Dreaming of a holiday home in Turkey? Whether you’re planning to relocate, retire or invest, Turkey could be a golden opportunity. This huge country boasts glorious weather and a choice of buzzing cities and beautiful coastal resorts. But one of the biggest draws has to be its low property prices.
In this guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about buying property in Turkey as a foreigner. We’ll cover everything from how much it costs to buy property in Bodrum, to getting yourself a Turkish ‘Golden Visa’ so you can retire in sun-soaked Fethiye.
But let’s start with a quick look at the state of the property market in Turkey.
The Turkish property market has experienced huge price rises over the last year or so, rising by 30% in early 2021¹. This means it's a sellers market, but the good news for buyers is that there’s been a recent boom in housing development and regeneration projects² - which could lead to increased housing stock on the market.
There’s been a surge in demand for Turkish properties by foreign buyers over the last few years. This dipped due to the Covid-19 pandemic¹, but the property market has been sustained by local demand and a drop in interest rates².
You don’t need to be a Turkish citizen or resident to buy property in Turkey³. However, buying a home in Turkey doesn’t automatically grant the right to live there - foreigners may still need to apply for a visa or resident permit.
There are also a few restrictions foreign buyers need to know about before starting their property search in Turkey³:
- Foreign citizens can’t buy more than 30 hectares of property in Turkey
- It’s not permitted to buy or rent property in military forbidden and military zones.
Buying property abroad will always feel riskier than at home, partly because you’ll need to get used to unfamiliar legal processes.
Turkey’s property market hasn’t always had such a good reputation among foreign buyers. Reading of occasional horror stories of scams, fraud and other problems has scared off some potential buyers in the past.
But the reassuring news is that following an increase in foreign investment, the Turkish government has tightened controls to protect buyers and prevent real estate fraud⁴.
You should still take steps to protect yourself though, including:
- Thoroughly researching solicitors and estate agents, making sure they have the correct qualifications and accreditation.
- Working with English-speaking professionals, to avoid the risk of miscommunication.
Like some other countries, Turkey has a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme⁵ which grants citizenship to foreigners when they make a minimum investment.
There are a few ways you can obtain citizenship by investment in Turkey, including starting a business or depositing a certain sum in a Turkish bank.
But you can also buy property in Turkey and get citizenship, provided you spend at least $250,000 (or the equivalent in other currencies). As soon as you’ve bought your home, you’ll get a permanent residence card and can apply for Turkish citizenship right away. You could receive your Turkish passport in as little as 3-6 months⁵.
Now we come to the important part - how much will a property in Turkey cost you? It largely depends on what you’re buying and where, although generally property prices in Turkey are much cheaper than the UK.
For example, the average price per square metre to buy a city centre apartment in Turkey is just £781 GBP. In the UK, it’s much more at £4,247 GBP⁶.
|Location||Price per sq.m - apartment in city centre⁷||Price per sq.m - apartment outside city centre⁷||Average price for 100 sq. m property⁸|
Turkey has a wealth of sun-drenched coastal resorts, pretty countryside spots and lively cities to choose from. Your perfect location to buy property depends on what you’re looking for - a holiday home, retirement pad or city centre bolthole.
Let’s run through just a few of the most popular cities and resorts in Turkey among foreign buyers.
- Istanbul - this hectic, vibrant metropolis is one of the most popular spots for foreigners, with around 44%⁸ choosing it to buy a new home or investment property. It’s well-connected and bursting with food, culture and history, although understandably not the cheapest place to buy.
- Antalya - the second most popular pick for 21%⁸ of foreign property buyers is Antalya, which offers relatively cheap property prices. It has a large expat population and attracts lots of tourists, so could be a good choice for holiday lets. There’s also the option to buy property in Alanya just up the coast, which is known as the ‘Pearl of the Turkish Riviera’.
- Fethiye - more than 5,000 Brits¹⁰ live in Fethiye, which offers beautiful coastal landscapes, excellent beaches, affordable property and a taste of traditional Turkish life. If you’re buying a property to live in though, you might find this popular tourist spot a little too quiet in winter.
- Bodrum - fashionable Bodrum on the southwestern coast of Turkey is ideal for those looking for a taste of luxury, although it also has its share of quaint fishing villages. Property here isn’t the cheapest in the country, but there is something for most budgets.
- Bursa - if you’re looking for a bargain, head to Bursa just an hour’s drive from Istanbul. Along with cheap property, the city boasts fascinating historic sites, magnificent mountains, green parks and thermal baths.
- Ankara - if you’re after city living but find Istanbul property too expensive, Ankara could be a good alternative. Turkey’s capital has all the shops, restaurants and attractions you could want, and it’s great for working expats and international business owners.
If you’re not yet living in Turkey and are unfamiliar with the market, it could be a good idea to use an estate agent. An English-speaking agent is recommended, as they can help you navigate the process and understand all the important details.
You should always do your research before choosing your estate agent, looking into their credentials and qualifications. In Turkey, estate agents are now required by law to have a certificate from the Vocational Qualification Authority¹¹.
To find a trusted property agent, start by narrowing down your search area - so you can choose an agent operating in that area.
