Are Expats Allowed to Own Property in Turkey?
You have the right to become a Turkish resident and property owner if you tick these boxes:
- Are aged 18 or older
- Have enough funds
- Have never stayed in this country illegally
- Have never violated the law
Your spouse and kids aged younger than 18 can apply together with you. If your children have disabilities, they can apply with you regardless of their age.
Foreigners can buy only properties that are located in urban areas but not rural ones.
Since January 2022, the prices of properties are indicated in US dollars because the Turkish lira has become too volatile.
Pros and Cons
Here are the key benefits of being a property owner in Turkey:
- You can become a local resident on the day of registering your real estate purchase. Then, you can become a citizen within half a year. We'll tell you about the details of this process a bit later.
- After you become a local resident, you won't have to renounce your old one. Turkey has nothing against dual citizenship.
- It's not necessary to learn the Turkish language to become a local resident.
- Unlike some other countries, Turkey doesn't require a donation to a government-supported fund that will spend your money on art, sports, culture or human rights. You'll only invest in property.
- You won't have to spend any fixed number of days per year here to maintain your residency.
- One day, Turkey can become an EU member. You'll automatically get an EU passport.
- As long as Turkey isn't an EU member, the process of applying for a Schengen visa is fast and straightforward. Over 100 states will either issue a visa for you upon arrival or will require an Electronic Travel Authorization.
- You'll be allowed to apply for the E2 visa in the U.S. This visa variety enables you to live in the U.S. and launch a new business there or invest in an already existing one. Only citizens of states that signed trade treaties with the U.S. can benefit from the E2 visa. China and India are among the countries that lack such treaties — and Turkey has it.
- If you relocate to Turkey, it will be very easy for you to travel across three continents from there: Europe, Asia and Africa.
- The Turkish lifestyle is highly enjoyable. Local people are welcoming and emotional. The climate is warm and sunny. You'll be spoiled by an endless selection of sights, events and different types of cultural attractions.
- The food is delicious. Fish, fruits and traditional sweets are firm favorties among expats who come from Northern countries.
- If you're planning to run a business in this country, locals will trust you more after you become a resident and then a citizen. It shouldn't be a challenge for you to find clients, investors, partners, employees and contractors.
- The education standards are pretty high. If you want your kids to pursue higher education in Europe or America, you can send them to a school with an international curriculum.
- After you become local citizens, you and your family members will get access to free public healthcare. It will include preventive care, emergency care and treatments.
- When you retire, you'll receive a pension from the Turkish government.
- Your kids will inherit your properties and other valuable assets hassle-free. Turkish laws don't impose any restrictions on foreigners in this aspect.
As for the shortcomings, they are not too numerous. First, it's economic instability. Yet it won't last forever. Second, it's cultural differences. Some areas of Turkey are largely westernized. Others have very little in common with Europe or America. People are much more conservative and not everyone speaks English. But this is exactly what makes Turkey so charming for Westerners.
Real Estate Market Overview
In the 2020s, the national real estate market is booming. Most foreigners come to Istanbul, Ankara or Antalya. They immediately fall in love with these locations and buy properties there. In 2021, over 70% of all deals with foreigners were signed in these areas.
The same year, the foreign demand for real estate in Turkey rose by nearly 44%, compared to 2020. People from Russia, China, Iraq and Iran were particularly active.
The number of purchase deals in the country remains stable year in, year out. It's around 1.28 million units. Its average annual fluctuation is only 1% or even less. Only the year 2022 broke the record thanks to the largest number of purchase contracts with foreign buyers.
Experts predict that the national real estate market will keep growing in the next few years. However, the pace of its development might slow down due to overall economic challenges. Nevertheless, we aren't talking about stagnation. In 2022, the country's economy grew by 5% thanks to export, production and investment. In 2021, the growth rate was 11.4%, in 2020 — 1.9%, in 2019 — 0.8% and in 2018 — 3%. In 2023, this indicator is projected to be from 2.7% to 3%.
How to Find Properties to Buy
There are three main ways of looking for properties in Turkey:
- Private ads. On the Internet, you can find hundreds of attractive offers. If you act independently, you won't need to pay a fee to your intermediaries or representatives. It makes sense only if you are familiar with Turkish laws and know how to avoid risks. No need to say, you'll have to visit the country in person.
- Real estate agencies. Experienced professionals can help you select the optimal property. Thanks to their assistance, you'll avoid legal and bureaucratic pitfalls. On the flip side, only selected real estate agencies know how to deal with foreigners. They might be unaware of important details that can slow down the purchase process or involve extra expenses.
- Companies that specialize in working with foreign investors. This variant is typically the costliest — but it justifies every cent you spend on it. Profile companies can control every step of the deal: from collecting documents to registering the purchase. The probability of making a mistake will be reduced to a minimum. The most essential step is to find an agency that specializes in catering to expats from your homeland.
Another way out is to ask your acquaintances for help. Many foreigners have friends and colleagues who already bought properties in Turkey. They might be able to share advice with you and even find real estate for you. However, we don't recommend you use this option. It's always smarter to rely on professional services.
