few nations, was becoming a bit of a political hot potato. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that foreign buying will continue, though the CBI numbers will likely drop significantly.

Unfortunately this week we will be doing without a staple of our weekly zoom sessions, the presentation ofm property picks. This is being done mostly on a 1 to 1 basis, but we hope to return to our original format next week. This week we will do more Q&A and let Aybike, CBI lawyer, share a few thoughts. I thank everyone for ntheir patience in waiting for me to get to their whatsapp messages this past week. I believe I returned to everyone. However, if you are really in buying postion, ping me again tonight and we will do extra work and assign staff to your request.

Properties will be distributed in meeting. If you like, PM me and I will send them to you directly.

We invite you to join us for:

#IstanbulInsights with Keith

On Sundays at 20:00* Istanbul time

*13.00EST/ 19.00CET/

20.00TRT/ 02.00SGT (Monday)

Via Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7931208182?pwd=ZndocVNmbXAyTE5uMnNscC9sK0xSZz09

Password for logging in: 1234

‘Just Click’ the above link and be part of the Istanbul Insights with Keith’s property market updates.

Every Sunday we will share more info about the best property deals of the week, market developments, followed by Q+A time.

For more info:

Keith’s Weekly Property News April 17-2022

Keith’s Weekly Property News April 10-2022

It was a bit of a frustrating week. We had big plans to ramp it up, but were let down later in the week by lots of last minute cancelations of viewings for a host of reasons. Nonetheless, we have a full line up of 6 viewings tomorrow and we hope to add many more for the week.
I will also be holding a zoom session on upcoming Izmir Round 2, so quite excited about that.
To Airbnb or not to Airbnb, that seems to always be the question.
I have made my views known on this several times, but also backtracked a few times as well. Obviously, I want to do what is commercially in the best interest of my clients, but I am also cognizant of the environment that we operate in. Rather than engage in my usual verbosity, I will put in point form the salient and relevant points.
Pros
-You collect payment in currency (some properties are also suitable for collecting in currency as mid term and long term rentals, by the way, so I am not sure how vital this pro is

