Buying into history .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - Historic homes usually do not have flexible prices, especially in well-established neighborhoods. But a weak real estate market and the global crisis are driving down the price tags, making this a perfect time to snatch up a historic fixer upper.

The historic homes that line the Bosphorus in Istanbul have been host to numerous TV shows and movies. They are the stuff of Turkish legend but recently they have also been attracting attention from real estate investors.

Kandilli, Beylerbeyi, Beykoz, Kuzguncuk, and Kanlıca on the Asian side and Galata, Cihangir, Ortaköy, Bebek, Arnavutköy, Emirgan and Sarıyer on the European side are districts that host a number of historic houses. These properties are high in demand now as both foreign and domestic investors look to bank on the investment possibilities. With urban renewal projects and more awareness, some condemned historic houses are being made over.

These houses have been popular with the investment crowd, who work alongside architects on restoration projects, according to Retürk Alize Real Estate broker, Ayşem Dalman. "The number of people looking for cheap and broken down historic houses has definitely increased," she said. "There is a historic home, which needs only a few repairs and touch ups, in Küplüce Yolu Sokak for sale. This 2.5-story house’s asking price was YTL 350,000.
Homes like these now go for less: YTL 200,000 to 250,000," Dalman said, referring to the historic streets in Beylerbeyi. "It used to be that people would even settle for homes that were destroyed in fires and condemned. Places without even a foundation. These houses can be rebuilt according to original plans," she said.

"These homes used to end up costing the owners as much to repair as to buy, but now homes like that go for YTL 150,000 to 200,000," Dalman said.

Buy two for the price of one
It used to be that people who bought old decrepit homes would get to work on fixing them immediately but these days that is not the case, according to Dalman. "People are holding off on restorations, so that they can use the money they have to buy another cheap house," she said. "They are not going to restore the homes today, they are going to hold off for two or three years," Dalman said.

"As opposed to buying one house and fixing it up, these people are buying two homes," she said. "I have witnessed several projects start up like this. We tell investors, ’Because you have cash at hand, do not spend the money on repairs. Buy one or two more houses.’ You’re really buying a home you would have spent YTL 300,000 on for 150,000," she said. "Right now we are experiencing a ’whatever you can get is a gain’ type of mentality. Peoplo, who buy today and sell in the upcoming year, can really make a big profit," Dalman said.