Russian, British and German buyers have been the most active overseas buyers of property in Turkey over the past year, according to new figures released by the Turkish Environment of Urban Planning Ministry. According to the report, which looked at international investment in the Turkish property market over the last 12 months, Russians were the biggest buyers of property over the period, purchasing 2,313 properties. British buyers ranked second with 1,353 separate property purchases, while Germans bought 1,350 properties.
The countries with the next highest number of buyers were Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, respectively. The southern coastal province of Mersin was most popular with foreign buyers, and was followed by the Aegean province of Izmir, while Yalova province, located on the Marmara Sea, ranked third. The figures suggest that buyers have not been deterred from investing in Turkey despite recent domestic turbulence.
Knight Frank’s most recent Global House Price Index covering the first quarter of 2013 shows that property prices in Turkey have risen by 11.5% over the past year. The double digit annual increase means it is one of the top 10 fastest growing markets over the past year. Earlier this year, Turkey announced changes to its property laws, extending the legal period of residency offered to foreign property owners upon entry to Turkey from three months to one year as well as increasing taxes on foreign properties.
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Buying land and building your own villa in Turkey can be a good long term investment for second home owners and is becoming more popular, according to Turkish property specialist firm Spot Blue. Director Julian Walker said that there are an increasing numbers of property investors looking for alternatives to today’s volatile financial markets and prices in Turkey make a viable option.
‘Opportunities to buy land come in all shapes and sizes, from the large scale urban investment sites to the smaller ones on the edge of resorts suited to individual homes,’ he said. ‘We’re seeing a consistent demand for land in 2013. We can source all types of land, to complement our estate agency business,’ he added.
The removal of Turkey’s restrictive reciprocity law last May has driven interest from Middle Eastern buyers in particular. ‘Many of these have long term investment interests and come to us asking for help finding land deals in hot spots, particularly the rapidly developing suburbs of Istanbul where demand for residential housing is booming,’ said Walker.
Walker said that buyers of smaller plots for the development of a second home should bear in mind that local building rules dictate how much of a plot can be built on, typically 15% to 20%. In general, areas in and around the centre of a resort, where plot sizes are usually smaller, might get planning permission for anywhere between 30% and 100% of the plot size. On top of meeting all national and local property regulations, other considerations when choosing a plot in Turkey should include access to main roads and infrastructure, the gradient of a property and exposure to extreme weather conditions. You should also take into account the view, the immediate surrounding area and possibility of further developments as well as amenities in the wider area.
It is vital that you find a reliable contact for the construction of your property and a watertight strategy for overseeing the project is also paramount. ‘Bear in mind, as building laws become more stringent in Turkey, plots near a beach that can legally be built on are becoming scarcer and consequently more valuable,’ he pointed out.