-You can reserve the property for personal use. (You can also do this for mid-term rentals, which are currently in very big demand as well.
-You MAY be able to outperform the yield you would get on a long term rental (do not forget to add your sweat equity and time into that equation). No Airbnb management company takes care of your taxes, btw. Other things will come up that will require your attention and time.
Cons
-It is very hard to operate an Airbnb legally in Turkey. You have to get a special license, which in itself is a headache. But the deal killer is you need the permission of all owners in the building to get that license. Good luck with that. As a result, 99% of Airbnbs operate illegally, to put it bluntly. Of course, most of them operate without issue or interference from the authorities. However, there are many notable exceptions, such as:
1- Because you are operating illegally, there is actually no mechanism to pay the taxes and your income can always be queried. To put it shortly, paying taxes is up to you and it is all very fuzzy because you are basically declaring that you are running an unofficial hotel and proving to the authorities your real income is a pain.
2- Somebody, somewhere does sift through Airbnb to check about taxes. I have personal experience through contacts of fines for Airbnb listings.
3- Turkey is home to strict anti-terrorism laws. Most Airbnb operations do not record their guests with the authorities, as proper hotels do. If a terror event occurs, and it turns out that the perpetrator stayed in an Airbnb, widespread closure is not off the table. As is some messiness in the investigation. Very unlikely scenarios. But add in the fact that local hoteliers have some easy leverage here. I suppose they are pleased these days with occupancy, but should that change, Airbnb is low hanging fruit in terms of a target.
4- Neighbors are also a factor. They OFTEN complain and sometimes even try to extract payment from the situation. I was on the paying end in Istanbul and Budapest, so that is no myth.
I ran the #1 TripAdvisor property in Galata for about five years back in the early 10s. There is much more I can tell you about the experience. Suffice it to say, there are many surprises and unknowns. Just crushing out a big fat yield every year is more fantasy than reality. Below are my tips on what makes a succesful Airbnb in Istanbul (and perhaps Turkey).
The property should be in excellent condition. The half renovated places mostly stay emtpty. The successful one are in good hotel standard, Expect to spend from 5K USD to 10K USD on all furnishing and basic set up cost.
If your property is on an upper floor and there is no lift, it had better have a nice view, otherwise it will not perform well.
For Istanbul, the main areas are Sisli and Beyoglu. Fatih is as well, but it is much harder to find properties in the touristic areas. Besiktas can work as well, but some parts are unsuitable. Kadikoy may work, but I suspect the buy price vs income would not be favorable. Areas like Kagithane and other suburbs are largely untested and would probably have marginal appeal.
Sea view always gets a premium, but decent city view with a balcony or terrace can help.
If your property is such that it would likely not generate 70 USD per night, the endeavor may not be worthwhile. I think the successful Airbnbs are a bit higher end. Better profile of guest, greater income to offset unexpected costs and just, lets say, more worth the headache for everyone involved.
“Aile” or buildings that have many families in them will be unsuitable. In Turkish culture, people really want to know their neighbors.
Neighborhoods where there might be elevated security concerns are also off the table as far as I am concerned. No windy, unlit stairwells leading to secret access through back entrance etc.
Garden apartments have limited appeal. People do not travel with their pets or are not so concerned about having a garden for their children when they travel, and these are the appealing sides of those properties.
Proximity to Metro is key. Not more than 10-12 minutes walking.
Expect low bookings in Jan, Feb, March.
There are many other tips you can get from websites. I have just tried to be specific about Istanbul and the property end of things.
Again, I hope I have not discouraged or alienated too much of my client base. I am trying to present a balanced view on an important issue and one in which I myself have been struggling to articulate in the past months.
We are, and will continue, to run Airbnbs, and most likely, more of them.However, I would like to stick to Airbnbs that meet the above criteria. I am happy to evaluate your property and let you know if I think it is suitable for Airbnb or not. Regarding income, with the ever shifting landscape of dare I say post-Covid, I am reluctant to give projections on income, but could probably give you a good idea about nightly rates.
Now what I really suggest is that you target the mid-term market, which is really under-supplied. I get emails every day asking for rentals for anywhere from 1-6 months. I almost never answer. With these types of rentals, you can achieve all of your objectives while also being on more solid ground legally and in better stead with your neighbors:
-paid in currency
-can reserve property for personal use.
-Ultimate flexibility in tax terms (more on that later).
You can also transition into a long term rental or an Airbnb rental if you are not happy with performance in the first 6 months. I suggest this as an excellent avenue and I will fully support it, as well as apply resources to the enterprise, as I feel it aligns with my interests more closely. I have some concerns about being the repository of unofficial, mediocre Airbnbs lol.
Putting aside being tongue in cheek, it really does seem to be a good path. There are so many digital nomads and remote workers, people coming for extended medical treatments, Erasmus university exchanges, business travelers and more. It is a market long time group member, Andreas, has long been a proponent of. I agree with him fully.
Now on to the market. We are looking for a better week than last week and are taking all steps to make it happen. If you are in country, please be vocal. We are here to try to help you meet your needs and I still feel, in so many ways, that we are the best agency to do this, though we are constrained in some ways by the clients demands for the more popular neighborhoods.
Properties will be distributed in meeting. If you like, PM me and I will send them to you directly.
We invite you to join us for:

IstanbulInsights with Keith

On Sundays at 20:00* Istanbul time
*13.00EST/ 19.00CET/
20.00TRT/ 02.00SGT (Monday)
Via Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7931208182?pwd=ZndocVNmbXAyTE5uMnNscC9sK0xSZz09
Password for logging in: 1234
‘Just Click’ the above link and be part of the Istanbul Insights with Keith’s property market updates.
Every Sunday we will share more info about the best property deals of the week, market developments, followed by Q+A time.

