The Property Investment Market In Istanbul, Turkey

A Country Of The Future That Is Booming Right Now

July 25, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey: The property market in Istanbul, Turkey, is appreciating at rates of 15% per year and more; rental investment properties in Istanbul are yielding 10% per year and more.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The real estate market in Turkey wasn't hit as hard as others around the world in 2008 and 2009. Values in some districts of Istanbul dropped by maybe 25% at the height of the downturn (about the same as in Panama)...but in just a year-and-a-half prices had recovered. That rate of appreciation (10% to 15% per year on average) has continued through this year and is expected to carry on indefinitely.

Specifically, real estate values in Istanbul were up 11.6% on average in 2013, according to the real estate company in Istanbul I spoke with. And 2014 growth rates are expected to be greater.

Despite these impressive rates of appreciation, Istanbul real estate remains a bargain compared with other global-standard cities. With a starting market price of around US$1,000 a square meter, middle-class housing in the Turkish capital can be an excellent bargain.

That said, to put things into some perspective, the 11.6% average rate of appreciation isn't as impressive for the locals, as inflation in the country has been running about 9% a year. Still, real estate has been staying in front of inflation on average, making it a good place for Turks to park their capital. And I believe it'd be possible to realize appreciation well beyond the averages if you bought right. My real estate contact reports possible appreciation of up to 30% per year...again, if you know what and where to invest.

Foreign buyers also have to consider currency exchange rates. A foreigner who invested US$100,000 on Jan. 1, 2013, would have had an 8.5% loss in U.S. dollar terms on Jan. 1, 2014. On the other hand, rental yields in the 10% to 12% range could have made up for the capital loss. As real estate is a long-term investment, you can't worry too much about short-term currency fluctuations, but you do want to be aware of them.

Had you invested that same US$100,000 on Jan. 1, 2014, you'd be up 3.5% on the currency alone this year...and up better than 6% appreciation through the first half of 2014.

What's driving these levels of appreciation in property values? Inflation is one factor, of course. In addition, the GDP growth rate has been 4.5% to 5%. However, one of the most compelling explanations for why property prices have been going up as quickly as they have been is a big and growing local housing demand.

Half the population of Turkey is younger than 30 years old. The country sees 350,000 weddings a year. All these new couples want places of their own to live. And, thanks to a strong economy and relatively low unemployment, more of these young couples than ever can afford places of their own.

We witnessed this same phenomenon in Ireland during the property boom in that country. The difference in Turkey is that the Turkish economy isn't predicated on importing foreign business activity, as was the case in Ireland. Turkey has a population of 74 million (about 20 times that of Ireland when we lived there).

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How To Decide Where To Retire Overseas

The 21 Best Places To Retire
The Whole World Considered


July 24, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, will showcase the world’s 21 best places to retire.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

In these dispatches, I give a lot of virtual ink to Latin America. That's because it's nearby to North America (where most of our readers currently reside) and because it can be cheap and sunny (two things most would-be expats and retirees abroad actively seek).

But there's a world beyond these Americas that can also offer good weather and a low cost of living...plus, in some cases, some things you won't find here.

Asia boasts a number of the most cost-friendly places anywhere to call home right now. As friend and Asia expert Paul Terhorst puts it, "Everywhere you might want to live in Asia is cheaper than even the cheapest options in the Americas." Pockets of Thailand, China, Vietnam, and India, in particular, can be absurd bargains.

Living on this side of the planet, you'd also have access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches.

Your life would be full of the exotic, the unexpected, and the adventuresome. That is to say, the culture shock would be significant. For some, this reality is thrilling and invigorating...for others, intimidating, terrifying.

In Asia, as well, you could have an added challenge related to residency... though our Asia experts assure us that this is less true than it used to be.

An alternative can be not to approach Asia as a full-time choice but, instead, to create a retire-overseas plan for yourself that allows you to enjoy the benefits of Asia (super cheap and super exotic) part-time. Don't worry about trying to organize permanent residency. Stay as long as you can as a tourist and then move on.

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The World’s Top 21 Overseas Retirement Havens

Here's How To Decide The Best Place For You To Retire Overseas


July 23, 2014
Panama City, Panama

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Returning to the office after two weeks in Istanbul, Lief and I find our Panama City-based staff hard at work on two important projects. Our team is simultaneously finalizing our 2014 Retire Overseas Index (to be presented in a special bumper issue of my Overseas Retirement Letter, due in subscribers' inboxes Aug. 15) and preparing for our annual Retire Overseas Conference, taking place this year Aug. 29–31 in Nashville, Tennessee.

