Pandemic drives Princes Island property prices skyward

While just a short ferry ride away from Turkey's largest city, the Princes Islands are a breath of fresh air.

Consisting of nine islands, clustered in Istanbul's Sea of Marmara, the Princes Islands are a largely car-free oasis. The largest island, Buyukada, has a population of 7500, some of whom work remotely, making the 1.5 hour ferry journey to Istanbul for work.

It's the growing numbers of remote workers who are pushing prices high on these picturesque islands. Princes Island real estate prices have grown by 52% in a year, making it one of the city's most valuable districts to live.

Sile, on Istanbul's Asian side, was a runner up with a growth of 51.8%, and Sariyer on the European side of the city came in third place, with a 37% price increase.

Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin said like a lot of social and economic phenomenons over the past year, the pandemic was behind the renewed interest in the islands.

"A high number of people are looking for alternative options to the city," Deggin said. "With more people working remotely, some are choosing to relocate to holiday homes in places like Bodrum. Others are looking for places outside the Istanbul city centre, which includes the Princes Islands. These buyers are looking for Istanbul property in quiet locations with easy access to the city for the odd meeting or day in the office."

He also noted that investors and lifestyle buyers were targeting other city-peripheral spots like Buyukcekmece, Avcilar and Zeytinburnu. "These places were already growing in popularity before the pandemic, but Covid-19 factors have given them a big push. This in turn has accelerated price growth, Deggin said.

"So what we're seeing now is a double-whammy for buyers: they're getting their bolthole away from the city, while also investing wisely in a property that will see decent capital growth."

Deggin doesn't see demand slowing any time soon.

"We're looking at long-haul pandemic conditions. While central Istanbul will always be popular, this means a steady flow of buyers looking outwards from the city and for new horizons."


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