As every estate agent and property seller will tell you, there’s never been a better time to buy property in Turkey. If you’re in the market for an apartment in Istanbul or a villa on the beautiful Turkish coast, you’ll want to make sure you’re fully informed. We’ve prepared a brief guide to buying property in Turkey to explain what you need to think about before, during and after the purchase has been completed. Every country has its own nuances when it comes to property sales, and Turkey is no different. We’ll give you an overview of the buying process – which we’ll go into more detail elsewhere on the site – as well as guidance on living and working in Turkey.
Can foreigners buy property in Turkey?
An important first question. Changes to state rules governing property ownership mean that most non-Turkish nationals (with some exceptions) can buy Turkish property.
Most nationalities can buy property in Turkey including UK, US, European and Middle Eastern citizens. For most nationalities, a straightforward procedure is in place to make the property transaction as simple and easy as possible. The Turkish government encourages property investment from non-nationals – to the point that Turkish citizenship can be obtained after certain investment thresholds have been passed.
Approximately 180 nationalities can buy property in Turkey without any restrictions.
Is buying property in Turkey a good investment?
Turkey is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, with gorgeous coastlines, sunny weather and very affordable property prices. It has a strong, growing economy and an increasing number of young professionals, meaning it is attractive to property investors looking for good rental yields. It is also home to one of the most incredible cities in the world, the only one which straddles Europe and Asia – Istanbul. Investment in infrastructure and innovation has resulted in Turkey’s increasing visibility on the world stage. Turkey has ambitious plans with visions outlined and targets set for 2023, 2053 and 2071. Over the last 10 years Turkey has expanded its’ high-speed rail network, renewed existing roads, build a local railway industry and partnered with the private sector to deliver some mega projects like the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the Eurasian Tunnel, the Istanbul New Airport, Osmangazi Bridge, city hospitals and the Istanbul-Ankara High Speed Railway.
What does it cost to buy a property in Turkey?
First off, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ here. Turkey is a vast country (it is roughly 3 times bigger than the UK) with a huge choice of property for sale. Overall property prices are very reasonable when compared to other European or Middle East tourist destinations. It is possible to pick up bargains for under €50,000, and a decent two-bedroom apartment with sea views in a nice rest between €100,000 and €150,000. Equally the climate and dramatic landscapes and coastlines of Turkey have attracted specialist developers, architects and word-renowned designers. Looking for a cheap-and cheerful studio apartment near Dalaman? No problem. Looking for a luxury villa overlooking the coast? Just let us know.
In terms of additional costs to buy the property in Turkey you should factor in:
- Stamp Duty, which is 3% of the rateable value of the property
- Legal/Conveyancing Fees of around £1000 GBP (excluding your own advisor)
- Estate Agency fees of between 3% and 6%
- Administration Fees of between £500 GBP and £1000 GBP depending on the complexity of what you are buying
Documentation you will need
In order for foreign nationals to buy property in Turkey, you will need principally your passport and a tax number. The passport is considered the only official document needed if you want to buy Turkish property – providing a driving licence or other photo ID won’t cut it. The tax number can be obtained from any tax office in Turkey. This doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly start paying taxes, but the tax number is a required element for anything official you’ll want to do in Turkey – open a bank account, complete on title deeds (TAPU), obtain marriage and birth certificates etc.
Will I need my own lawyer or solicitor?
It is not a legal requirement to appoint a lawyer when buying property in Turkey, but we would always guide our readers and potential clients to use one. We can introduce you to reputable law firms used to advising foreigners on investing and buying property. You can also find highly qualified Turkish solicitors via the British Consulate. Fees vary depending on the complexity of your situation and the property you are buying, but you should budget between £1,000 and £1,500 for your own bilingual legal support. What price peace of mind?
What is the buying process like?
