After a tumultuous 2016, the number of Turkish properties sold to international buyers increased 75% in September compared to the same time last year, a report by the Turkish Statistical Institution shows.
According to the report, released last week, foreigners of various nationalities bought 2,236 homes in September and 797 were in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis that has always been No. 1 for real estate purchases by foreigners and Turks.
“This latest data reflects continued confidence in Turkey as well as its foreign investment plan. Incentives such as the short-term tax reductions and VIP citizenship are attracting international buyers,” said Julian Walker, a Turkish property expert at the U.K.-based property website Spot Blue. “Given these encouraging numbers, 2017 could well be a record year for Turkish house sales to foreigners.”
This January, the Turkish government changed its laws to offer citizenship to foreigners who buy property in the country worth at least US$1 million, according to Turkey’s Official Gazette. It will also grant citizenship to foreigners who make a fixed capital investment of at least US$2 million, keep at least US$3 million in a bank account for at least three years or create at least 100 jobs in the country.
Out of all the homes sold to international buyers in September, Iraqis bought the most—383 properties, closely followed by the Saudis who bought 344 apartments or villas. Kuwaitis came in third by buying 160 homes, followed by the Russians with 129 purchases. British buyers were fifth with 103 homes.
The cultural similarities, proximities to their home countries and slightly more favorable weather conditions in Turkey have made it particularly attractive for Middle Eastern buyers, according to Mr. Walker.
The steep increase in property sales in 2017 may be attributed to the fact that 2016 was a particularly violent year in Turkey, in which a number of deadly terror attacks led to a 19% decrease in property sales to foreigners, according to the Turkish Statistical Institution.
However, “Turkey is one of the most stable country in this region compared with its neighbors,” Mr. Walker said. The relatively stable political situation is one of the most important incentives for homebuyers from the Middle East regions.
Of the Turkish homes sold to foreigners, 35% were in Istanbul. The city is now transforming by building new homes, and skyscraper projects dominate its portfolio, according to Mr. Walker.
“Istanbul is a big city and a big economic power house,” he said. “Istanbul constructors are also offering affordable long-term payment plans, which could likewise be attracting the eye of potential buyers.”
The next most popular destination for foreign buyers was Antalya. This region, stretching along the Mediterranean coast, has always been the second most popular destination for vacation-home buyers as well as expats who live permanently in Turkey.
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