A cruise along the Bosphorus is a feast for the senses. On a sunny day, there’s much to take in on the sparkling waterway dividing Europe and Asia. Small fishing boats, slow-moving cargo ships, passenger ferries and the calls of swooping gulls remind you that Istanbul's activity isn't confined to its busy streets.
And dotted along the shore, there’s the magnificent yalis, the mansions erected during the Ottoman era, incredible structures with the shore at their feet and the weight of history on their shoulders.
Cameron Deggin shields his eyes against the late summer sunshine and points out some of the most striking homes, relaying historical facts and identifying unique features.
“Beautiful, aren’t they? That one was built by a cousin to the last Sultan; it’s worth at least $20 million.”
Read more: the magnificent yali mansions of Istanbul
A slice of history
Istanbul’s surviving yali are important historical landmarks. The oldest surviving yali was built in 1699, and can still be seen in Kanlica.
Across the shore on the European side, the most expensive yali is Erbilgin Yalisi. In 2007, Forbes magazine declared this historic home as being the fifth most expensive in the world, with a price tag of US$100 million.
But while these impressive historical homes have an appeal, their faded glory is less appealing, Deggin says.
“The luxury is something of a facade: most of these mansions need a lot of updating to bring them up to what we’d consider a good standard today.”
That’s why today, we’re not stopping at any of these grandiose historical yalis. We’re off to look at a different kind of seaside real estate.
The appeal of the water’s edge
Like any city with the shore at its feet, Istanbul’s waterfront real estate is some of its most sought after. And like waterfront real estate in Hong Kong, Manhattan or Dubai, it generally has an eye-watering price tag as the decreasing supply of shoreline property squeezes demand a little tighter as urban populations grow.
Waterfront property around the world
"Everywhere in the world, all the major metropolitan cities I’ve seen, not only does seafront property never lose its value, but the real estate appreciates in value higher than any other properties," Deggin says. The numbers bear that theory out.
- Manhattan: Last year, a report showed that on New York’s Manhattan Island, the median property price is now $916,000. The median price for a one-bed apartment is $710,000.
- Dubai: As of December 2018, the average price of a home in Dubai is $760,000.
- London: A report this year showed the average property in London costs $576,000. An apartment or maisonette will set you back an average of $502,000.
- Hong Kong: The waterfront city’s properties soar sky high - as do its prices, with the average property costing $1.2m.
- Istanbul: In Istanbul, the average property price is much lower, with one-beds selling for an average of $175,000 across the city.
So it stands to reason that beachfront property in Istanbul is priced comparably. However, with urban construction continuing at a rapid pace, the opportunities to buy seafront or even sea view properties in Istanbul is vanishing.
But on a gentle curve of the Marmara coastline, in Zeytinburnu, just a few kilometres from where the Bosphorus opens onto the sea, you’ll find one final opportunity to buy reasonably priced seafront property in Istanbul.
YediMavi, the last-chance saloon
Deggin looks out at YediMavi, the new addition to the shoreline at Zeytinburnu. It's still under construction, but in its location right on the sea front, separated from the water only by the motorway, you can see its appeal right away.
The development, which is set to be completed in a few months, is one of the last remaining parcels of buildable seafront land in Istanbul, Deggin explains. That means one thing for investors: opportunity’s knocking, but it's also fleeting.
“The yali we just saw, back on the Bosphorus. They’re expensive and beautiful, but they’re not the most comfortable. This project, on the other hand? Here, you get it all.”
In recent years, the profile of new developments has changed. No longer just dwellings, where people sleep and eat, the properties are part and parcel of a lifestyle. Developments have leisure facilities like pools, gyms, gardens and even restaurants. They’re connected to metro stations and malls.
YediMavi is part of a new wave of properties offering the kind of services you’d expect at a five-star hotel. With concierge services, housekeeping, a gym, pool and shops, YediMavi offers everything you’d expect for a modern city lifestyle. And of course, there are the properties themselves. Beautifully designed, with smart home features and luxury touches like underfloor heating and built-in coffee machines, this is no typical apartment.
With only 600 units available, Deggin expects the project to sell out well before completion.
“It’s centrally located, it’ll have sea access, metro links and the motorway is right there. And of course, there’s the view.”
For investors, the development ticks plenty of boxes. Its facilities, and city connectivity place it high on the list for Turkish professionals. Its resale potential is also favourable, with mid-term gains obtainable by on-selling to one of the growing number of Turks looking for real estate within cooee of the city centre.
Every property in the development will enjoy sweeping sea views, over the Marmara Sea to the Princess Islands, and of Istanbul’s distant Asian shore.
“It’s almost a yali view - but without the yali price tag. And with much more comfort and modern touches,” Deggin adds.
For more information on YediMavi, or other potential seafront properties in Istanbul, get in touch with our team.
Charm Blue - 5-star properties located in the elite area of Zeytinburnu in Istanbul, situated just a few metres away from the sea with outstanding views stretching endlessly. This is one of the most equipped complexes that you will find in the entire city.