… Istanbul is the top investment market for two years running (2010-2012) …
— pwc & ULI / Trends in Real Estate Report 2012
Istanbul bears the characteristic of being the capital city of three Great Empires and she is also one of the few cities which has been the center of the country’s economic life. Although the city did not become the political capital for the new Republic, established in 1923, it has always been one of the country’s economic centers and has never lost its status as the capital predestined for the country.
When we glance at the city’s economy and working-occupational-professional life, Istanbul generates about 23% of Turkey’s Gross National Product (GNP). Its annual contribution to the state budget is about 40%. On the other hand, the city’s share of government expenditures has remained roughly 7-8%.
The headquarters of all private banks, and 21% of the total number of bank branches in Turkey, are located in Istanbul. Istanbul has a central importance in both domestic and international trade. The added value created in Istanbul, reaches 26.5 percent of provincial total added value, and trade is the second most important sector in Istanbul after industry. In Turkey, 27% of the general added value created in the commercial sector is created by Istanbul. Istanbul is, at the same time the most important export and import gate of Turkey. Exports from Istanbul make up 46% of Turkey’s total, imports into Istanbul make up 40% of Turkey’s total.
Istanbul has at hand a great chance thanks to its being the center of tourism and the location of a convention center. The number of foreign tourists visiting Istanbul has reached 8 million in 2011. One-fourth of the city’s hotels are owned by five star hotels, and almost one-fifth are owned by four star hotels.
Furthermore, 14 of the 153 museums located Turkey are found in Istanbul, and 34% of the two million four hundred thousand pieces on display are exhibited in Istanbul.
Istanbul is also the center of the country’s air transport industry. Along with Atatürk Airport, Sabiha Gökçen Airport is located in Pendik on the Anatolian side of the city.
New sectors in the city, such as finance, tourism, service, banking as well as head offices have been substituted for industry in recent years. On the other hand, despite the situation in industry, the heart beat of money markets continues to grow in Istanbul. Due to its geographical location, the first four hours of the business day overlap with Asian countries and the other four hours with European countries. Because of its unique location, Istanbul has become a natural financial center for the entire region.
Today, 35% of collected deposits and 33% of credit used in Turkey occurs in Istanbul. In addition, almost all insurance companies operating in the country are located in Istanbul. The Istanbul International Stock Exchange Free Zone, based in Istanbul, has experienced an exponential growth among the globally known Stock Markets in the world. Moreover, there is a gold market in Istanbul in which gold bars are traded freely. The city forges ahead in becoming a financial center, especially in the domains of leasing, factoring companies, private financial institution, etc.
Istanbul will continue to accelerate the pace of becoming a financial center associated with liberalized financial markets and active stock markets. With the decision of moving the Turkish Central Bank from Ankara to Istanbul, it is expected to turn the city of Istanbul into an important world financial center. The main objective is to turn Istanbul into a head office of the financial centre of the world.
Living in Istanbul
An increasing number of people from various parts of the world are moving to Turkey to start a new life, to work or even to find peace of mind for their retirements.
The country has developed dramatically in the last ten years and the pace of progress in certain fields is nothing short of astonishing. Most of Turkey’s new residents hail from countries like the UK, Germany, Russia, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Qatar. With its unique geographical location combined with a rich and diverse history, right in the cradle of many different civilizations, Turkey is a privileged place to live for expatriates and their families.
From flats in urban centers to villas in suburbs, there are a multitude of options to choose from when looking for housing in Turkey. Major metropolitan areas have the most modern and complete environment for an extravagant life in the city, where luxurious residence complexes offer all the daily amenities such as private security, kindergartens, sports complexes, social facilities, parking lots and shopping malls for their residents.
The introduction of the Mortgage Law in 2007 enabled even easier financing and took the Turkish realty sector to new levels.
Turkey’s significance on the world finance stage is on the rise. The financial capital of the country, Istanbul, with its rich and vibrant economy, is now slated to become a World Finance Center. The country’s banking industry demonstrated remarkable resilience to the effects of the global financial crisis without any government backing, and Turkish banks are now regarded as the soundest in Europe. With service quality matching and exceeding international standards, Turkish banks are widely acclaimed as being fast integrators of technology into their services. Many foreign banks either operate directly in the country or entered the market via mergers and share acquisitions, providing services in all aspects of banking to individuals and investors alike.
A wide range of insurance services and products are available for both individuals and corporations with very competitive premium rates.
Area (Total) 5 512 km2 Population: 12 573 836 (Male 6 291 000, Female 6 282 073) Density: 2 400/ km2 Number of Residential Buildings: 2 291 228 ( 308 615 unoccupied) Total Number of Mosques: 3 028 Total Number of Churches: 40 Total Number of Synagogue:16 Forested Land: [216 392 ha. East Side 100 398 (46 %), West side 115 994 ha. (54%)] Total Number of Vehicles: 2 441 667 (2007) Total Number of Primary and High Schools:2 707 Total Number of Students: 2 323 628 (Both Primary and High Schools) Total Number of University: 29 Total Number of Hospitals: 200 Total Number of Pharmacies: 3852 Total Number of Tourists: 6 453 582 (2007) Total Number of Tourıst Accommodation Establishments: 341 Total Number of Entertainment Establishments: 405 Contribution to Capital Budget: 40% Foreign Currency Inflow: 3 820 386 391 TL Percentage in Gross National Product: 23% Total Deposit in Turkish Banking System: 25%.