The Turkish Riviera is attracting expat retirees from throughout the world.
Retirees seeking an affordable cost of living and unspoiled, white-sand beaches should consider the Turkish Riviera.
Usually overlooked in favor of more established Mediterranean destinations, Turkey’s coast offers diverse, beautiful and affordable lifestyle options. Many villages and port towns along the “Turkish Riviera,” as this stretch along the Mediterranean is known, are already home to good numbers of expat retirees.
One attraction is the very low cost, both of living and of real estate. Compared with other Mediterranean retirement options, Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is a bargain. You could live here on a budget of $1,500 per month or less, including rent.
For this low cost, you get access to the warm seas, white-sand beaches and 300 days of sunshine every year. The people are friendly and hospitable, and the lifestyle is laid-back and low-key.
Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is relatively unspoiled, although in spots along this 1,000-mile stretch, you can find sleek resorts and modern medical facilities, sometimes just yards from the monumental remains of ancient Greece and Rome. Turkey is a place where the modern and the traditional are dramatically juxtaposed, making life here at once familiar and excitingly exotic. In the North Aegean region, you'll find sleepy villages where life is traditional and quiet, while small fishing ports like Side, Belek, Bodrum and Alanya have been transformed into international resorts with marinas and trendy clubs.
This southwestern coastal region of Turkey was home to the Lycians, a proudly independent people whose imposing cities and famous rock tombs are dotted all around. This is a yachter’s haven of secluded coves, secret islands and underwater temples. Legend has it that Mark Anthony gave this coast to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. When you see it, you know that Mark must have been truly out of his mind in love with Cleopatra to give it away.
Not too many years ago, there was no property market in Turkey for foreign buyers. Not only was foreign ownership restricted, but the process of purchasing property as a foreigner was complicated. All that changed as part of Turkish reforms designed to ease entry into the European Union. Now your purchase of property in this country as a foreigner can be completed in a matter of two weeks or less, rather than the months it took in the past.
Property values along this country’s Mediterranean coast saw steady appreciation in the years leading up to 2008, when they, like property values in many markets worldwide, were shaken, though not as dramatically as elsewhere. Prices recovered within a year and a half and have since been slowly rising again. Despite this recent appreciation, Turkish coastal real estate remains a regional bargain and is expected to continue to appreciate in value for at least the next several years.
Note that some restrictions remain in place on foreign ownership of property in certain areas, including those deemed strategic by the Turkish military and archaeological sites. In addition, as a foreign national, you can’t own more than 30,000 square yards of land without the approval of the Turkish Council of Ministers. But these rules shouldn’t bother retiree buyers.
It also used to be difficult for a foreigner to establish full-time residency in Turkey. Like a property purchase, residency was a complicated, drawn-out process. Now it’s possible to obtain legal residency through the purchase of real estate in a much more straightforward way. Still, Turkey is best suited as a part-time retirement option. If you live here more than six months of the year, you become liable to the Turkish authorities for tax on your worldwide income.