Home to centuries old landmarks like the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, Istanbul is nevertheless very much a 21st century international business centre. It’s also home to Europe’s largest shopping centre, the Istanbul Emaar, with its six floors of retail outlets, 66 restaurants and 16 cinemas.
Istanbul’s economy has performed well in recent times, with growth averaging more than 6% per annum over the last five years. This has been driven in part by a booming construction sector, which saw residential completions 83% higher in 2017 than the 10-year average.
The fall in the value of Turkish lira against the US dollar may impact this growth in the short term, as imported construction materials are denominated in dollars and are effectively more expensive.
However, the reduction in the value of lira has also reportedly created new opportunities and lured international investors to take advantage of the perceived discount that a cheaper currency brings.
The increase in levels of supply has moderated house price growth, which was 6.1% year on year in October 2018, down from 16% year on year on average over the last decade.
Several infrastructure projects are underway in Istanbul, designed to improve transport both into and around the city and boosting the local economy.
Istanbul Airport is designed as the world’s largest, with capacity planned to reach 150 million passengers per year, expandable to 200 million. The first flight touched down at the new airport in June 2018, which officially opened in October 2018.
In addition, five new metro lines will open in 2019 increasing connectivity and easing traffic congestion across the city.
The Grand Istanbul Tunnel is a three storey tunnel for cars and rail that will improve transit times between Istanbul’s Asian and European zones. Now in its final construction phase, the new tunnel is expected to be completed by 2023.