When considering who buys the most property in Turkey, expect a global collection of nationalities. Once only aligned with Western governments, the Turkish government is now a global player for foreign investors, who capitalise on real estate and business opportunities.
Foreign investors who buy property create separate niches in the housing market of the world’s 37th largest country. Considering we have an extensive agent portfolio of foreign buyers who have or want to buy property in Turkey, we decided to deep dive into popular places, the growth in demand, nationalities who buy there, and reasons why.
Who Buys the Most Property in Turkey
1: Last Year’s Property Sales to Foreigners
To find out, we headed over to Turk Stat, the Turkish statistical information portal. Turk Stat collects stats on all aspects of Turkey, from education to housing. They publish monthly stats on Turkey’s real estate market, including foreign buyers. They say that in In Türkiye, 67 thousand 490 real estate units were sold to foreigners in 2022. This was a 4.5% share of the housing market.
Russians bought 16,312 housing units. Iranians bought 8223 real estate units. Iraqis bought 6241 real estate units. Followed by Germans, who bought 2705 units. Note Turk Stat uses the terminology units, which refers to residential and commercial property. The same nationalities are still leading real estate sales with the exception of monthly variants.
Note – The stats do not include land plot purchases. While it is rare for foreigners to buy a plot of land for farming purposes, some foreigners buy land first to build their own houses. The affordable land is mainly inland, away from coastal areas, and foreigners can purchase up to 30 hectares. Hence land sales are another option for investors.
2: Russian Foreign Buyers in Turkey
Russians are the clear leaders of top nationalities of Turkish properties. However, Russia and Turkey’s relationship is nothing new. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians used to come over the North East border for suitcase tourism. When restrictions were lifted, Russians headed to the Antalya region for their holidays. Granted, one may suspect that the Russian – Ukraine war is boosting the increase in demand, especially for wealthy Russians looking at advantageous property prices. However, foreign citizens of Russia will always maintain that decades-long love for the country of Turkey.
3- Foreign Property Buyers from Iran
So, whereas Russian buyers prefer the Antalya region of Turkey, Iranians buy property for different reasons. Many want to take advantage of Turkey’s citizenship-by-investment program, in which property buyers who spend 400,000 USD on the property and pledge to keep the property for at least three years can apply for permanent Turkish citizenship. In this scheme, most of the Turkish property market is government-approved properties in Istanbul. Hence most Iranians head there. Construction companies are rejuvenating the housing market with new, modern homes.
4: Property Sales to Iraqis
Iraqis come in as the third most active property buyers. Like the Iranians, most head to Istanbul for property ownership to become eligible for application as a Turkish citizen. Out of all Turkish cities, Istanbul is the most popular for foreign house sales, and even though real estate prices are considered expensive by most Turks, compared to European countries, they are still favourable. Once a foreign national has purchased a government-approved property, they will apply for a residence permit and Turkish citizenship through an investment program.
4: Sales to foreigners from Germany
Germans came in as the fourth most foreign nationalities, but this popularity might also be explained. Once again, like Russia, Germany has had strong ties with Turkey for decades. The recruitment of Turkish labourers to Germany in 1961 was part of a bilateral agreement between West Germany and Turkey called the “Anwerbeabkommen” or “Recruitment Agreement.”
The agreement addressed the labour shortage in West Germany during its post-war economic reconstruction period, known as the “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle). The German government actively sought foreign workers from Turkey to fill jobs in industries such as manufacturing, construction, and other sectors experiencing a labour shortage.
Many Turkish citizens, primarily men, headed to Germany as guest workers (“Gastarbeiter”). This marked the beginning of Turkish communities in Germany. Many eventually settled in Germany due to economic opportunities, quality of life and other factors. However, in the last decades, it seems that German Turks are returning to their cultural roots as many have purchased properties in coastal holiday resorts of Mediterranean and Aegean Turkey.
Turkish Property Purchases by Citizens of Arab Countries
Let’s look more at the top 20 foreign nationalities. There are also citizens from many Arab countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This demographic creates another separate niche of real estate investors. As mentioned above, many Middle Eastern buyers like the citizenship program, but when buying a holiday home, Middle Eastern nationalities have flocked north rather than the south or west like European nationalities and Russians do.
Instead, they find more cultural similarities in places like Bursa, Trabzon and Rize. Whereas European and Russian nationalities like the nightlife and beach scenes of Turkey’s south and west coasts, Middle Eastern buyers are more family orientated and also find that similar food tastes, weather and daily lifestyles are what they prefer.
Istanbul – The Most Popular Destination in Turkey
Most international and domestic house sales happen in Istanbul, the king of apartment living. Apartment living in Istanbul is quite common and diverse, given the city’s status as Turkey’s largest and most vibrant metropolitan city. From studio to six-bedroom apartments with penthouse views, apartments are prevalent housing because of population density and urban development.
Many apartment buildings in Istanbul offer amenities such as elevators, security, and parking facilities, and the luxury apartments also include facilities like fitness centres, swimming pools, and communal facilities. The availability of amenities varies depending on neighbourhoods.
Istanbul is divided into several districts, each with distinct characteristics and atmospheres. The neighbourhood choice will significantly influence your apartment living experience, as each area has its unique blend of amenities, culture, and lifestyle. As well as the city centre, Istanbul spreads out over the European and Asian sides and collectively makes up 39 official districts. Other popular cities for foreign buyers include Ankara, the capital, Bursa and Izmir.
Antalya – Queen of Mediterranean Turkey
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya’s beautiful climate offers stunning natural landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant cultural scenes. The city’s real estate market has grown significantly in recent years. It is a pure-born leader in foreign house sales. Antalya’s popularity for tourism contributes to the growth of local real estate markets, hence the demand for both vacation homes and investment properties.