Cost of Buying Properties
Due to the fast inflation rate in Turkey, it's hard to provide up-to-date numbers in our article. Nevertheless, we'll try to do it just to let you get an approximate notion of property prices.
In Istanbul, the average price of a residential property is $130,000. In Antalya, it's $113,000 and in Ankara, it's $78,000. In small towns, the prices tend to be cheaper.
Let's have a look at the prices per square meter:
In the center
Outside the center
The average national price per square meter is $900. If you're from UK, USA or most other Western countries, you probably perceive it as a bargain.
The prices tend to rise by 5% to 20% annually. In the capital, they double every five to ten years.
An apartment is considered premium if it costs over $360,000. The most affordable premium villa costs twice as much. If you can afford to spend several millions of dollars on accommodation, you'll be able to select from multiple luxury options with sea views or picturesque urban views.
Buying Process Step-by-Step
As a foreigner, you should stick to this scheme:
- Get a Turkish tax ID. It's a crucial prerequisite for conducting deals in the country.
- Get a local bank account.
- Select the property.
- Complete due diligence of the property.
- Prepare and submit the papers.
- Wait until the authorities review and approve your application.
- Get your residence permit.
You can expect to become a local resident the same day you complete the investment. In three or four months, you'll get your Turkish passport.
The step of completing due diligence probably requires clarification. It's an investigation that reveals the legal status of the property. Using the registration number of the chosen house or apartment, you can find out whether it's involved in lawsuits or debts. Plus, you'll be able to check if the property has all the necessary licenses and permissions. After finalizing due diligence, you'll know that your purchase will be safe.
Can I Use a Foreign Currency?
Since 2022, foreigners need to pay for properties only with Turkish liras. Moreover, they're allowed to exchange foreign currencies for liras only in Turkish banks.
Depending on which currency you want to use, there might be additional peculiarities. For instance, international sanctions make the use of the Russian rouble increasingly difficult. At the moment this article is written, Russians in Turkey can't rely on the bank cards that were issued in their homeland. Fortunatly, they can transfer payments from these cards through the SigmaPay system. It charges high commissions for conversion but there is hardly any other way out. The situation with using rouble is extremely volatile and can change at any moment. Please follow the news to stay updated.
Turkey offers flexible conditions for expat investors. You won't need to visit the country in person to finalize the purchase deal. A legal representative can do it for you. We only recommend you inspect the chosen property in person before the deal.
After you become a local resident, you won't have to move to the country either. You can live wherever you wish.
Be ready to prepare the following papers:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage and divorce certificates
- Recent household bills to prove your current residency
- Proof of having always been law-obedient
- Medical insurance
- Proof of investment
- Local tax ID
If your dearest and nearest apply together with you, each of them should submit an identical set of documents.
The government fee for a person who applies for Turkish residency is $574. You'll have to pay it for yourself and each of your family members who apply together with you.
Notary fees can amount to over $1,000. Plus, factor in up to $10,000 for the assistance of your advisors and legal representatives.
Annual property maintenance costs around $850.
The fee for transferring the property from its previous owner to a new one is 4%. If you buy your house or apartment directly from the developer, this fee will be only 2%.
In May and November, you'll have to pay your taxes as a property owner. It's transferred in two installments annually. Its amount varies from 0.1% to 0.6% of the property's cadastral value.
If your house or apartment costs over 5 million Turkish liras, it's classified as a luxury asset. The tax rate span in this case is from 0.3% to 1%.
When reselling your purchase, you'll have to pay an income tax. Its rate depends on the property's value and can reach 35% if your income exceeds 110,000 liras.
Are you planning to relocate to Turkey permanently? You'll have to pay taxes here only if you spend over six months per year in the country. The tax will apply to the income that you generate in Turkey but not abroad.
Please check the laws of your homeland to find out if it signed a dual taxation treaty with Turkey. If it did, you won't have to pay taxes in both countries.
How to Buy a Property in Turkey for Citizenship
To become eligible for residency, you should invest at least $400,000 in a property. It can be a plot of land, a house or an apartment. You may invest in several objects whose total price needs to exceed $400,000. All these properties should be situated in the same neighborhood.
Make sure to register your purchase on the day of finalizing the deal. In three years, you'll be allowed to resell your property. You'll start to count these three years on the day of registering it. During this period, you can rent out your house or apartment.
An alternative way of getting a residency is launching a business in Turkey. Be ready to hire at least 50 locals.
Alternatively, you can invest $500,000 in one of the following options:
- Government bonds
- Bank deposit
- Share of a venture capital investment fund or real estate investment fund
It's not mandatory to use the Turkish lira. You may invest with euros, dollars or any other stable currency. No matter which variant you opt for, you'll be required to keep your investment for three years.
As you see, buying real estate is the most affordable method. It doesn't require financial or business expertise.
If you rent out your Turkish property, you can expect to earn from 3% to 12% of its value every year. 5.5% is the standard rate, so it should be a good investment. Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir offer the highest yields.
The national economy is not too stable and not everyone can afford to buy property. That's why the demand for rentals is projected to grow in the next few years.