For more info:

Keith’s Weekly Property News April 10-2022

Keith’s weekly property News March 27-2022

A few broken deals, a few good ones and a dip into some other areas.
Hi folks. Very brief notes here this week. I am trying to squeeze in a day off to enjoy some of the coastal scenery.
As a long winter finally seems to be giving way to spring, it might be a good time for an overview of what is to be expected in the Spring and perhaps a few comments (or rather, speculation) about the CBI program, which no doubt is of importance for many newcomers.
I see a very slow return to a new norm in the secondary market after the tumult caused by the currency crisis in late 2021. I feel sellers are gradually coming back to the market and the Lira, while by no means feeling comfortably settled, has at least seemed to reside consistently in the 13.75-14.75 band for the past 2 months. I suppose that is the best we can hope for. It provides some visibility and consistency, at least in that time frame of 10 days or so from when we put a deposit down and when we may realistically expect to close. This is vitally important when trying to close deals on the secondary market. Those of you who were with me in December likely recall me whining about the deals collapsing in like dominoes during that period. Even in stable times, such as the past week or ten days, we had several deals collapse, through no particular fault of our own. This a a feature of the landscape on the secondary market where sales often are a family affair, with multiple inputs. Even when it is not a family decision, Turks often wonder if they are letting go of a safe haven asset too cheap. So, for newcomers, you just have to expect this. Up to 70% of the properties we negotiate on never make it past that phase. Maybe they raise the price or pull the property of the market. Maybe the agent is not fully competent or mis-represented the willingness of the seller. In any event, in these cases, we just have to move on. It is inefficient and slows us down and sometimes wastes the valuable time of our clients. We do our best to minimize exposure to this, but it is not always preventable.
In any event, I do not think we will return to a year ago when there were many more options to choose from, but I do expect the spring to be better than the winter for properties coming on the market. I also expect that we are in for a bit of a pause for the increase in prices, though some gentrifying neighborhoods may still plow up further.
Usually the key components needed from the buyer for locking in a good deal are 1-certainty about choice 2- preparedness (deposit money in place, no dangling paper work) 3- working knowledge of the market to the degree where you have matched it up against some comparables.
There does not to be much new in the new build category. Or at least not in Zone 1 or core downtown. I suspect sourcing land has become almost impossible, as has ‘kat karsilikli’ deals when owners make a share agreement with a developer. High rents will only exasperate that, as the developers often make deals where they pay for the rents of owners for up to 30 months during the evacuation and construction stage. Lack of visibility on materials costs might frighten off the more risk-averse developers. Cowboys will always be cowboys though, so I expect some are pressing ahead with ambitious plans. Some caution on “holes in the ground” with flashy CGIs and multi-lingual staff in sales offices is required

As many of you know, I have been spending time on some of the main ports on the coastal trail. The main rational for this is that 10-20 percent of our clients are quite interested in those markets. Having some idea of the pricing and the types of opportunities available seems like a good idea. I will give a short summary of my views on Alanya, Antalya, Bodrum etc. in the zoom session next week. They are all quite specific markets and can easily be highly influenced by idiosyncratic, and perhaps temporary events, such as a sudden influx of Russian buyers and would-be tenants. This means that many of these markets might be on steroids at the moment, so you have to temper the exuberance of the headlines with some sober thought. It does appear, at least for the time being, that rents have actually experienced a 50% increase due the Ukraine conflict. Welcome news, no doubt, to anyone who bought previously. It gives pause for thought, though, for incoming buyers. Are the new prices being asked being calculated with this inflated yield in mind? Resort towns have much different dynamics than places like Izmir or Istanbul. Get on the wrong side of the fad and you could get squashed and it could take years for your investment to realign. No amount of Russians coming to Istanbul or Izmir is going to move the needle much on property prices, but it certainly will in smaller markets such as Alanya or Fethiye.

