A report by Turk Stat, the country’s National Statistic Institution says overseas property buyers in Turkey reached record levels for 2018. In 2018, Turkey’s economy suffered turbulent times, but foreigners flocked to take advantage of a lucrative exchange rate, masses of availability and incentives like citizenship by passport.
While domestic sales slowed down because of growing interest rates, real estate sales to foreigners reached nearly 40,000 houses, an increase year-on-year of a staggering 78%. This is the highest number of homes ever sold to foreigners in one year. Sales boosted from September to December when exchange rates nearly reached 7 USD to the lira.
While the number of properties sold has surprised many, the top choice of destinations historically stayed the same. Foreigners bought 14,270 homes in Istanbul, Turkey’s economic, cultural, touristic, education and travel hub.
The city has expanded over ten years with certain districts like Kucukcekmece, Avcilar, and Arnavutkoy rising to prominent status on its real estate market. Investors paid more attention to areas that lie in and around planned mega-projects like the new third Istanbul airport and the Istanbul canal.
7,938 homes were sold in the Antalya region that includes the city centre and smaller coastal resorts like Side, Belek, Kemer and Kalkan. Alanya, an outskirt region received more interest than usual, not only from foreign house buyers but also tourists. Belek earns its fame as Turkey’s golfing capital while Kalkan has always been a destination for luxury villa sales.
The Bursa region rocked in at third place. Its rise to prominence in recent years surprised many because for a decade foreign investors rarely looked there. The last three years have seen it rise in popularity with Middle Eastern buyers who find many cultural similarities, a feature that more westernised Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts can’t match.
Bursa’s late entrance into the construction market also means prices per square meter are luring in the budget and first-time buyers eager to get their foot on the Turkish housing market.
With expectations that the current lucrative exchange rate will stay the same, many Turkish real estate insiders are predicting another successful year for sale in 2019. Daily Sabah Newspaper interviewed Nazmi Durbakayin, head of INDER, the Istanbul Constructors Association and he expects a record 50,000 homes will be sold in Turkey to foreigners during 2019.
As well as affordable housing prices, he credits a softening of government regulations in attracting foreign investors. As well as easing laws on standard military checks for foreigners, in the last quarter, the government dropped citizenship by passport investment levels from 1 million USD to 250,000 USD, a move that prompted 250 overseas property buyers in Turkey to apply.
The foreign real estate industry is not the only sector gearing up for a successful 2019. The Turkish tourism industry is also looking forward to hosting a record number of visitors from around the globe.