By Justin Mays:
An interesting fact about Istanbul is that it’s the only city in the world where Europe and Asia collide. The city is known for its unique structure, natural beauty, history, and wonderful blend of eastern and western cultures. Sitting on the two continents at the same time, its geographical advantage increases its importance at the political and economic levels.
The strong economy of Istanbul accommodates all kinds of investments in all tourism, real estate, agriculture, commercial and industrial sectors. With the Turkish government taking measures to encourage foreign investment, the real estate sector in Istanbul is enjoying the highs. But buying a property comes with a lot of decision-making and thoughtful choices.
Investing in a property in Istanbul (residential or commercial) calls for deciding the property's location. It’s essential to decide which side of the city and which kind of property will be best in terms of the future, return on investment, and personal aspects of life.
The Bosphorus Bridge: Connect Europe and Asia
The Bosphorus Bridge, also known as “Bogazici Koprusu” is a 31-kilometer-long strategic waterway that connects the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea and in this way, it connects both continents. It’s the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world used for traffic crossing from the European to the Asian side of Istanbul. No commercial vehicles are allowed on the bridge and approximately 170,000 vehicles travel through this bridge every day.
Not just a route to travel, Bosphorus also offers magnificent views for sightseeing and pictures. The area around the bridge is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The scenic spots with lush green trees, colorful flowers, and diverse plants from the Asian to the European side are absolutely breathtaking. You witness a sight so charming, it will always be in your memory.
The Bosphorus Tunnels
- The Eurasia Tunnel: This road tunnel was opened in 2016 crossing underneath the Bosphorus Strait linking the Kazlicesme and Goztepe regions of Turkey. This supertube shortens the commute between Europe and Asia to 15 minutes.
- The Maramara Tunnel: It is a long undersea railway tunnel linking the Kazlicesme and Ayrilikcesmesi. This tube-crossing is one of the largest transport projects in the world inaugurated in 2013.
The European side of Istanbul
Some of the most significant real estate projects are likely to be found in the European side of the city. Not just that, foreigners too often purchase from this side and even reside there thereby, making it the economic pole of the city.
One of the distinguishing points of the European section is the presence of diverse real estate options; offering projects of varied sizes, spaces, prizes, and properties. You can choose your favorite view or a strategic location for the kind of property you want to invest in.
In addition to it, an integrated transport system is also available for the comfort of the commuters. The transportation lines cover and connect all the areas. This provides an ease of movement on the European side for both residents and tourists.
The advantages of investing in the European side: This side has an edge over the other side because of all the tourist attractions like Hagia Sofia and Taksim square. The main airports also have been always on the European side (Old Ataturk Airport in Atakoy or Istanbul Airport in Arnavutkoy). With the real estate businesses promoting properties on the European side, foreigners are more attracted to and convinced of it.
Here are a few districts to consider:
Being one of the well-developed areas on the European side, it offers ample investment opportunities to invest in luxurious and high-end properties. There are shopping, entertainment, and family centers that millions of tourists visit every year. You also get to enjoy a breathtaking shoreline to relax and unwind.
It's one of the largest suburban areas on the European side with the most beautiful natural lakes. The real estate in this district is highly sought after by investors. The area has many private and government projects with excellent capital gains and stable rental returns making it a preferred location for investment.
Known for its quality establishments in the health, education, social and entertainment segments, this area is one of the investors’ attractions. Supplemented with a clean environment, minimal annual maintenance, and upkeep, the brilliantly constructed properties can bring you a massive return on long-term investment.
Esenyurt has enjoyed the progress of time. It's a developing region with a highly growing property index and investment opportunities pouring in. The real estate prices in this area are relatively affordable compared to other European regions thereby creating a high demand.
Located near the famous Taksim Square, it enjoys a lot of tourists and investor attention. It was one of the first areas to receive attention from the Turkish government to fully serve it with electricity, water, and gas. The real estate in the area is categorized by luxury and sophistication
The Asian side of Istanbul
Having discussed the commercialization and development of the European side, let's talk about the other side. Take a ferry, Marmaray, Metrobus, or a Deniz Taksi, or simply drive to reach the Asian side of the city. There are generally quiet streets with an abundance of greenery, cozy neighborhood markets, and lots of retail shops.
The air is cleaner, hardly any car honking, and calmness in the atmosphere. As you stroll down the streets, you find comfort and an easy lifestyle. The majority side is inhabited by Turkish residents and you will find fewer internationals in the streets.
The Asian side has a comfier and homely feel that sets it apart from the European side. There are more high-rise projects than low-rise buildings or villas.
The advantages of investing in the Asian side: The Asian side of Istanbul is a perfect destination for anyone who enjoys the green nature and the calm environment away from crowds. You can find numerous properties on this side like homes, apartments, shops, studios, lands, and residential & commercial properties at prices lower than on the European side. Also, if you love a quiet and elegant place from where you can experience Turkish life, culture, and traditions, then the Asian side it is!
Here are a few districts to consider:
Topping the list is Kadikoy where the traditional structures and advanced developments blend. The historic structure, the modern advancements, and the apartments in this area are more contemporary than anywhere on the Asian side. The availability of transportation that takes you to the central city makes it a good choice.
Offering a wide range of apartments that oversees the gorgeous shore of the great Bosporus, Uskudar is another important district. Due to a good education and health structure in the area, the real estate investment here is constantly rising.
On the gorgeous Bosphorus's doorstep is the Beykoz area where you can relax and enjoy the stunning shoreline. The impressive transportation system connects you to the neighboring areas. It's one of the fastest developing places in Istanbul with an affordable cost of living.
It is a large and green district with the presence of schools, universities, shopping centers, and hospitals. The aesthetic area offers a wide range of housing projects with a larger space due to less population. It's one of the most distinctive and progressive areas of the Asian side for financial gains.
This district between Maltepe and Pendik has a long coast that overlooks the Princess Islands. There are many restaurants and cafes in the vicinity that offer excellent Turkish and international food. You'll find multiple luxury apartments and shops on the coast. Investing in Kartal has the potential to fetch a fantastic return on investment and long-term gains.
Which side of Istanbul is best for investing?
While the European side offers an impressive shoreline and many fun activities for family time and the Asian side offers nature, peace, and beauty. Where to invest in Istanbul entirely depends on your lifestyle choices. Whether you wish to be in a touristy place or a calm one, what your purpose for investing is, and for how long do you wish to be there? Here are some differentiators one must know between choosing either side:
The Asian side has a majority of local people and feels more relaxed with less crowd. The European side is more of a business center with a lot of residents, investors, and tourists.
As discussed, the European side has a lot to offer to the tourists and hence, heavy footfall. This side is all about trade and tourism. The Asian side, however, is greener and less touristy. Not many tourists come this way.
Parties and nightlife
The European side is more "western" in terms of entertainment and nightlife. Whereas the Asian side mostly has university campuses and shopping malls.
The European side is the most developed part of Istanbul with modern infrastructure, real estate projects, rapid metro lines, tourist spots, investment opportunities, commercial markets, and fancy malls. The Asian side is not even close to being as developed as the European in terms of infrastructure and foreign investment opportunities.
The European side has the city's two-thirds population with banks, stores, and companies. The Asian side feels calm with wide boulevards, greenery, and fewer hotels and tourist attractions.
When the question is “Asian or European side?” many people will be biased to one side. Those who don’t want traffic and hustle and bustle would say Asian and those who prefer westernization would say European. The priority is finding the right property. It should not be the location but the choice of property that will make your life comfortable because you’re going to spend all that to get convenience in life. There are homes, projects, and dreams on both the sides but one must choose what suits their desires best.
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