By NINA ROBERTS
STONE HOUSE WITH AEGEAN SEA VIEWS ON A TURKISH PENINSULA
$2.6 MILLION (4,653,810 TURKISH LIRA)
This two-story house is nestled in a hill on the Bodrum Peninsula on Turkey’s southwest coast, and has expansive views of the surrounding craggy hills, an international yacht marina, beaches and the Aegean. Greek islands are visible on clear days. The rear windows, sliding glass doors and terraces overlook the sea, as do the back garden and pool. The owner built the almost 5,000-square-foot house in 2010 using stones from demolished houses in nearby villages, and from the property itself. “She catches the soul of the area and mixes it with a sense of modernism as well,” said Heike Tanbay of Engel & Völkers, the listing agent, referring to the owner.
All the interior walls in the house are either plaster or stone — whitewashed or natural. Many ceilings have oak beams, and most floors are of cedar. The entrance is on the upper level. Just off the foyer through an arched stone doorway is an airy living room with a fireplace of polished travertine. Sliding glass doors with cedar frames open onto a stone terrace with a seating area and panoramic sea views. The terrace also serves as an outdoor counterpart of the dining room, adjacent to the living room.
The kitchen, sharing the upper level, is equipped with a gas stove and vent hood made by the German company Gaggenau. The kitchen island and countertops are marble, and the sleek dark-gray cupboards are custom-made. The floor is tiled with travertine, also found in the hallways and bathrooms.
Each of the two levels has two bedrooms with en-suite baths, their fixtures designed by the Turkish company VitrA. The pair of suites on the upper floor have walk-in closets and stone terraces. Every room in the house has been positioned to take advantage of the surrounding views, and the master bathroom is no exception, with a freestanding contemporary bathtub next to a window.
The lower level is reached by an oak staircase in the foyer. In addition to the two bedroom suites, the space has a snug study with built-in bookshelves, a TV room, and several doors to the backyard, where the 45-foot swimming pool has the Aegean as its backdrop. The 1.85-acre property has a separate 753-square-foot two-bedroom house for household staff as well as parking.
The house is a five-minute drive from the town of Yalikavak, one of many small communities on the Bodrum Peninsula, an upscale vacation area with many year-round residents. The largest town on the peninsula, also called Bodrum, is 15 minutes away, and the international Milas-Bodrum Airport can be reached in an hour. One of the peninsula’s three marinas, in Yalikavak, was recently expanded to accommodate super-sized yachts.
The covered living area on the terrace outside the living room overlooks the sea. Greeks islands are visible on clear days.
The saltwater pool has a view of the surrounding hills.
The foyer has a double-height window to the left, overlooking the Aegean Sea. Beyond the arched doorway to the right are the master bedroom and a guest bedroom.
The living room has cedar floors, refurbished oak ceiling beams and a travertine fireplace. The foyer and front door are visible through the arched doorway to the right.
There is a terrace off the dining room, seen through the window to the left; the living room is beyond the arched doorway.
The kitchen countertops are of marble. The oven, stove and refrigerator are made by Gaggenau.
The master bedroom has an attached bathroom and a walk-in closet.
The master bathroom has a freestanding VitrA bathtub and a floor of untreated travertine tile.
Turkey is experiencing a construction boom, strong economic growth, increased consumption, and rapid urban population growth. At the same time there is increased consumer borrowing and buying on credit.
Turkey could be in the midst of a real estate bubble, said the Turkish economist Daron Acemoglu, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I wouldn’t say a drop in prices is imminent,” Mr. Acemoglu wrote in an e-mail. “Nevertheless, it does raise the possibility that real estate is overpriced and is a more risky investment than many people might appreciate, and there might be a drop in prices sometime in the next several years.”
Mortgage interest rates are high — 9 to 12 percent, said Ms. Tanbay, the broker. According to Mr. Acemoglu, many buyers have their housing financed by mortgages, but the high rates are preventing further widespread borrowing, which occurred in the United States before the financial crash.
Lower-end properties on the Bodrum Peninsula are selling for a half to a third of their prices before the global economic downturn, while the high-end market is robust, Ms. Tanbay said. Luxury properties in prime locations near the seaside are selling 10 to 15 percent higher than before 2008. She noted that the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Hotel was scheduled to open villas and apartment residences in the Bodrum area in 2013, and that 60 percent of the properties were already sold.
WHO BUYS IN TURKEY
Residents from more than 110 countries can buy property in Turkey, said Ms. Tanbay, adding that many new prospective buyers live in Middle Eastern countries.
That said, most buyers in the Bodrum area are Turkish. But at Altuntabak Real Estate Agency in the town of Bodrum, there are also buyers from France, Belgium, Holland and, more recently, Russia and countries like Azerbaijan, said the agency owner, Umit Altuntabak.
Ms. Tanbay, the listing agent, says the Bodrum area remains a relatively undiscovered spot for foreigners, though she also sees buyers from countries like Germany, Britain, Sweden and Denmark.
A foreigner cannot own property on land considered strategic, or outside municipalities on land classified as agricultural. Every foreign buyer must obtain written permission from the military; the process, considered a formality, usually takes two to three months.
The purchase agreement is drafted by the real estate agent or a lawyer if the buyer chooses to hire one. Although most Turkish buyers don’t, for a straightforward residential real estate purchase, foreigners are strongly advised to, said Nazli Aydogan Kaplan, founding partner of Kaplan Law Office in the town of Bodrum. After the purchase agreement is written, the buyer typically gives the seller an initial payment of approximately 10 percent of the selling price. The deed cannot actually be signed until after military permission is obtained, two to three months later.
But “when you give money to the real estate agent or to the seller,” said Ms. Kaplan, “you should have some legal guarantee in the agreement.”