For both our annual Index and our once-a-year Stateside convention, the emphasis is on identifying and then detailing the pros and the cons of the world's best places to think about reinventing your life. I thought you might appreciate a sneak preview. Here, therefore, are the world's 21 best places to live, retire, or have the adventure of your lifetime right now...

  1. Argentina... From cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to Mendoza wine country...

  2. Belize... Beaches, rain forests, reefs, Mayan ruins, and rivers...
    plus one of the easiest places in the world to get foreign residency...

  3. Brazil... A huge, diverse nation boasting excellent investment opportunity and bargain beach properties...

  4. Chile... The ease and comfort of "First World" living, plus easy residency with little hassle...

  5. Colombia... A land emerging as one of the next great expat destinations, specifically Medellin, a European-feel city with a Latin American cost of living...

  6. Croatia... Affordable Mediterranean like it used to be...

  7. Ecuador... The most affordable place in the Americas to live well...

  8. France... The world's best health care...world's most beautiful city...and more affordable than you might think, especially in the secret "other" South of France...

  9. Honduras... Specifically Roatan...a white-sand-fringed island that qualifies as a top expat retirement haven in the Caribbean...

  10. Ireland... One of the world's most welcoming nations now has a lower cost of living and cheap real estate thanks to the recent financial crisis...

  11. Read more...

Money And Other Tips For Travel In Poland

Seven Things To Know Before Traveling To Poland


July 22, 2014, Warsaw, Poland: Poland is a land of exceptional history, culture, and people.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Vicki and I are in Poland, our first time here. We like the Poles. They seem to work to understand us and to accommodate special needs. They tend to be courteous. We've only been here a short time, and I could be wrong, but I sense that Poles are exceptional people.

In our travels through Poland (Warsaw, Krakow, and Przemsyl) we've had some surprises.

We discovered that first-class and second-class train coaches seem to offer the same accommodation. On our train from Krakow to the Ukraine border not a single traveler rode in first class, which costs twice as much as second class. Why pay double for the same thing? Bizarre. I must be missing something here. On a later trip we saw a first-class car that offered slightly more room, but I found it hard to justify the huge increase in fare.

Poland faces a declining population—not a fall in the birth rate but an absolute decline in the number of those who live here. Twenty years ago 38.5 million people lived in Poland; today only 38 million people. Reason? Emigration. Millions of Poles have left to work elsewhere. And few immigrate to Poland.

Poles have few children, also contributing to the population decline. A Polish school teacher we met told us she was fired because the state closed her school. In my experience public school teachers around the world have guaranteed jobs. They get transferred rather than fired. Poland must be an exception where fewer and fewer children leads to school closures.

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Travel In Przemyśl, Poland

Plan B In Poland


July 21, 2014 Przemysl, Poland Przemyśl, Poland, is a top travel choice for culture, history, and a tourist-free look at life in Poland.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Vicki and I arrived in town and checked into our boutique B&B. Before we could even start to unpack, the owner whisked us into his music room. 

"Concert tonight." Someone placed a glass of wine in our hands, closed the door, and left. The concert began, a music salon straight out of 200 years ago. 

Welcome to Warsaw, Poland. 

Only six of us attended the concert, and two were shills, I suspect, perhaps music teachers for the girls who played oboe and violin.

The girls, in black concert dresses, each played a couple of pieces, in turn. Then they both came up to play the featured work, you guessed it, a duet for oboe and violin (Bach). The duet brought the house down, although this was a very small house, as I've explained. 

Poles love music, it seems. Polish history provides a fair share of solid heroes, from Copernicus to Pope John Paul II and many in between. Yet the national hero, at least in Warsaw, is Chopin. And everywhere in Poland, musicians rule. We heard an impressive soprano in Krakow singing in a plaza. Vicki and I stopped for a beer in a pub, and the owner sat down at the piano and played show tunes. Construction workers doing repairs in our hotel listened to Mozart on the radio. 

Poles have room for other artists, too. Vicki and I wandered into a museum in Warsaw's medieval town square and learned it was dedicated to a poet. All over the country Poles somehow find money to restore and upgrade art museums and their collections and build monuments to painters, writers, and statesmen. 

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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.

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Investing in the World for 2014