When it comes to property investment, there are a set of things that people are looking for and Turkey pretty much fits the guide for a good investment destination. But what are they?
At the start of this year many publications predicted that Turkey would be one of the hottest property markets in the world, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. When it comes to property investment, there are a set of things that people are looking for and Turkey pretty much fits the guide for a good investment destination. Here are some of the pros and cons for and against investing in Turkish property:
The Turkish economy officially became the fastest growing in the world last week, its growth of 11% year on year beating second-fastest Argentina (9.9%) by some way, and third-fastest China (9.4%) by even more. This follows Turkey’s impressive 8.9% growth of last year, and indicates that Turkey is on track to meet analysts’ high expectations for economic growth between now and 2015 at least.
As most people are now aware, the EU is all-but crumbling under the pressure of a sovereign debt crisis within several of its members, namely Greece, Italy, and Spain, Portugal and Ireland (PIIGS) swimming in debt, and the latter two forced to ask for emergency aid from the IMF and EU.
Meanwhile Turkey let its standby agreement with the IMF lapse in 2009 and is expected to have paid all its debts to the IMF by 2013. Turkish public debt is currently running at around 40% (45% in 2009, 41% in 2010) of GDP, the limit to meet the Maastricht Criteria is 60% and the EU average is about 80%. And Turkey’s budget deficit is around 2% of GDP. This makes Turkey one of the most fiscally stable countries in Europe, although it must bring down its current account deficit.
Many foreigners have found a difficult time getting a mortgage in Turkey. The country endured a financial crash in 2001 and this led to a massive tightening in the banking system. This is both good and bad; because of these changes made then the banking system was able to survive the recent international crisis unscathed, and liquidity remained high, but it also meant that it became harder to get mortgages, especially for foreigners.
However, this means that now, getting a mortgage in Turkey is no more difficult for foreigners than it was before the financial crisis, and not a lot of countries can say that. In fact, comparatively it is easier for foreigners to get a mortgage in Turkey than it is for Brits to get a mortgage in Britain or Americans to get a mortgage in America.
Low, stable interest rates
Sure, low interest rates have hardly been a rarity in recent times, but in Turkey the low rate is more than a knee-jerk reaction to impending financial doom. The Turkish government has been paying down debt and reducing inflation for years, and interest rates were due to drop anyway. The financial crisis was merely a catalyst. Inflation continued to fall in Turkey until recently, so there is much less chance of a big rate hike; it is more likely that rates will rise gradually. So, for anyone able to get a mortgage in Turkey, they will get a great deal.
Low property prices, fantastic value for money
Turkish property prices are among the lowest in the world. On top of that price growth is steady at around 6% per year according to the latest data from the Turkish Association of Real Estate Investment Companies. Because much of the property available for sale to foreigners is new, the low prices make for fantastic value for money.
Although it has just fallen below 10% (Turkstat put unemployment at 9.9% in April 2011), Turkish unemployment is still too high, and the youth unemployment especially at 17.9%.
Tricky path to EU accession
France, Germany and Austria are just 3 of the countries blocking Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU. Many believe it is about religion, but most concede that Turkey’s problems with EU member Cyprus are far more likely to be the root cause of Turkey’s problematic path to accession.
Currently the EU is looking very shaky indeed as several member states fight for their financial survival and talk of disbanding, or breaking up the monetary union has even been heard.
So, EU accession may not be the must it once was, but many people still see it as the only real sign of economic and social stability, and others seek it for the freedom of visa requirements, either way Turkey’s problems with gaining access to the union are certainly a consideration in the cons box for foreign property buyers.
Border with Iraq
Turkey has a border with Iraq, but this is not as simple as it sounds. Where southern Turkey meets northern Iraq there is what can be called a buffer-zone. Southern Turkey is dominated by Kurdish residents, likewise northern Iraq is also a Kurdish territory. The Kurds want this zone to be Kurdistan and are fighting for such an outcome. This often leads to violence in Turkey, but not as often as it once did and never aimed at tourists or foreigners. Turkey is working for a peaceful solution.
While Turkey still has its problems, one can easily argue that the good far outweighs the bad.
With so much going in its favour it is easy to see why so many people are coming out in support of Turkey as one of the best places in the world to invest in property.