General country information
Linking Asia and Europe, Turkey has land borders with Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Georgia and a coastline that borders the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Black seas and the Sea of Marmara. