Turkey tempting foreign buyers with easing of foreign ownership laws

Turkey is going all out to encourage foreign buyers by easing property ownership rules. The latest strategy, introduced in October, eases the process of gaining military approval and speeds up acquisition of a property’s title deeds – known as Tapu.

It’s one of a host of rules governing property ownership that has made the country increasingly attractive to foreigners, and laid the foundations for continued growth in the property market, says Turkey property specialist Spot Blue International Property.

And, proof that the property market is benefiting from the changes are consistently rising property values. The average price of units on new developments in Istanbul rose by 1.06% between September and October, and 14.18% year-on-year, according to an index by real estate trade body, Gyoder.

“Previously, waiting for military approval could hold up a property purchase by 8-10 weeks,” said Spot Blue director Julian Walker.

“Now, a slicker system means this time will be greatly reduced. Just as significant though, under some circumstances buyers won’t need to go through the process of getting military approval – namely, if the property they are buying was granted approval after May 5, 2011, or if they’re buying into a new development where an existing buyer has already gained it.

“It’s encouraging to see Turkey rolling out changes like this, showing commitment to attracting foreign buyers.”

Visa applications for temporary visitors, such as second homeowners, and residency laws have also become more appealing this year. A revision in the law introduced in the spring means that foreign nationals are now granted a year-long, short-term residency permit when they buy property in Turkey, regardless of the value of the transaction. This visa could be extended indefinitely if the buyer keeps hold of their property. Previously, homeowners there without a residency permit were allowed to stay up to a total of 90 days out of a period of 180 consecutive days.

“Expats seeking to renew or get residence permits will find the process changes for the better again in spring 2014, too,’’ Walker said. ‘’There are plans to use dedicated government agencies to take over the process rather than the current system that goes through the police.

“Another significant change is in regards to work permits. Foreigners who obtain a work permit in Turkey are now automatically granted a residence permit, too.”

In May 2012, Turkey relaxed its reciprocity law, opening the door to foreign buyers outside of Europe, including the Middle East.

Spot Blue International has property for sale on both sides of Istanbul, including apartments in Erenkoy and Beylikduzu.



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