On the CBI front, I want to state that I have heard no specific or credible news about any changes or termination of the the program. Zero. And nobody will…until there is real news. There is always lots of speculation.
Here are some of my thoughts.
-we may see some regions or municipalities introduce quotas on the percent of foreign ownership. Sisli and Besiktas come foremost to mind. Perhaps Fatih and Esenyurt. Members from our team have openly heard Land Registry officials grumbling about foreigners snapping up all of the property. There have been precedents for these kinds of quotas in the past, in Istanbul as well as many areas worldwide.
-There could be an increase in the CBI amount. It could be a way of limiting the number of new passports being issued, while keeping the currency flowing in. This is a slippery slope, as any meaningful raise in the amount would likely choke off demand considerably. Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that this is likely to be a conversation topic amongst policy makers.
-It seems remote, but possible, that CBI buyers may only be able to buy from new-build projects. The government could easily come up with the fig leaf; Turkey is a seismic region. I put this a bit lower down on the probability ladder, but still probably a point that has been considered.
-They might also impose a quota on percentage of buyers by nationality. This would seem to be a desirable move from the point of view of Turkish society, as it is in a way, an immigration issue. This is standard practice in countries world-wide.
-Eliminating the family CBI. Again, this seems unlikely. However, there could be political blowback if it leaks out into the mainstream press that 15 family members got a passport from a 250K investment, especially if you throw in some fraudulent practice to spice up the headline.
I would be curious to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the above or other possibilities that I have not mentioned.

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KEITH’S WEEKLY PROPERTY NEWS MARCH 20-2022

