House Hunter: 'I want to buy a property in Turkey, but don't know which developers to trust'

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Ned King writes: "I'm a financial adviser in my early thirties and, instead of ploughing money into a poorly performing pension fund, I have decided to buy property as an investment.

THE PROBLEM

Ned King writes: "I'm a financial adviser in my early thirties and, instead of ploughing money into a poorly performing pension fund, I have decided to buy property as an investment. I considered buying in the UK but, as I'd prefer to keep my budget down to about £100,000, this wasn't really feasible.

"Ideally, I would prefer to buy somewhere that I can use myself for regular holidays and that I can also rent out to get some income. I would prefer somewhere where the summer is nice and long, preferably stretching from March to October. I've visited Turkey several times - I've been to Marmaris and Bodrum - and am wondering if this country is a good place to invest.

"I also wonder if it would be worth stretching my budget if this meant I could buy a villa rather than an apartment. I don't know if rental income is substantially more for villas. I'm definitely leaning towards buying new-build. However, I have read alarming reports of poor building standards in Turkey, so would like to know how to ensure that any property I buy will be of a good build quality. I'm considering buying off-plan to make more money so this is particularly important.

"I would like some advice on location. I enjoyed my holidays but would prefer to buy somewhere that is a bit quieter. I would also like to be somewhere that has all the facilities European visitors expect. I'm planning a trip to Turkey but I would like advice from a UK-based developer and agent before I go. There seem to be a lot of new estate agents and developers setting up in Turkey, but it is hard to know which are the reputable ones."

THE ADVICE

"A steady rise in buyers from the UK has already established Turkey as the new Mediterranean hot spot and a real alternative to other overseas destinations for the discerning buyer. Unlike in, say, Spain - which is now pretty expensive - it is still possible to buy property in key beachside locations.

"With Turkey now in talks to become an EU member, buying property in the region is already being seen as a potentially shrewd investment. The economy has continued to thrive and property prices in some cases rose by a staggering 50 per cent in 2003 alone. Even since 1 May, some properties have gone up by seven per cent, and we expect further rises in 2004 as British interest gathers pace.

"As for Ned's concerns over Turkey's infrastructure and the facilities it offers, we believe that, while it might have been a problem two years ago, it's a safe bet now. Turkey also has its own building standard now, TSE, which is the equivalent of a European building standard, but we use only one developer, whom we are sure of. Unfortunately, there are people who are just looking to make money, but the buildings we sell come with a five-year warranty, just as you would get in the UK. We wouldn't recommend anyone going it alone: you will get something cheaper but you can't be sure of the quality.

"The season in Turkey is long, usually from April to October. Ned may also like to bear in mind that a new ski resort is about to be built behind Fethiye in the mountains. This could potentially bring in many more tourists out of season. Not everyone likes skiing, so if dad and the kids want to go but mum wants to stay near the shops, then everyone is happy and the holiday is more relaxing.

"If Ned prefers a quieter location, I would recommend Calis. On his budget, Ned could afford a three-bedroom, three-storey townhouse in a complex with a shared pool. He couldn't get a detached villa on his budget, but if he's prepared to buy off-plan and can go a bit higher, he could get a four-bedroom house with pool for about £124,000. It's a good price, and the key to investment is getting in early."

Alison Thornton works for Headlands International: 01933 353 3333; www.headlands.co.uk. All properties are via Headlands International

THE SOLUTION

Property one: Belos Vilas, Ovacik.

Price: £89,000.

Agent's details: A secluded development of 26 semi-detached, three-bedroom villas built around a large communal swimming pool. There are three designs to choose from including duplex and triplex properties, which have three bathrooms and two open-plan kitchen and living areas. The development is just off the main Fethiye road on the lower slopes of Mount Babadag. All properties are TSE-registered and have a five-year warranty.

Property two: Atlas apartments, Calis Beach.

Price: £72,000.

Agent's details: A small development of 12, three-bedroom apartments, set in two blocks, in the popular beach resort of Calis. The development is just 10 minutes' walk from the beach, and Fethiye is accessed by water taxi. There are landscaped gardens, a communal pool and parking, and all properties are TSE-registered and have a five-year warranty.

Property three: Karia apartments, Hisaronu.

Price: From £59,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Agent's details: A development of single- storey and duplex, one-, two- and three- bedroom apartments, set in 10 blocks, in gardens around a large communal pool in upbeat Hisaronu. All properties have large sun decks, fretwork screens, barbecue, air conditioning and central heating. Maintenance and security are available. All properties are TSE-registered and have a five-year warranty.

THE VERDICT

"I am very surprised to hear that Turkey is about to open a ski resort that is fairly near the beach. This could make a substantial difference to rental income as it would lengthen the season considerably. It's reassuring to hear that the season is in any case about six months long, as this would also be good for income, and I could then use the place myself in early spring and late autumn.

I take on board the advice about not going it alone. I agree that potentially this could be risky as it is difficult to know exactly who you are dealing with in a foreign country. I'm planning to go on an inspection visit to have a good look around some of the areas Alison suggests. I'll work on the basis that if I like them, then other people will, too."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail with full details: househunter@independent.co.uk

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