Once you have made an offer on a property – either directly to the owner or via a real estate agency – the Turkish Property Agents recommends that you appoint a lawyer who can hold your hand throughout the process. They will be able to go through the relevant legal paperwork with you, examine the TAPU (title deeds) and Iskan (habitation licence). A holding deposit is usually required during the early stages of the paperwork – for you this secures the property and provides reassurance for the vendor who can temporarily take the property off the market. The amount of the holding deposit will vary depending on location and price of the property, but typically £1,000 to £2,000. You will also need to pay a full deposit of between 10% and 30% of the net price of the property, this will have to be paid on a certain date. To do this you will need the above-mentioned tax number and open a bank account.
We would always recommend that you take guidance from a currency broker when transferring over the full deposit to make sure you are getting the best rate.
Once the title deeds are ready for issue, the sellers will accept the balance of the asking price, and taxes will also be payable. A contract will have been drafted already to complete the transaction. Once the paperwork has been completed and signed, and deposit received, the papers will be sent for military clearance. Assuming no problems, the deeds can be issued in our name. If you are not available on the dates the deed will be signed, or you don’t want to come over just to sign the documents you can appoint a notary to sign on your behalf.
How long does it take to buy property in Turkey?
Typically, up to 12 weeks. This will depend on the complexity of your financial situation, the property you are buying, whether you are getting a mortgage etc. Recent changes in the legislation governing property ownership have been relaxed by the state – to encourage overseas investment – so foreign nationals can often obtain the title needs (TAU) earlier than expected.
Can I get a mortgage to buy my Turkish property?
To be honest, finance for non-Turkish nationals is in its infancy, so the simplest way to buy your property is either as a cash buyer, or to raise the finance outside of Turkey – for example, drawing down on equity on your own home. Whilst mortgages are available to all EU residents, it is still early days.
It is important that your finances are in place before you put in an offer on a Turkish property.
We can introduce you to independent mortgage brokers who can advise on Turkish mortgages, or give you some guidance on raising finance/equity release in your home country.
Can I rent out my new property?
Rental yields ate good in Turkey, both in the private rental sector within major towns and cities, as well as more tourism-based rentals aimed at holidaymakers.
After some good PR in 2016/17 where Turkey was named in a number of the EU’s ‘Best Buy-to-Let’ countries, its’ property market has seen some steady growth. There has been constant demand for Turkey’s major conurbations including Istanbul, Antalya and Izmir.
In 2016, Kate Everett-Allen, head of International Residential Research for Knight Frank commented, “In the long term, Turkey is likely to remain on the radar of investors, given the underlying market fundamentals of strong demand set against low supply.”
Gross rental yields in Istanbul are solid if not earth-shattering, ranging from 2% to just under 5% according to the Global Property Guide (May 2018). Poorer districts seem to attract higher yields than the richer ones.
Beyond Istanbul, rental yields are generally good in the tourist/coastal locations. Rental income will naturally depend on a number of factors. Many homeowners – particularly those high-quality properties with sea views – can achieve rental yields between 6% and 10% along with a fully-booked peak season.
Capital gains tax on Turkish property
In order to avoid ‘flipping’ and a high turnover of property in the market, the Turkish government does not charge Capital Gains Tax when you keep your Turkish home for five years or more. If the property is sold within the first five years, there is a 15% sliding scale of CGT due on the property.
Private healthcare in Turkey is often cheaper than other European countries, and of a very high standard. Most European health policies are accepted in Turkey, and state investment in the health sector means the country benefits from leading cosmetic surgery, dentistry and fertility facilities.
Turkey has never been more accessible, with a huge choice of airlines. The major airline is Turkish Airlines, which flies internationally and domestically. Flights from London offer a number of budget airlines with direct flights to Turkey including British Airways and Easyjet. The new Istanbul Airport is predicted to have 150,000m passenger a year capacity, and will be recognized as the world’s largest airport with 6 runways.
Turkey is a vast country, and has the full mix of weather conditions! If you’re looking for a warm, dry summer, with mild winters, you want to buy property on the coast which borders the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas. Look at property for sale in Bodrum, Didim, Marmaris, Fethiye or Antalya.
Around the Black Sea, to the North of the country, the coastal area has a warm but more humid summer. The areas around the Sea of Marmara, which includes Istanbul, enjoys hot and sunny summer months. Temperatures in the winter months can get chilly, but it rarely drops below zero.