Reciprocity Restrictions to be Removed in 2012, Boosting Foreign Sales

The Turkish government is expected to remove the reciprocity restrictions on its property market in 2012. The draft law is to be polished off by the Environment and Urbanisation ministry before being submitted to the national parliament later this month.

The aim of the law would be to open up the Turkish property market to buyers from a further 89 countries, buyers that are currently banned because their governments do not allow Turkish citizens to buy in their respective countries. This blanket currently bans buyers from Russia, Gulf countries and Turkic republics, although most find workarounds and loopholes in the system.

According to GYODER, the Turkish Association of Real Estate Investment Companies, foreigners purchased $2.5 billion worth of property in Turkey last year, a growth of 40% compared to 2009.

In 2011 many reports have pointed to increasing numbers of buyers from Russia and the Arab countries, with the latter showing particularly strong growth fuelled by the Arab Spring. A

series of uprisings, the Arab Spring caused political instability throughout the Middle East and Arab World. This subsequently left Arab and Muslim holiday makers and property buyers looking outside of the traditional favourites, and finding Turkey as a viable alternative. Russian buyers poured into Turkey because of the poor investment environment in much of Europe.

Whatever the reasons, we have seen incredible growth in property buyers from the Arab world and Russia pouring into Turkey. If the government does indeed remove the reciprocity ban, then we will undoubtedly see even more growth in sales to foreign buyers.