The property portfolio is also diverse ranging from budget studio apartments to modern developments, traditional properties, and large luxury mansions. Coastal areas like Lara Beach, Konyaalti, and golfing Belek are particularly sought after for real estate.
Antalya’s well-developed infrastructure includes the ultra-modern airport connecting worldwide destinations all year round. The ease of getting there also boosts real estate growth. Coastal areas and city centres have higher property prices than suburban or less developed regions.
Why do People Buy Property in Turkey
Vacation Homes: Turkey’s diverse landscapes, warm climate, beautiful coastlines, and historical sites make the country an attractive destination for vacation and second homes. Many people, especially Europeans and Russians, buy residential properties in Turkey to enjoy their holidays and getaways.
Investment Opportunities: Turkey’s real estate market has shown growth potential, attracting investors looking to capitalise on property appreciation over time. Purchasing Turkish property means diversifying an investment portfolio. Real estate provides tangible assets less correlated with traditional financial markets.
Retirement: The pleasant climate, average house prices, average cost of living compared to many Western countries, and rich cultural heritage make Turkey an appealing retirement destination. Some buy property to spend their retirement years in a comfortable and attractive environment.
Citizenship and Residency: Turkey offers various citizenship and residency programs for property buyers. For instance, certain property investments lead to eligibility for Turkish citizenship or long-term residency, which benefits individuals seeking new citizenship options or more accessible access to Europe.
Lifestyle and Cultural Experience: Turkey’s modern amenities and traditional culture mix mean home buyers immerse themselves in new lifestyles. Buying property provides deeper connections to the local community and culture.
Business Ventures: Some investors purchase to start a business, such as boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, or restaurants. The country’s growing tourism industry and strategic location offer several business opportunities.
Family Connection: People with Turkish heritage or family ties may buy property to establish connections with their roots or provide a place for family gatherings. Some individuals also view homes in Turkey as long-term assets their heirs can benefit from.
Housing Market Factors: Factors like affordability, average house prices, favourable mortgage rates, and stable property market conditions may attract buyers who see the potential for capital appreciation. Turkey’s geographical location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia has made trade, travel, and geopolitics essential.
The Turkish Citizenship by Investment Scheme
Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet specific criteria, including qualifying investments and satisfying background checks. The applicant, their spouse, and dependent children can all be included.
Investment Options: The program offers various investment options, including real estate, capital investment, job creation, and government bonds. The real estate investment option is the most popular path. Just purchase real estate with a minimum value determined by the Turkish government. The property must be held for at least three years.
Other Options: Another option involves making fixed capital investments in a Turkish bank or financial institution. The minimum investment amount may change over time. Some pathways to citizenship include creating jobs for Turkish citizens to boost the Turkish economy. This option is typically relevant for business owners and investors who plan to establish or expand their business operations in Turkey. Investors can purchase government bonds specified by the program. The bonds are typically held for a certain period of time.
Application Process: The process involves several stages, including applying for residency, making the chosen investment, and fulfilling other documentation and legal requirements. After completing the acquisition, nationals apply for a residence permit and citizenship, which will either be approved or denied before the residency permit explores. The processing time for the citizenship application varies, but it generally takes several months to complete the necessary steps.
Benefits of Citizenship: Successful nationals and their families gain full Turkish citizenship, along with associated rights and privileges, including the ability to live, work, and travel in Turkey with visa-free access. Turkey generally allows dual citizenship, meaning applicants retain their original citizenship while becoming Turkish citizens.
How to Buy Turkish Property
Research and Planning: Identify your budget and the type of property you’re interested in (apartment, villa, land, etc.). Then decide on the location that suits you best. Research local housing markets, legal requirements, and regulations.
Find a Real Estate Agent: Working with a reputable local real estate agent is beneficial. They help you navigate the market, find suitable properties, and assist with negotiations. Browse their listings, and visit potential properties to understand the neighbourhood and property condition.
Due Diligence: Hire a qualified lawyer specialising in Turkish real estate law. They will review legal aspects and protect your interests. They will verify ownership through the Land Registry Office and confirm no outstanding debts, mortgages, or legal issues. Pay a deposit to secure the property while the necessary checks are conducted.
The Sales Procedure: Before proceeding, obtain a tax number from the local tax office, and open a Turkish bank account. Once all legal requirements are met, proceed with the title deed transfer (Tapu) at the Land Registry Office. The remaining balance is paid, and the title deed is transferred to your name. You’ll need to pay various fees and taxes, including property transfer tax and notary fees. Transfer utility services to your name (electricity, water, etc.). Take possession and start using your new home.
Use Our Agent Services
If you want to buy Turkish property and want to know more, our range of services will be handy. As a real estate agent operating in Turkey, we’ve helped many people buy property for investment, retirement, and use as a holiday home. Our real estate agent portfolio for Turkey also lists apartments and villas for sale.
Also, About Property in Turkey
Best Places to Buy Property in Turkey: First-time buyers eager to know the best places to buy Turkish may be overwhelmed by the destinations, from leading cities to small villages. From east to West, Turkey covers 81 provinces over seven geographical regions. However, before listing places where sales of homes to foreigners are higher, three areas top the list; the Mediterranean, the Aegean and Istanbul.
Is Turkey a Good Place to Live? Aside from being asked who buys the most property in Turkey, we are often asked if the country is suitable for living overseas. It is a realistic question because life away from beach bars and daily lazy boat cruises is always different. We are biased. Some of our team live in Turkey, a secular country and have done so for years because they love it. They now call it home in places like Istanbul, Fethiye, Antalya, Bodrum or the good old ex-pat British haven, Altinkum.