Many real estate investors want to buy a spacious villa in one of the quiet villages in the beautiful and vast Turkish countryside. Moving to an attractive small village on the lands of Anatolia seems to be an exciting transformation from city life, with all its complexities and commitments, to a quiet country life. We review the most important elements and basics that should be considered when a foreigner makes the decision to live and settle in a Turkish village.
To answer this question, it should be noted that the Turkish real estate market in the countryside and the city includes 3 main areas:
1- City centres: Real estate investors tend to invest in city centres where commercial activities are concentrated, the headquarters of major companies and government institutions, and where real estate prices are witnessing rapid growth.
2- Peri-urban areas: are the neighbourhoods that were rural areas, and then covered by urban regulatory schemes. These areas attract investors' attention due to the expected increase in real estate prices in them, as prices are initially cheap, then prices rise when they enter turn into urban planning areas and get access to services and transportation, especially the areas where the Turkish government begins to establish huge vital projects such as airports, bridges and tunnels.
3- Rural areas: Real estate investors tend to invest in the countryside, where they buy lands for agricultural investment, or private residential villas, or permanent or vacation homes.
Which is more profitable: buying a property in the countryside or in the city centre?
Prices vary widely between the city and the countryside, as the price of an apartment in the centre of Istanbul is equal to the price of a villa in its suburbs or in the nearby countryside. This fact encouraged real estate developers to establish residential complexes and high-end villas in the villages and major cities near Istanbul. These villas enjoy the highest standards and include private pools and integrated services.
How does living in a Turkish village look like for foreigners?
While Turkey may be better known for its magnificent city of Istanbul and popular Riviera-esque holiday destinations, the majority of the country’s 81 provinces consist of villages or neighborhoods that were once designated as such. While there used to be almost 35,000 villages in Turkey, as of changes made in 2014, there are now officially 18,291 throughout the country. The changes were made according to population increases, thus turning any village with over 2,000 people a neighborhood. Meanwhile, there are only 30 metropolitan municipalities, hence the figures alone show that with tens of thousands of villages still in existence, small town tradition and customs are still very much prevalent throughout Turkey and therefore, there are a number of nuances that are best to be familiar with as a foreigner.
Finding a home in a Turkish village
The very first step in looking for a house to rent or buy in a village is to pay a visit to the muhtar. The muhtar is the locally-elected official who is in charge, for the most part, and certainly informed of all of the ongoings in the village. In some places, they have their own offices, while in others paying a visit to local shops called “bakkal” or “kahve” (also called kahvehane or kıraathane), which are the traditional cafes tucked into most village squares, would also be a way to track down the muhtar. When looking for housing availability, you can ask both the muhtar as well as the proprietors and patrons of the village’s local establishments as is many times the case, someone will know of something for rent or to buy and as per the Turkish custom of hospitality, they may even offer to take you on a tour of said properties themselves. Don’t expect to find properties listed on websites online, as per the village tradition most property transactions are done by word of mouth and friends of friends and so you really have to do the lay work and actually wander around the area you want to discover more about.
While villages may seem secluded and close-knit, you will find that they represent the absolute epitome of the hospitality the Turks are famed for. Often just sitting down for tea or coffee with a few locals is all you need to gain the information you seek on homes and availability. If you are able to, you should try to accept any invitations as it will undoubtedly open doors and in many cases lead to gifts. Turks are happy to share their bounty and villagers especially love to gift their painstakingly prepared products such as tea, cheese, olives or fruits and vegetables. As a foreigner, you can accept gratefully and know that it is their custom to do so and gifting comes from the bottom of their heart. It is always best to respect their way of life and traditions and to not complain if the homes you see do not comply to the standards you are accustomed to. While you may see a home in shambles, to a fellow villager it may have been built by the hands of a loved one once upon a time and thus may hold a very special place in their hearts.
Self sustainable life
Similarly, one should not expect the same standards of living as in cities or possibly other villages abroad. In Turkey, farming and husbandry are still very much prevalent in rural areas and while some may operate full-on farms, other households may have just a handful of cattle that they care for to suffice for the dairy products and whatnot that they need for their household. Thus, letting cows, sheep and especially chickens wander around freely is par for the course. Many of the animals are used to finding their own way home and thus your potential domicile may very well be on their route and flocks of sheep or goats can also cause traffic jams at crucial hours. Be aware, be calm, be kind and be grateful for this slow way of life, but don’t be surprised and don’t try to change it to suit yourself or international standards as this is a unique way of living and who is to say what is the right or wrong way to live in this day and age.
Coronavirus affects the property selection process between the city and the countryside
In December 2020, Istanbul was home to 56,000 fewer people than in 2019, when the population was 15.5 million. This marked the first time since 2000 that the population in the financial hub and probably most famous city of Turkey decreased.
This decrease might have something to do with the coronavirus pandemic, at least partly. A large number of people living in big cities “fled” to smaller towns, mostly in the countryside, early in the summer of 2020, after intercity travel restrictions were lifted. Istanbul, a hot spot of coronavirus cases, saw its fair share of departures. Although some residents of the city preferred the faraway western suburbs, the majority headed to the south where vacation resort towns are located.
The Coronavirus had a significant and visible impact on the real estate selection process in Turkey. Real estate investors’ demand to move to rural areas in Turkey increased after coronavirus crisis. It has been noted that investors are turning their attention to the rural areas of European Istanbul, such as Silivri, Catalca, Arnavutkoy, and to areas such as Sile in the Asian section; there has also been a marked increase in the demand for real estate in small towns with expanding countryside, such as Kocaeli, Yaloca, Izmit, Sabanca, Sakarya.
This shift from city-to-countryside by real estate investers during the coronavirus epidemic is due to people seeking to move away from urban congestion, which is usually a symptom of constant intermingling. Hence the possibility of greater transmission and spread of infection, which has led them to aim for open areas in rural areas with green spaces, in search of an atmosphere that ensures the greatest possible degree of application of healthy social separation rules.
Comparing the advantages of city life and village life in Turkey
Advantages of living in Turkish villages
· Competitive home prices compared to city centre
· Simple life away from the complexities of cities
· Quiet life away from the noise of cars, machines and factories
· A healthy rural lifestyle where healthy food habits such as eating fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy, cheese and meat, away from fast food.
Disadvantages of village life in Turkey
· Lack of amenities and the features of modern and luxurious life in some rural areas compared to cities.
· Scarcity of jobs in the countryside compared to the cities, which may increase the unemployment rate.
· Lack of schools and universities in many rural areas, especially international schools and universities, compared to cities.
· Lack of health services and large specialized hospitals compared to cities.
Akarkom International is your partner in choosing the most suitable property
The team of real estate consultants in Akarkom International helps you in the search for the optimal real estate investment in Turkey in general and in Istanbul in particular. Where you can choose from a list of 200 projects, apartments and luxury villas in Istanbul and in the nearby villages and tourist areas, and enjoy a distinctive sea view. If you want to take advantage of the advantages of living in the Turkish countryside and get a comfortable villa in the countryside for retirement or for vacations, do not hesitate to contact our real estate consultants to provide you with the most appropriate options for apartments, farms and rural villas guaranteed by the Turkish government.
Edited by Akarkom from Daily Sabah