Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of foreigners buying real property in Turkey and probably obtaining citizenship of the country in exchange grew in the first quarter of 2020. Can you acquire Turkish citizenship via investment into real estate without a personal visit to the country? How can you choose the property to purchase in Turkey? We are going to answer these and other related questions in the text below.
People all around the globe have to face the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This unpleasant situation makes them think hard about risk hedging and preparing for possible future disasters. Those who can afford it look for a ‘safety net’ in the form of a second passport.
A second passport is the best ‘plan B’ that a well-to-do person can make. There are multiple ways to acquire foreign citizenship but in the times of the pandemic, you have to act fast. This is why many people opt for obtaining citizenship by investment in a country that provides for this opportunity (there are over a dozen such countries in the world at the moment).
Those who are reluctant to give money away by making non-returnable donations to foreign state funds choose to buy real property in a foreign country thus obtaining the legal grounds for applying for its citizenship.
Several countries offer this opportunity and Turkey is one of them. The Turkish citizenship-by-investment Government program allows foreign investors to obtain citizenship of the country by purchasing real estate there that is worth US$ 250,000 or more.
Where do investors into Turkish real estate come from?
According to the Turkish Statistics Institute (Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu Başkanlığı, TÜİK), Iranians were the most numerous foreign buyers of property in Turkey in the first quarter of 2020. Their number almost doubled in comparison to the same period of the previous year.
Citizens of Iran purchased 1,864 accommodation units during the first three months of this year, which is 97% more than the year before. It was the first time when the Iranian buyers outnumbered the Iraqi buyers since 2015. Russians were the third largest national group of investors into Turkish real estate followed by Afghanis, Palestinians, and Yemenites.
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The TÜİK data shows that the number of houses and apartments purchased by foreign nationals between January and March 2020 grew by 11% and reached 11,068 accommodation units in total. This is notwithstanding the temporary stagnation in the Turkish real estate market that occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over this period, 107,432 newly built houses and apartment were sold in total, including those sold to domestic buyers. This is 0.4% lower than over the same period the year before. At the same time, secondary housing sales increased by 57.2% as 233,606 pieces of property were sold. The overall increase in real property sales in Turkey was 33% or 341,038 accommodation units in absolute figures.
Experts believe that the growth of the number of foreign buyers was largely conditioned by their desire to obtain a second passport in exchange for investment into real estate in Turkey.
1.35 million accommodation units were sold in the country in 2019 and 45.5 thousand of those went to foreigners. This is 14.7% more than in the previous year.
How can you acquire Turkish citizenship during the pandemic? By taking a virtual tour when choosing what piece of property to buy
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the appearance of innovative digital solutions in a number of business spheres. Many Turkish realtors, for example, now organize virtual tours to show the pieces of property for sale to potential buyers. All the money transactions can also be performed online.
According to the information of the Turkish Association for the Promotion of International Sales of Real Property (Gayrimenkul Yurt Dışı Tanıtım Derneği, GİGDER), in March 2020 alone, local realtors made real estate purchase agreements with foreigners for over 100 million liras (US$ 14.3). Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the limitations of mobility, the sales are often made via the Internet by use of such platforms as Facetime, Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp.
The realtors facilitate the selection of the real property to buy and also cut their costs by making use of numerous online instruments and offering virtual tours that involve using VR glasses. This shows that the modern technologies are being applied actively and that Turkish businesses are keeping pace with the changing tendencies.
The demand for Turkish real property in resort areas is expected to grow after the pandemic is over
The experts of the Istanbul Constructors Association (Istanbul Insaatcilar Dernegi, İNDER) as well as many other analysts forecast the growth of the demand for real estate in the Turkish resorts in the mid-term perspective. They believe that the opportunity to acquire citizenship of the country when investing into real property located there will attract many wealthy foreigners who seek an alternative place of residence that they can use during the crisis times.
It has been noticed that the demand for real property has shifted from large cities to smaller towns especially those located in the resort areas and in the highlands. People are worried by the global pandemic and they want to find a safe place where they can escape if bad comes to worse.
Several Turkish realtors point out that the demand for seaside cottages and other types of detached houses has increased due to the pandemic. The average price of a detached house has grown by a quarter since March 10, when the first coronavirus case was discovered in Turkey. The rent price has grown by one fifth on average.
Experts believe that the demand for real property in rural areas and on the seacoast is going to continue growing. These areas offer a high level of food security and access to high-quality medical services. The real property in Antalya, for example, is expected to increase in value considerably.
How can you get to Turkey to acquire its citizenship by investment into real estate?
The Turkish legislation requires that the candidate for citizenship should visit the country at least once. If you would like to obtain a second passport as soon as possible, you can use a business jet to get to Turkey as the regular flights have been canceled.
According to WingX – the company that keeps the aviation statistic records – the business of air carriers offering private services is booming. Of course, hiring a private plane is not cheap but you should know that Turkish Airways has already published the flight schedule that is going to be used after the pandemic. Thus, you do not have to wait for too long!
Moreover, please bear in mind that preparing the documents required for the application for Turkish citizenship is going to take some time so you had better start the preparation process in advance to be among the first ones to use this opportunity when the borders are opened again.
Please contact us via e-mail email@example.com or the live chat or WhatsApp and tell us about your desire to acquire citizenship of Turkey by investment into real estate. Our consultants will give you the most detailed information about this opportunity so that you can make the final choice. We hope that you will choose Turkey as the country of your second citizenship. If not, we have many other options to suggest!
How can I acquire citizenship of Turkey?
The simplest way to become a Turk is to be born to a Turkish parent! You can also acquire Turkish citizenship by naturalization. This will involve residing in the country for 5 years with the total period of absence of not more than 6 months. Another way to become a Turkish citizen is by purchasing real property in the country that is worth at least US$ 250,000. If you choose this option, the process of citizenship acquisition will last for 3 to 4 months only. You have to be of age to be eligible to apply.
What are the advantages of the Turkish passport?
As a citizen of Turkey, you will have every right to live in a country with a mild climate, high living standards, advanced medicine, and self-sufficiency in terms of food supplies. You can use your Turkish passport to open bank accounts and travel all over the world. Besides, you can transfer part of your assets to Turkey for diversification purposes.
Where can I travel with a Turkish passport without a visa?
There are national passports that provide for more visa-free travel opportunities than the Turkish passport does. It ranks 39th in the list of best passports in the world and allows visiting 72 countries without a visa. The Schengen zone states require that the Turkish visitor obtain a visa.