The number of properties sold to foreigners in Turkey has boomed, with an increase of 87 percent at the start of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK)
Incentives including a drop in the level of investment needed to secure Turkish citizenship in September 2018 have helped drive sales.
In January and February 2018, 3,471 houses were sold to foreigners. In 2019, the number of house sold for the same two months had reached 6,489.
Omer Emec, the chief economist of Albaraka Turk, told TRT World that foreigners were motivated by good value for their money.
“If we look at the trajectory of the real estate sales to the foreigners in the data published by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT), we see that the number shot up after the currency turmoil on August 2018 and the change in regulation that decreased the amount one has to invest in real estate to be eligible for citizenship on September 2018,” Emec explained.
“So this tells us that real estate getting so cheap in USD terms and the advantage of getting Turkish citizenship plays a big role in the increased demand from foreigners,” he said further.
Arab buyers were particularly motivated due to the incentive of naturalisation: “I can say that, especially from Arab countries, there has been an increase in demand for property for citizenship reasons”.
Iraqis led the pack when it came to property purchases, with 628 purchases, followed by Iranians with 307 properties, Russians with 236, Afghans with 166, and Kuwaitis with 150.
Omed, a civil engineer from Iraq, told TRT World that market conditions were ripe for investment.
"I want to buy a house in Turkey because the investment opportunities are so good for me," Omed said.
"The lowering of the amount of investment needed to $250,000 for citizenship is also a big advantage and I'm hoping to buy a house in Istanbul or Mersin as soon as possible."
According to TUIK, Istanbul remained the most attractive city for foreigners with 2,801 houses sold there in the first two months of the 2019.
Antalya, Ankara, Bursa, and Yalova were also popular housing markets.