You can also start your property search yourself, using one of Turkey’s biggest real estate websites:¹²
- Properstar.com (recommended for foreign buyers, as search results are in English).
Here are just a few things to look out for when buying property in Turkey:
- Buying ‘off-plan’ property without doing enough research¹³ - as you may be at risk if the builder or developer goes bust before your home is completed.
- Buying an investment property in an area where rental yields are low
- Failing to properly inspect old buildings - some of Turkey’s older buildings are cheaply made, and require extensive work and investment to fix.
- Trying to do everything yourself - it’s always recommended to work with trusted, qualified professionals when buying a property in a foreign country.
Turkey’s architecture¹⁴ reflects the country’s character as a fascinating mix of East and West. This means you’ll find everything from magnificent Ottoman townhouses to modern, European-style coastal villas.
Property styles vary from region to region, with more timber-built houses in the north, while homes in the west and south tend to be made of stone.
Apartments are the most common property type in Turkish cities, and the most popular option for foreign buyers. But it all depends what you’re looking for, your budget and where you’re buying.
Turkey brought in new laws in 2019 requiring all foreign nationals buying or selling property in the country to get an expert surveyors’ report¹⁵. You’ll need to find a certified surveyor, who will produce a report on the condition of the property.
This is not only necessary for the land registry to approve the transaction, but it can also help you assess the condition of the property before buying.
Let’s run through the process of buying a home in Turkey¹⁶:
- Research the market and find a local estate agent - if you’re not already living in Turkey, you’ll need to plan a few trips to view properties.
- Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, negotiate the price and terms of purchase (your estate agent can help with this) with the seller.
- You’ll sign a sales contract and pay a small reservation deposit - at this point, the purchase is legally binding.
- Appoint an independent, trusted and qualified solicitor to handle the legal side of the transaction. You’ll need to have your ID/passport and residence permit (if applicable) ready.
- A full valuation needs to be carried out by an independent appraiser, which can take 3-4 days.
- Your solicitor will check over the Tapu, the property ownership document. This then needs to be sent off to the Tapu office for registration, so a new Tapu containing your details can be issued.
- The transaction is completed, and you’ll be the proud owner of a property in Turkey.
Here are some of the key legal details you need to know about before buying property in Turkey, which your solicitor should handle for you:
- DASK earthquake insurance is compulsory before your Tapu can be issued¹⁶
- If you don’t have a residence permit, you’ll need to get a Foreigner Identity Number from the TNP Foreigners’ Department¹⁷
- You’ll also need a tax number from the local tax office, so that you can open a local bank account¹⁶
- For new properties, you’ll need to get a document known as an Iskan¹⁶.
If you need a mortgage to finance your Turkish property purchase, there are a few options available. Turkish banks do offer mortgages to foreign applicants¹⁸.
Typically, lenders will offer a 70% loan-to-value (LTV) to foreign applicants, and some have a minimum loan size of around €67,500. One thing to watch out for is lenders who insist on carrying out their own property valuation, as this can come in around 10-15% below market price¹⁸.
Here’s a quick look at the process of getting a mortgage in Turkey¹⁸:
- Approach a mortgage broker to discuss your options, and get pre-approval if possible
- Get your Turkish Tax number
- Start your property purchase, including signing the final contract with the Land Registry
- Apply for your mortgage
- Once the Tapu is ready, your mortgage funds should come through to finance the purchase.
Costs can vary between the different regions of Turkey, but here’s a rough idea of the main taxes and fees involved¹⁰:
- Notary fees - from £200
- Property Purchase Tax (similar to stamp duty) - 4.% of purchase price
- Land Registry fee - £125
- Estate agent fees - approximately 3%
- Legal fees - at least £500.
If you’re buying your Turkish property while abroad, you’ll need to find a safe, cost-effective way to transfer money across borders. Whether you’re paying a deposit or your solicitor’s fees, the last thing you want is to lose money to poor exchange rates and high bank fees.
Wise offers the ideal solution for international property buyers. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money from the UK to Turkey for small fees and the mid-market exchange rate.
Sending money overseas with Wise is quick, fully secure and could be significantly cheaper compared to using your bank.
Sources used for this article:
- Global Property Guide - investment analysis of Turkish real estate market
- Mordor Intelligence - residential real estate market in Turkey
- GOV.uk - buying property in Turkey
- Antalya Homes - how to buy a property in Turkey securely
- Schengen Visa Info - Turkey citizenship by investment
- Numbeo - cost of living comparison between UK and Turkey
- Numbeo - prices by sq.m by city
- Properstar - house prices in Turkey
- Endeksa - Ankara house prices
- A Place in the Sun - number of Brits in Fethiye
- Properstar - how to find an estate agent in Turkey
- Foreign Buyers Watch - most popular property websites
- Expatra - how to buy property in Turkey - foreign buyers’ guide
- Property Guides - the main types of Turkish houses
- Celebi Legal - certified surveyor regulation
- Properstar - how to buy property in Turkey as a foreigner
- Get Golden Visa - buying property in Turkey
- Properstar - getting a loan for property purchase in Turkey
Sources checked on 14-04-2022.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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