Antalya, land of the A- listers where you can still pick up a flat for £35,000

Posted on 14 February 2011

Date: 22/05/2009
Antalya, land of the A- listers where you can still pick up a flat for £35,000

How a tycoon created a property boom in Turkey’s budget resort of Antalya.

One of the gaudiest and glitziest parties of the year will be staged in what was once the budget Turkish resort of Antalya last week.

Mariah Carey and Tom Jones will be performing – and Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Paris Hilton and Monica Bellucci are on the guest list – for the opening of the £1billion 560-room Mardan Palace hotel.

Built by Azerbaijani billionaire Telman Ismailov, chairman of Russia’s biggest property developers AST, the opening will highlight one of the few major tourist destinations still experiencing a property boom, not least because Ismailov has plonked his own 40-room, £50million marble and gold-domed mansion in the grounds of his hotel. Property boom: Azaerbaijani billionaire Telman Ismailov has built himself a £50million mansion in the grounds of his hotel in Antalya

It is an astonishing investment in the resort, where more modest properties, with prices starting at £35,000 for a two-bedroom flat, have been rising by ten to 20 per cent this year – a strong market even when the 6.5 per cent local inflation rate is taken into account.

Real estate in Turkey has been booming in recent years, helped by a fast-growing population and a seven per cent growth in GDP every year since 2001. The Bank of America says that Turkish property offers a ‘safe haven’ during these difficult times.

Last year, nine million tourists descended on Antalya to make the most of a 35-mile stretch of beach that includes the classical site of Side and Belek, a burgeoning golf resort.

Antalya has been transformed into a cosmopolitan city of about 700,000, with a fascinating old town, ancient ramparts dating from Roman times and a pretty port, all of which are a big draw for the tourists. Britons were very slow to appreciate this area, whereas the Scandinavians have been buying here for years.

The great golf courses, cultural history, fantastic beaches and, of course, the prices, have been a big draw.’ Nor is it all new-build. There is a maturing resale market.

‘We were looking in Spain, but were put off by all the problems there and oversupply. We’d been to Turkey before and liked it and were amazed at the prices,’ says Phil who lives near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and flies to Antalya from Manchester.

Phil, who paid just £2,000 in fees, adds: ‘The flat has two balconies and used to be part of a hotel that has now been beautifully refurbished as individual flats around a central pool.’

A four-bedroom duplex apartment in Side, an ancient Greek city with ruins on the beach, can be bought for £100,000 and a smaller villa for £80,000.

Taxes and solicitors’ fees work out at three per cent of the purchase price, and Turkish bank accounts pay interest of between 12 and 14 per cent.

The Association of British Travel Agents said that Turkey overtook Spain last year as the most popular overseas destination for UK tourists, and overall tourism has risen 14 per cent to 24 million visitors, according to the Turkish Tourist Office.

With the continued strength of the euro, numbers from the UK are likely to go up again this year.

‘Antalya is the same flight time from the UK as Tenerife, but property is about a quarter of the price – It really is boom time here.’

Daily Mail 19 May 2009 (Abridged)

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