As cities grow, apartments shrink

April 12, 2007, Thursday/ 18:30:00
The demands of modern times and changing lifestyles are persuading an increasing number of people to move to studio apartments, which are more suitable for metropolitan living because they are cheaper and more convenient.
A couple of years ago the popularity of small apartments couldn’t have been imagined. But nowadays, the top item in apartment sales is one-bedroom and studio apartments. In the past people used to put their treasures in the largest bedroom for guests to view and avoid using the living room, but these days they tend to make use of rather than showcase their precious possessions. Everyone, regardless of economic status, is becoming more interested in smaller apartments, which seem limited when considered as living spaces. But they will become more accepted as they grow in number. While large apartments remain unoccupied, one-bedroom apartments tend to be bought before they’re even built. And it is no longer temporary renters like students, childless couples or those living alone who prefer such small apartments.

Small apartments are now treated as habitats that provide acceptable accommodation. The demand for small apartments is a result of socioeconomic factors, particularly changing work conditions, later marriages, more single people -- whether from not marrying or divorce -- less time spent at home, cheaper costs for smaller apartments and easier maintenance.

A three-bedroom apartment can be three times more expensive than its one-bedroom counterpart. And the rapid rise in real estate prices in general has prompted people to buy studio apartments. In addition, real estate agencies find it preferable to rent out small apartments as they produce a high return.

Many construction companies are only building complexes that house small apartments, and these units are often sold even before they are built. Ediz Giray, the marketing director for European Apartments, said investors prefer such apartments. Renters who move frequently typically favor one-bedroom apartments. “Those apartments are usually rented for short periods of time, and landlords frequently increase the rent,” said Giray.

Sabri Ateş, president of the İstanbul Chamber of Real Estate Agencies, said studio apartments and one-bedroom apartments have sold widely in Turkey in the past two years and that their prices are affordable for middle-income buyers. Moreover, investors do not buy one three-bedroom apartment but instead opt for three one-bedroom apartments, giving them a good return on their money.

Buy for YTL 60,000, rent out for YTL 450

In older residential areas like Nişantaşı, Beşiktaş and Şişli, one-bedroom apartments sell for around YTL 100,000. Studio apartments are more or less sold at the same price. Apartments built a bit further out from the center of İstanbul tend to go for YTL 60,000 to YTL 85,000. Rent for these apartments has increased from YTL 700 to YTL 750 in old residential areas, while units in newer areas cost YTL 450 to YTL 600.


It’s easy and fast to sell them

Ediz Giray -- marketing manager, European Apartments: As times have changed, so have the inhabitants of a typical apartment -- from a family to smaller units. Small apartments are most popular with newly married couples, older couples, working singles, students and foreign residents, and cost plays a big part of their decision. We allocated 25 percent of our last project to one-bedroom apartments, and all of them were sold in a very short time, but the three and four-bedroom apartments remain unsold. Small apartments are great for investors, too, because it is easier and quicker to sell small apartments. The rental income is also very good.

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Apartments utilized for accommodation

Selahattin Seslioğlu -- Regnum marketing director: These days we have smaller families and different lifestyles. We don’t have many guests who spend the night in our houses. People have come to the realization that houses are there for accommodation as far as their social and work-based lives are concerned. People spend most of their day outside their apartment. This has led to the development of restaurant culture. As the habit of eating out emerged, we developed the kind of lifestyle that exists in Europe and America. To buy a small apartment simplifies both buying and selling it. You clean fewer windows, you heat and clean a smaller space and you pay less for needs in common with other tenants. More than half of Astrum Towers in Haramidere are one-bedroom and studio apartments, and they start at YTL 49,000.

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