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        INTERNATİONAL REAL ESTATE

        For Sale in ... Istanbul




                                    Yoray Liberman for The New York Times
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    By LISA KEYS
    Published: January 13, 2009


    A TWO-BEDROOM FURNISHED PENTHOUSE APARTMENT
    AT THE POLAT TOWER RESIDENCE IN ISTANBUL


    Multimedia




                                      Slide Show
    A Penthouse in Istanbul


    $800,000

    This 146-square-meter (1,572-square-foot) apartment, on the 26th floor,
    has city views. There are hardwood floors, two bathrooms (one en-suite
    with a Jacuzzi) and a modern kitchen. The furnishings, included with the
    price, is a mix of modern and traditional Turkish styles: crystal
    chandeliers, Ottoman antiques and a piano.

    The apartment is in a mixed-use skyscraper in central Istanbul. The 42-
    story building (with 33 stories of residential apartments) has a fitness
    center, a 24-hour concierge service, a heliport and a fingerprint security
    system. The tower was built in 2001.
The neighborhood, Fulya, is on the European side of Istanbul — close to
Besiktas Stadium and the high-end shopping area of Nisantasi. The
airport is about 10 miles away.

MARKET OVERVIEW

The recent modernization of Istanbul’s residences — along with Turkey’s
booming economy and the introduction of mortgages in 2007 — ushered
in a property boom, according to Cameron Deggin, an owner of Place
Overseas, a London-based real-estate consulting firm that specializes in
Turkish property. From late 2004 through late 2007, property prices rose
— in some cases by 50 percent, in others by more than 100 percent,
depending on quality and location, Mr. Deggin said.

Foreigners can get financing—up to 70 percent — but most buyers tend to
pay in cash or obtain financing in their home country, as interest rates in
Turkey are high.Today, prices throughout Istanbul vary widely. Villas
along the Bosporus (the strait that divides the European and Asian parts
of Turkey) can be upwards of $10,000 a square meter ($929 a square
foot), said Keith Boyle, an agent at Beyoglu Apartments Real Estate. A
historic fixer-upper starts at about $500 a square meter ($46 a square
foot), while a nice apartment in a prime area with views can run $6,000 a
square meter ($558 a square foot), he said.

Despite a global economic downturn, Turkey’s economy is still growing,
according to Feroze Bundhun, managing director of CB Richard Ellis
Turkey, a real estate research company. So is Istanbul’s population, as
well as its demand for property. Though the volume of residential sales
has slowed over the past year, prices have not dropped significantly, he
said.

WHO BUYS IN ISTANBUL

The majority of foreign buyers are English, followed by a mix of French,
Germans and Americans, Iranians and Gulf Arabs, Mr. Boyle said.

Most foreign buyers seek property in Istanbul’s established districts
along the Bosporus, in Nisantasi and Bebek. In these neighborhoods, real
estate prices are often given in several currencies — for instance euros,
British pounds, United States dollars and Turkish lira. Many buyers have
either business or familial connections to Turkey, Mr. Deggin said.

BUYING BASICS

Foreigners seeking to buy property in Turkey must be citizens of a
country that reciprocates by allowing Turks to buy. An American can buy
a Turkish home, for instance, because Turks are allowed to buy property
in the United States.

There are additional restrictions, though they are largely irrelevant in
Istanbul: Foreign buyers are restricted from buying properties larger
than 2.5 hectares (6 acres) or in certain rural areas, said Ayse Ozcan, the
director of Acacia International Legal Services, a London-based legal
firm that specializes in Turkish law. They may not own more than 10
percent of the land in a town or a province subject to zoning.

Buyers should estimate 5 to 7 percent of a property’s price for purchase-
side costs, Mr. Deggin said. This figure includes a 3 percent stamp tax,
title and registration fees, lawyers’ fees (roughly $1,500), and the 3
percent buyer’s fee that many agents charge.

All foreign buyers must obtain military clearance. The process is
generally a formality (“I’ve yet to see one declined,” Mr. Deggin said) and
costs about $600, though prices vary by region. The clearance process
can take up to seven months, though for properties in Istanbul, it’s
typically one to three months, Ms. Ozcan said. Earthquake insurance is
mandatory for property owners. Prices vary, Ms. Ozcan said.

USEFUL WEB SITES

City guide: www.istanbulcityguide.com

Polat Tower Residence: www.polattower.com/eng

Istanbul Governor’s Office: english.istanbul.gov.tr

LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY

Turkish; Turkish lira (1 Turkish lira = $0.63).
        TAXES AND FEES

        Maintenance is $600 a month, which includes use of amenities. Property
        taxes are $2,400 a year, paid in two installments.

        CONTACT

        Keith Boyle, Beyoglu Apartments Real Estate, 011-90-505-581-6965

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