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Record number of Britons buying property in Turkey

Record number of Britons buying property in Turkey

A record 32,000 Britons now own property in Turkey, according to the latest data

10:16AM BST 02 Jul 2010

Affordable property prices, low living costs and easy access from the UK are believed to have contributed to the dramatic rise in British property owners in Turkey in the past few years.

Steven Worboys, managing director of Experience International, the overseas property investment specialists, commented: "We have certainly seen the Turkish property market go from strength to strength. Overall, the number of foreign property buyers has increased by nearly 30%, from 73,000 in 2008 to 104,000 today with the British market accounting for the largest group of buyers."

According to data released by the Turkish General Directorate of Land Registry, over 63 million square metres of property in Turkey is now owned by foreigners.

Britons possess the largest amount, at 6 million square metres, followed by the Germans, who own 3.5 million square metres, and the Greeks with 3 million square metres.

The province of Muğla, on the Aegean coast, is particularly popular, with almost 5.5 million square metres owned by foreign nationals.

 The Area,  “everything that foreign buyers desire" from a holiday residence, from sandy beaches to nearby international airports.

Turkey’s location outside the euro zone means that many property prices are fixed in sterling, and 70% LTV mortgages are increasingly available for foreign buyers.

Low-cost airline Monarch announced this year that they were increasing the number of flights to the country.

Purchasing property in Turkey has become more popular with holiday home owners and investors around the globe.

Britons were the first in buying property in Turkey among foreign nationals in the first quarter of the year according to the latest data released by the Land Registry Office. From 7 January 2006 when the new law was put into effect, to mid-April 2006, 588 British Citizens purchased 420 properties in Turkey. Secondly 265 Germans bought 258 properties in Turkey. In the same period, total property sale to foreigners and total foreigners bought property in Turkey reached 1,206 and 1,565 respectively. (25 April 2006)"

The principles governing purchase of property by foreign (i.e. non-Turkish) nationals in Turkey is governed by the 1934 Property Act (Law Nr. 2644 dated 22 November 1934). The legal framework set up in 1934 was modified for a first time by a by-law (Law Nr. 4916) dated 3 July 2003. This law was predicated on a reciprocity clause; that is to say, citizens of countries whose governments allow Turkish nationals to purchase real estate in their country, were to be allowed to purchase real estate in Turkey.

However, following steps taken by Turkey's main opposition party , the modifications brought by the 2003 by-law were declared as void by theTurkish Constitutional Court on 26 April 2005, in a decision to enter into effect as of 27 July 2005 and the purchase of real estate by foreign nationals was suspended until a modified law dated 7 January 2006 was brought into effect. This law, Law Nr. 5444, now enacted, instead of being a by-law modifying various paragraphs of the 1934 Property Act, is a fully stated legal text (still on the basis of a modification of the 1934 Act). This current law is retrospective in its application to 26 July 2005 and is largely the same as the law of 3 July 2003, with the following notable amendments, especially with regards to size limitations:

  1. A foreign national cannot purchase more than 25,000m² (6 acres) of land (constructed or not) in Turkey without special consent from the Turkish Council of Ministers. The council of Ministers is authorised to increase this limit up to 300,000m2 per person.
  2. Foreign national ownership of real estate cannot exceed 10% of land in any designated town.
  3. The property also has to be within a designated or zoned area in a municipality. Foreigners can not buy in villages.

As for the handling of the transactions suspended since July 2005, the new law is also applicable for applications of Title Deeds in the period between the former law becoming void and the current law coming into effect.

For the moment, all overseas nationals are subject to a clearance by the Turkish military authorities before being allowed to proceed with any purchase. This is to establish that the land/property is not in a militarily sensitive area, and that the individual is considered as suitable to own real estate in Turkey. Designation of land suitable for overseas purchasers is expected to be determined at a later stage by Land Registry Offices, based on information supplied by the military.

The Council of Ministers is also expected to determine, in the three months following the promulgation of the law, those areas where reserves on purchase due to considerations stemming from irrigation, energy, agriculture, mining, history, religion and culture issues and for preservation of natural flora and fauna are put in effect. Property acquired through inheritance is not subject to the limitations and reserves stated above.

From January 2008, foreign investors will be able to apply for a mortgage within Turkey. The revision in existing laws, aims to encourage foreign investment, replacing the previous barrier whereby investors had to finance their Turkish real estate through cash purchases or mortgages arranged within their native country.

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