Exploring Bodrum, Turkey: An Ancient City Turned Hotspot For Modern Luxury Buyers

Real Estate

The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, is attributed with the quote, “The end is not obvious at the beginning.” Known as the “Father of History,” Herodotus was born in the year 484 B.C. in the city of Halicarnassus, or what is now modern-day Bodrum, Turkey.

Were the historian miraculously able to once again visit this dazzling stretch of coastline on the Aegean Sea, he would likely repeat this sentiment. After all, Bodrum’s journey from a Persian capital to a small town of sponge divers to what it is today—a world-renowned luxury destination— could not have been obvious to the famed author of the Histories at the time.

That being said, Bodrum’s recent designation as a location for upscale living and “champagne society” is hardly a mystery. The seaside town’s wealth of Blue Flag beaches, bright blue water and hillside landscapes have drawn comparisons to Saint-Tropez and the Amalfi Coast. What was once a simple fishing harbor has now become the home to exclusive beach clubs and megayacht marinas.

As such, in the last few years, a number of luxury brands have sought out the city on the southern coast of Turkey, including hospitality brands like Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and Edition as well as designers like Dior, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few.

Following this trend toward the high-end, the luxury real estate market in Bodrum has seen exceptional growth, says Mihane Sadiku of Antalya-based agency Best Invest.

“The property market has seen an incredible increase in demand, driven by both local and international buyers, particularly from the United Kingdom, Germany and other European countries. With tourism growing year over year and a strong rental market, we project the demand for luxury properties to increase.”

While Herodotus may be correct that, “The end is not obvious at the beginning,” with Bodrum’s ever-robust tourism industry, thriving cultural scene and expanding real estate market, it hardly feels like the end for the Turkish town but rather the beginning.

Homes in Bodrum

Although a comparatively small market, Bodrum real estate caters to a diversity of budgets and tastes, from more affordable apartments to high-end villas to land plots for development.

An expansive and largely elevated coastline means many homes are positioned with exceptional ocean views. To ensure this, planning regulations for the Bodrum peninsula restrict development heights to no greater than two stories, says Sadiku, adding, “This limits supply and results in increased demand.”

As a result of the recent surge in popularity and the rising presence of investors, a significant portion of the luxury market consists of newly developed homes. These new construction homes often follow modern designs with clean lines, open-concept floor plans and sleek exteriors. Common amenities include spacious balconies, retractable walls of glass and swimming pools.

Driven by the desire for residences with the resort lifestyle, many new luxury villa communities offer hotel amenities and facilities including on-site restaurants, spas and sea-taxi services.

Prices in Bodrum

“Prices in Bodrum can vary widely depending on the location, size and property type. Seafront properties and luxury villas in sought-after areas like Yalikavak, Gümüşlük and Türkbükü command premium prices,” says Sadiku.

According to statistics by the Turkish Statistical Institute, the average property price in Bodrum in 2021 was around $490 per square foot.

Over the last decade, property values have increased dramatically, with the total valuation of the real estate transactions in Bodrum rising from $892 million in 2010 to over $2.1 billion in 2020.

Vibes in Bodrum

While the comparison to other popular seaside resort towns in Europe is apt, it is not absolute. Bodrum possesses a distinguished charm thanks to its traditional architecture and ancient ruins. Most notable of these ruins is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which was completed in 350 B.C.

As its status as a luxury destination continues to grow so, too, has Bodrum’s reputation for yachting. The Yalikavak Marina, winner of the 2018 Yacht Harbor Association’s Gold Award, hosts superyachts up to 140 meters long from all over the world.

Lined with shops and cafes, the marina houses more than just boats—luxury shopping includes storefronts for Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior.

Bodrum’s nightlife is vibrant and popular, with numerous bars and clubs, including beachfront venues.

Surrounding Bodrum

The Milas-Bodrum Airport is located 36 kilometers northeast of town. Direct flights from major European cities are available, such as a four-hour venture from London and three hours from Berlin. Istanbul is just over an hour away by plane.

Dotted about in the Aegean Sea off of Bodrum’s coast are a number of islands, including the Greek island of Kos which resides 25 kilometers south.