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October 12, 2020

155,000 properties in Turkey sold to foreigners in the last five years

Of the nearly 7 million (6.9 million) houses purchased in Turkey in the last five years, 154,871 were bought by foreign investors, demonstrating a rapid increase in foreign property purchase in Turkey in the last year due to the easing of minimum requirements for acquiring Turkish citizenship by investment.

Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute shows that within the last five years, it was in 2017 – when the Turkey’s citizenship by investment programme was launched – that the highest sales of property to investors was witnessed, with 2018 and 2019 proving similarly high as the country’s CIP continued to grow in popularity.

Foreign residential sales have shown a rapid increase in the last year, in particular, due to the high exchange rate as well as the legislative amendments that eased the minimum requirements for acquiring Turkish citizenship, which has led investors from all over the world to acquire residential property in the country.

Under regulations introduced on September 19, 2018, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of US$250,000 – down from US$1 million – are eligible for Turkish citizenship. And according to the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, some 2,611 foreign buyers became Turkish citizens a year after the amendments were introduced.

And despite the pandemic, Turkey continues to process high volumes of passport applications via its CBI Programme. In the five months leading up to March 2020, Turkey approved 3,882 applicants for Turkish citizenship and some 1,300 during the following three months during Covid-19. Such numbers make Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment programme the most popular on the market today.

Who is buying and where in Turkey
Foreigners’ favourite spot for house purchases has been Istanbul with 61,734 residences being sold, followed by Antalya, Bursa, Yalova, capital Ankara and Sakarya.

Iraqis have become the biggest buyers of Turkish property since January 2015, purchasing over 30,000 residences. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait have followed Iraq’s lead, with each group purchasing at least 10,000 residences.

The first eight months of 2020 have seen increasing interest by the Chinese, who bought 575 houses in the January-August period and moved to the eighth ranking among foreigners buying the most property.

Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Programme
Applicants can obtain Turkish citizenship within three to six months, an improvement on previous processing times, with Turkey scoring two points higher in the latest CBI Index 2020 than in 2019 for its speediness in the processing of applications.

And while there is no need to establish residence via physical presence, applicants do need to visit the country once in order to provide biometrics, although applicants can now visit a participating Turkish consulate in their own country to carry this out instead.

In terms of investment options, of which there are five, applicants can choose between making a fixed capital investment, purchasing real estate, providing employment for at least 50 Turkish citizens, making a deposit in a Turkish bank, purchasing government bonds, or purchasing real estate investment trust shares or venture capital investment trust shares.

And applicant’s immediate family are eligible in the application, including spouses and children under 18, though it does not include extended family members, allowing only adult children when children are rendered dependent as a result of a medical condition.

“By virtue of its more affordable, faster, and significantly more popular CBI Programme, Turkey held its spot above Bulgaria,” reports the recently released CBI Index 2020, adding that it is “undeniably attractive to applicants, a majority of whom derive from the Middle East”.

For more information on Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, read our country profile by clicking here.