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14 April 2019 / Properties

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Turkey?

Foreigners looking to buy property in Turkey can take delight in this haven between east and west. The country offers diverse real estate options, from traditional villas to modern apartments for sale in bustling city centres. Buying property in Turkey for foreigners is an exciting prospect, but navigating the process can be challenging. This comprehensive guide goes through the legal framework, the Turkish citizenship by investment scheme, tips for renting as an investment, and other topics. Here is valuable information to unlock the door to your dream property in Turkey.

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Turkey?

Most nationalities, including US, UK, European and Middle Eastern citizens, can buy or rent property in Turkey. Out of 195 countries, only citizens of five cannot purchase and own Turkish real estate. They include Syria, Armenia, North Korea, Cuba, and Nigeria. For most, set procedures are in place. Hence, buying residential or commercial real estate is quick, straightforward, and accessible.

Some nationalities, like Iraqis, Iranians, and Palestinians, need permission from the interior ministry, while others can't buy agricultural land. For exact clarification, call us today. Over 180 nationalities can purchase property in Turkey without restrictions; the proof is seen in previous house sales and land deed records.

Nationalities of Foreigners Buying Turkish Real Estate

Turk Stat, the country's official statistics portal, says Turkey hosts many nationalities investing in homes and business premises like Russians, Germans, British, Sweden, Netherlands, and USA citizens. Middle-Eastern nationalities included Iraqis, Iranians, Kuwaitis, Jordanians, and Saudi Arabia. Of course, Turkey doesn't discriminate against home buyers, and foreigners purchase real estate in many areas of Turkey. Still, some are emerging as the most popular, including Istanbul, Antalya, and Bursa.

If I Buy Property, Can I Get Turkish Citizenship?

The Turkish citizenship by investment program and Turkish laws says anyone buying real estate worth $400,000 who keeps it for three years can apply for Turkish citizenship. The applicant must inform the title deeds office that the property will be used to apply for Turkish citizenship by investment scheme. After receiving approval, buyers will take on Turkish nationality and receive a Turkish passport. The first step after buying is to get a residence permit. Read more about the program here.

What Property Can Foreigners Buy in Turkey?

Most nationalities can own up to 30 hectares of property if it is not within military zones. Within villages or small towns, they and foreign nationals can purchase up to 10% of the land as defined by the General Directorate for Land Registry and Cadastre.

Both companies and people can buy real estate outside of forbidden military zones, and the transaction and handing over of legal rights is only recognised when the title deeds office has handled it. Non-Turkish speakers must use certified and recognised land registry translators. The land office accepts Powers of Attorney issued in Turkish embassies or consulates worldwide.

The title deeds office will not approve the transfer of ownership if there are limitations like taxes payable as local council debts or mortgages. Regardless of nationality, if you buy land outside of security zones to construct, the project must be submitted for approval within two years of purchase.

Do You Need a Residence Permit to Buy Property in Turkey?

No, but once you own a Turkish home, should you want to live in Turkey all year round, it's easier to apply for residency. The only residence requirement is that you can financially support yourself and have access to health insurance if you are under 65.

Recap - Legal Framework for Foreigners

Before diving into the world of Turkish real estate, it is essential to understand the legal framework. The Turkish government has gradually eased restrictions on making it easier for foreigners to buy and own property. In 2012, the Turkish government significantly changed the legislation regulating foreign property ownership. The Reciprocity Law was abolished, allowing citizens of more than 180 countries to buy property in Turkey without any restrictions.

However, certain limitations still apply to prospective buyers. For example, foreigners can only own 30 hectares (74 acres) of land in Turkey. In addition, they cannot purchase property in military zones or strategically significant areas. The Turkish government has also introduced new regulations that allow foreigners who invest in Turkey, including real estate investment, to apply for Turkish citizenship. This further incentivises foreigners as an investment opportunity.

Advantages of Buying a Property in Turkey for Foreigners

The first and most significant benefit is the relatively low cost of properties compared to other European countries. Turkey offers many affordable properties, from luxury villas to modest apartments, making the country ideal for budget-conscious investors. Owning property in Turkey allows foreigners to enjoy the country's beautiful landscapes and warm climate. In addition, Turkey offers unique blends of history, tradition, and modernity. Read about more reasons here.

Popular Regions for Real Estate in Turkey for Foreigners

Turkey features diverse landscapes, quaint fishing villages, big cities and real estate opportunities. Some popular areas for real estate in Turkey for foreigners include:

Istanbul: As Turkey's largest city and economic hub, Istanbul has various properties for sale, from luxurious apartments in high-end neighbourhoods to more affordable options in developing areas. Many working ex-pats head to Istanbul.

Antalya: Known for beaches, Turkish Riviera status, and warm climate, Antalya attracts tourists and foreign property buyers. The city features modern apartments and traditional villas for sale, catering to different budgets and preferences.

