Iranians led foreign buyers in the Turkish housing market in the first quarter of this year, nearly doubling their property purchases in the country compared to last year’s figures, data showed.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data released Tuesday, Iranian nationals purchased a total of 1,864 units in the first quarter, up 97% from the same period in the previous year. The figures marked the first time Iranians pulled past Iraqis in property purchases since February 2015.
Following Iranians and Iraqis, Russians were the third nation purchasing homes in the country, followed by Afghans, Palestinians and Yemenis. The total number of houses sold to foreigners jumped 11% and reached 11,068 in the January-March period despite a short-term stagnation in the housing market due to the coronavirus pandemic, data showed.
Overall, 107,432 houses were sold for the first time in this period, a 0.4% year-on-year decline, while second-hand sales reached 233,606, posting a 57.2% increase, according to TurkStat figures.
'Turkey seen as reliable investment destination'
Faruk Akbal, chairman of real estate investment company Nevita International, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the rising tensions between the United States and Iran in February played a role in Iranians’ increasing demand in the Turkish housing market.
“Iranians regard Turkey as an important and safe haven. They also feel culturally close to the country,” Akbal said.
Mehmet Babacan, the CEO of real estate developer Babacan Holding, said foreigners see purchasing houses in Turkey as a profitable investment opportunity. He added that some of the foreign sales were driven by citizenship opportunities provided by the government.
Turkey reduced the limits for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship to encourage investments in September 2018. Thus, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of $250,000, instead of the previous limit of $1 million, can now acquire Turkish citizenship.
Babacan added that the industry expects housing sales to foreigners to increase once life returns back to normal following the pandemic.
Nazmi Durbakayım, the head of the Istanbul Constructors' Association (İNDER), also said a boom in demand, which has been suppressed during the successfully handled outbreak process, will be inevitable in the coming months and in the summer.
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