Ruined Aegean houses going for premium prices
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
Growing demand for İzmir’s old stone houses among those looking to escape the stress of the city has resulted in a rapid increase in housing prices, making many run-down houses in seaside villages now worth as much as a luxurious villa.
İzmir’s rural areas have become a drawing card thanks to a temperate climate, clean air, lack of traffic, easy transportation as well as developed health and education infrastructure.
With a highway also set to shorten travel time between Istanbul and İzmir to 3.5 hours, real estate prices have skyrocketed in Urla, Seferihisar, Çeşme and Menderes and other seaside districts in İzmir.
Stone houses that have been abandoned by their owners in the villages are now fetching prices starting at 300,000 Turkish Liras.
The head of the İzmir Real Estate Agents Chamber, Mesut Güleroğlu, said investors in Istanbul were particularly interested in properties in Urla and Çeşme and that construction companies had launched many new projects in the two districts.
The fact that prices are still cheaper than those in Istanbul maintains demand in İzmir, he said, adding that stone houses had become popular around İzmir because Alaçatı, which is famous for its stone houses, had become a tourism brand.
Güleroğlu said poor houses in a very bad condition had been put up for sale at high prices, adding that stones houses in some of Urla’s villages that had walls but no roofs were being sold for the same price as a luxurious house in the city center.
A two-story stone house in Urla center that had been ruined by a fire was put up for sale at 750,000 liras, he said, adding that 300,000 liras were being sought for buildings that only had walls in the Gülbahçe and Barbaros villages.
“When looking from outside, these houses look like ruins, but after a proper restoration, we can sell them for higher prices. The restored stone houses have prices between 1.5 million and 2 million liras. Similar houses can be found for prices of up to 4 million liras in some locations in Urla,” he said.
Highway and Gulf project
People are particularly fed up with crowded cities, Güleroğlu said, noting that the Istanbul-İzmir highway would ease escapes from the city.
“Especially retired people prefer seaside areas. An important part of İzmir’s coast is protected as an archaeological site. We don’t have enough real estate to meet the demand. This is why places close to the highway have soaring prices. There is trouble in finding improved land for new investments in İzmir. Çiğli comes to the forefront in terms of high-rise buildings and Urla comes to the forefront in terms of separate houses. The İzmir Gulf project will also have an impact on prices,” he said.
Yeşim Yılmaz, who has been a real estate agent in Urla for 15 years, said the Karaburun peninsula was among the places where real estate prices were increasing the quickest.
She said most of her customers came from Istanbul and bought land and houses with the expectation that prices would increase even more.