Fethiye: Located in southwestern Turkey, Fethiye is famous for its beautiful coastline. The area is popular among foreigners looking for holiday homes and investment properties, boasting affordable villas and apartments.

Bodrum: This coastal town on the Aegean Sea is well-known for its charming whitewashed Turkish properties, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Bodrum attracts foreign buyers looking for holiday homes or investment properties, with luxury villas and apartments for sale.

Alanya: Situated on the southern coast of Turkey, Alanya is popular with tourists and foreign property buyers. The town features many properties, from affordable apartments to luxury villas for sale.

Guide to Buying Real estate in Turkey as a Foreigner

Research: Before purchasing, research the different regions and select a place that suits your needs and preferences. Consider factors such as climate, proximity to amenities, and potential rental returns when looking at for-sale properties

Legalities: Open a Turkish bank account and get a foreigner identity number, otherwise a tax number.

Real Estate Agent: They guide you through the sale process, from finding the right property to signing for the deeds. We have much experience in assisting foreign buyers, and you can see our services or contact us here to chat with an agent about what we can do for you.

View Homes: Once you have found a suitable property for sale, make an offer to the seller, usually through your real estate agent. Negotiating the price and terms is essential, as this is common practice in Turkey. A few options include apartments in complexes or detached villas.

Preliminary Agreement: After agreeing on a price, sign a prior agreement with the public notary with the seller. This document outlines conditions of the sale. At this point, many buyers employ an independent lawyer. At the public notary, a translator is required by law.

Transfer Title Deeds:  The title deed (known as the "Tapu") can be transferred to the buyer. This process takes place at the local Land Registry Office. It involves both the buyer and seller or their legal representatives.

Pay Taxes and Fees:  You must pay various sale taxes and fees, including the title deed transfer tax, stamp duty, and agent commission. Make sure to budget for these expenses when planning your property purchase.

Financing Options for Foreigners

While some foreigners choose to buy property in Turkey with cash, others may need investment financing to complete their purchase. Several financing options are available for foreigners, but remember the final payment will be made in Turkish lira. You will also need to convert if you seek financing in other currencies.

1: Mortgage Options from Turkish Banks: Foreigners can apply for mortgages from Turkish banks to finance their property purchases. However, the eligibility criteria and interest rates may vary depending on the bank and the applicant's financial situation.

2: Home Country Banks: Some foreigners may be eligible for loans from banks in their home country to finance their property purchases in Turkey.

3: Developer Financing: Property developers in Turkey sometimes offer financing options for foreign buyers. These are normally on large lifestyle residence complexes in Istanbul. After paying a small deposit, the buyer can pay for the property over 1 to 5 years with 0% interest.

Tax Implications for Foreigners

Title Deed Transfer Tax: When transferring a property deed, foreign citizens must pay a transfer tax to the land registry directorates, currently set at 4% of the property's declared value.

Stamp Duty: Payable when signing a preliminary agreement for a property purchase. The current rate is 0.948% of the agreed sale price.

Annual Property Tax: Property owners in Turkey must pay a yearly property tax calculated based on the property's value. The tax rate varies depending on the property's location, size, and usage.

Income Tax on Rental Income: If you rent out your property, you must pay income tax on the rental income. The tax rate is currently set at 15%.

Capital Gains: If you keep the property for at least five years, you won't need to pay capital gains tax.

Renting Out Your Property in Turkey as an Investment

One main advantage for foreigners is the potential for high rental returns and property prices. Several factors must be considered to rent out your property in Turkey as an investment. Firstly, set competitive rental prices. Work with reputable property management companies to market your property and manage rentals. Secondly, comply with Turkish rental laws. For example, register your rental property with local authorities and obtain a rental license. Also, provide rental agreements to tax authorities and your tenants, which outline the terms and conditions of renting.

Tips for Searching for Property

  • Research: Before looking at homes for sale in Turkey, research different regions. When deciding, consider factors like climate, proximity to amenities, and potential rental returns.
  • Finances: Budget for all expenses, including taxes, fees, and legal costs.
  • Understand the legal framework: Make sure the property has a habitation certificate. Otherwise, this cuts the value down. A habitation certificate confirms the property passes all lawful construction purposes and laws.
  • Learn the Language: While speaking Turkish to buy property in Turkey is unnecessary, learning basic phrases helps communicate with locals and navigate the sale process.

Conclusion: Your Dream Property in Turkey

Buying property in Turkey for foreigners has never been more appealing. Turkey offers many opportunities with growing real estate markets, affordable property prices, sea views, and the potential for high rental returns. Whether it's a holiday home, retirement haven, or profitable investment property, buying property in Turkey is an excellent decision. See our portfolio here, or contact us today to find out more.

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