Owning Property in Turkey
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 with Turkish reforms designed to ease entry into the EU. 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.
The real estate market in Turkey wasn’t hit as hard as others around the world in 2008 and 2009. Values in some districts of Istanbul dropped by maybe 25% at the height of the downturn (about the same as in Panama)… but in just a year-and-a-half prices had recovered. That rate of appreciation (10% to 15% per year on average) continued in 2014 and is expected to carry on indefinitely.
Despite these impressive rates of appreciation, Istanbul real estate remains a bargain compared with other global-standard cities
In 2012, Turkey ended the reciprocity condition for land sales, opening up the door to international investment. The result of that was an almost overnight increase in property sales. Recently, accountancy firm Ernst & Young ranked Turkey the second-most attractive market for investors in its 2013 European Real Estate Trend Indicator report and Price Waterhouse Coopers ranked Istanbul number one for development prospects in its 2013 Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe report.
Property in Turkey—even in the most desirable Mediterranean resorts—remains affordable. It’s priced well below the cost of comparable buys in more established retirement destinations along the Mediterranean. Property prices in Turkey can be less than half the cost of similar beachfront properties in Spain, even in the most popular coastal spots.
Note that some restrictions remain in place on foreign ownership of property in certain areas. Foreigners can own land in Turkey only if Turks are allowed to own land in the foreigner’s country. Foreigners are limited to owning 30 hectares of land (larger tracts require special permission). 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. Restrictions are also placed on foreign land ownership in low population areas (fewer than 2,000 inhabitants).