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Early birdies catch the worms

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By : Homes Overseas    99 or more times read
Though golf has been in evidence in Turkey for some time (Istanbul Golf Club is one of the oldest in the world), it’s only been in the last five years that the sport has really taken off.

Despite its popularity, Turkey’s tourism industry is still in its infancy when you compare it to more established markets. As a result, golf is also in its early stages, though several glamorous courses have been developed in and around Istanbul, such as Klassis Golf and Country Club and the residential golf community of Kemer Country (at which villa prices have risen into the millions in the ten years since construction), as well as in key coastal locations.

The weather here may be the same as hot tourist spots in southern Spain and Portugal and the golf may be just as good, but there is one main difference. It is currently almost impossible to find property for sale in Belek that is actually integral to a golf course. Almost without exception, what are marketed as golf villas and apartment complexes will be outside course boundaries.

Usually it will be a matter of a few minutes’ walk or drive but some ‘golf’ property can be up to 20 minutes away. “In Belek courses are scattered around the area,” agrees Clair Walker of Turkish Homes, and properties are dotted in among them. It is different to Spain but Turkey is an emerging market and people understand that and are happy to buy there knowing this.”

Another thing worth bearing in mind in Belek is that some of the courses, such as the Gloria are pretty exclusive, only allowing golfers to play who are staying at their on-site hotels. Though there are plenty of courses to choose from it might annoy you if you’re buying in order to have access to all courses in town.

Of the nine courses currently operating, the two headline developments are both 27 holes: one at the Papillon Golf Club, designed by Colin Montgomerie and opened just last autumn, and The Cornelia by Nick Faldo. Both are getting rave reviews from the golfing press and buyers keen to play them are snapping up properties at less than a third of the cost of homes in other golf destinations.

Who can blame them? Prices in Belek start from under £60,000 for something with two bedrooms and a shared pool within easy distance of the main golf courses. Property that is larger, with at least three bedrooms and adjacent to the main courses cost from around £80,000. Turkish Homes, for example, has nice, modern apartments, 100 metres from Montgomerie’s course, costing from £85,000.

Similarly, the Augustus Resort, being sold by local specialist Nirvana International, is offering luxury apartments from £59,000 and detached villas from £107,000, all with fantastic on-site facilities. While Aquavista is another UK-based company that has had extensive experience of the Belek market; it’s currently selling apartments in the town from £60,000, with a wide choice of central two- and three-bedroom units available for around £75,000 to £90,000.

There are also several small enclaves of villas available through Aquavista, with three and four bedrooms and private pools, ranging from the very traditional in style to highly contemporary and costing from around £140,000 to £200,000. All have easy access to the nearest golf courses and superb beaches.

As a result, prices won’t stay low for long and are already rising at around 25 per cent per year. Investors hoping to rent should expect to get an average of 20 weeks per year according to Clair Walker. “Apartments should bring in around £250 to £350 per week, with villas renting from £500 up to around £700.”

However, it isn’t just Belek that is branching out into golf; last year the Turkish government gave permission for two new courses to be built in the Aegean resort of Altinkum, which is around 90 minutes from Bodrum. The planning stages are still being gone through but it’s hoped that the first will be completed by 2010.

Due to its distance from the airport at Bodrum, this region isn’t as traditionally well served with tourists as others, though it’s popular with Turks. It is, therefore, hoped that the golf, coupled with a new marina, will encourage investment and increase visitor numbers. Improvements to the harbour are also expected to allow ferries to run from popular Greek destinations such as Kos and Samos.

It’s anticipated that Altinkum’s profile will, in time, compete with Bodrum or Belek; if that is the case, it’s also possible that anyone buying now will get a bargain because property is currently so cheap. “Prices in Altinkum, can still be as low as £35,000,” says Clair Walker, who also sells in this area. “That will buy a two-bedroom apartment with access to a communal pool and within walking distance of the beach.”

Such issues are also reputedly dogging the proposed development of the Vita Park Golf Resort by Tuzla Lake near the popular and swanky resort of Bodrum. Two world-class golf courses, a residential development, hotel and recreational facilities are planned here but the site – a sensitive nature reserve with the only visiting flock of flamingos in Europe – is controversial.

In addition, Vita Park will be members only and current proposed fees are €15,000 (£11,300) to join and €1,500 (£1,130) per annum, which several agents doubt will appeal to many investors who can play courses elsewhere for less. Should this not deter you, there are some attractive, stylish new developments going up along the coast nearby.

One of these is Regnum Homes’ Bargylia resort, which offers chic, contemporary apartments and villas built onto a hillside, with wonderful sea views. The complex also offers a private bay, small beach and fantastic pool and spa facilities. Prices start from £59,000 for a two-bedroom apartment and the development is 25 minutes from Bodrum, with the proposed golf course site almost on the doorstep.

These properties are selling well and will make great, well-designed second homes. And should Vita Park Golf Resort get the final go ahead they may well, like other golfing property in Turkey, become even more sought after.
Laura Latham for Homes Overseas - Property for sale in Turkey information about buying property in Turkey, property investment advice and overseas property news.

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