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This week, I will spend a bit of time going over a few thoughts about pricing, as it is one of the most important aspects of my work. It is also the most challenging, as the sands often shift with rapidity, especially in a megacity like Istanbul that also sees no shortages of surprise events on the political, economic, and social side of things. The task of really nailing down sqm pricing is a constantly moving target. It also relies on using a common and mutually understandable terminology between the participants. I think we all understand what “prime” refers to, but when I use phrases – which I often do- such as “decent, but not prime”. It may get a bit fuzzier for the audience. We also have the “nasty hill effect” and the “Bosphorous effect” as well as a host of other determining factors. On the new build front, we have the often hastily put together and poorly finished “Mom and Pop” buildings, then we have the 3-4 star hotel like complexes or “residences” as they are termed locally. Then we have what by North American standards could only be called luxury or ultra-luxury projects. You have to understand all of these to really have an idea about sqm pricing. You see so often in the press realtors boldly throwing out numbers, often very large, without providing much context. One read, “20k USD for Kadikoy” without further explanation. In the end what he was talking about only referred to a handful of historical villas and an uber-luxurious high rise. Not very precise munitions and not helpful in the sqm discussion. But I kind of understand it; he was likely only allotted 100 words, so you cannot really delve into things deeply with that.
I think back to my days in Budapest and how precisely the agents seemed to be able to quote the average sqm prices. 1500 euros in the 5th District, 700 euros in the 8th District and 1500 euros for new builds (this was back in 2015). The only factor that would make the prices jump up was a river view. Otherwise it seemed to be a very staid and predictable market. Perfect for the Hungarians, who seem to love getting into the minutiae. But it made sense there; neighborhoods often seemed quite similar, at least from physical point of view and prices were in a simple linear equation involving inner ring (closer to river) and outer ring. After a week or two, you could develop a pretty solid and workable comprehension of the main points. And what I also liked about the realtors was that when you went to re-sell, if you were shooting for a bit of a spicy price, they would give you a good grilling, by saying, “Don’t you know that this price is high for the 7th? Do you think you are in the 2nd District”? They more or less stood their ground and acted in some ways as arbiters deciding on market price. One thing Hungarians and many ex-Soviet countries citizens do not like to do, is to work for free, even if they are in a commission-based employ. So, they would give you your estimate and you could take it or leave it.
Anyway, that represents much of Europe; staid, predictable and to a certain extent, logical. There is also lots of accurate data and everything is recorded in a precise matter, so it takes a lot of the guess work out of things. Finding a European apple to the Istanbul apple is a fruitless task (groan lol). I think the most natural comparison comes with some of the larger Asian cities. Yes, most of them are much higher-priced, but they offer a lot of similarities and might shed some light on maybe why when we say something is “expensive” in Istanbul it may not be in the larger global context. I suspect that is the case. Of course, we as locals, always make this kind of assessment, but I wonder at times if this denial of world-wide real estate trends serves us well in appraising the market. W from Tapei, wrote that not prime, but decent in Tapei can run over 10K USD per sqm. 20K in prime areas. 40-50 percent less for older buildings, but still 5-6 K in non-prime areas. Tapei is a city of 4 million. Much wealthier than Istanbul but likely a city with fewer HNWI. And intuitively we can assume that the ones buying the 5-6k properties are not high earners. It must be really hard also for young people to get a foot on the ladder. That seems to be the case almost everywhere. They are also the ones at the most risk. If they overpay when market is at the top, they will be wiped out if there is a crash.
B from Texas. but with a China connection, quoted similar prices for most Mainland cities with a population over say, 5-10 million. Of course, Beijing, Shanghai will be higher even. Everyone knows the Singapore and Hong Kong story. Bangkok may be a neat correlative. Similarities in economy. Undisputed centers of the country where wages are very different than in the hinterlands. Dense population and of course both EM. I hope someone in the group can provide some insight on Bangkok pricing as I do not really have many ideas and it is hard to find by google search; “decent, but not prime Bangkok” might serve me up a link to a steak house. Or maybe something less wholesome.
So, back to Istanbul. I will throw a few descriptors, qualifications and elaborations at you to guide you to where we arrive at the below sqm price updates as of late-winter 22.
Prime.
This usually refers to a handful of streets in these kinds of neighborhoods: Cihangir, Galata, Bebek. Nisantasi. Kadikoy, Etiler and a few others. On these few streets, you may be looking at as high as 5K USD per sqm. Higher still if a new build. Throw in a Bosphorous view and you might be looking at 10K. Therefore, I get a bit silent when someone asks me for a sea view place in one of the best neighborhoods in Istanbul with a budget of 250K. That really would be a one in a million and I doubt if you would find a realtor in town willing to put much leg work into that. Now, on the periphery of prime, it is doable, so do not lose heart completely. But sea view any time is tough.
Decent, but not prime.
This is really the portion of the market in which we inhabit. Usually within a few hundred meters of the prime areas in Besiktas, Beyoglu, Sisli, etc. A much easier entry level.
Prices seem to be edging up to 1300-1400 USD per sqm for unrenovated properties. Throw in another 350 USD per sqm for renovation.
Renovated places, done well, always seem to come with a premium and there are not many to choose from. They would start at 2 K in most areas and maybe would be a bit more in areas such as Mesrutiyet, Bomonti and certainly Tesvikiye. A reasonable swathe of Tesvikiye is probably more accurately categorized as prime. A few streets in Bomonti probably get that nod as well.
“Mom and Pops” starting from 2K. These can vary a lot based on the quality, with some edging up to 3K.
3-4 star hotel-like projects (Mint, Ressim Modern, Genyap Link) start from 3K and are on their way fast to 4K, where I feel they will run out of gas, at least for foreseeable future.
Luxury projects mostly start from 6K. Ultra luxury projects, such as Zorlu can top 10K.
The above might all be a bit repetitive for those who have been with me for a while, but essential for newcomers. Also, for the veterans out there, I think you will notice some subtle and not so subtle differences in the numbers, so maybe it is useful after all. I suppose you could consider it as a “report card” on your property. Teacher likes to give outs As haha. We have to accept that there will be a sprinkling of Bs, but we should keep in mind that not all properties appreciate at the same rate, nor do neighborhoods, for that matter. I assume most of us are looking at a 5 year time frame, so many of us are still in the first quarter. I do not see any cause for panic at this point. I am sure if there were, you could read into what I am saying. Apart from a reasonably handy Black Jack player, which involves less bluffing, I am not to good at keeping a poker face.
Properties will be distributed in meeting. If you like, PM me and I will send them to you directly.

We invite you to join us for:
#IstanbulInsights with Keith
On Sundays at 20:00* Istanbul time
*13.00EST/ 19.00CET/
20.00TRT/ 02.00SGT (Monday)
Via Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7931208182?pwd=ZndocVNmbXAyTE5uMnNscC9sK0xSZz09
Password for logging in: 1234
‘Just Click’ the above link and be part of the Istanbul Insights with Keith’s property market updates.
Every Sunday we will share more info about the best property deals of the week, market developments, followed by Q+A time.

for more information:
info@mybricksrealestate.com
Tel No: +905315823876

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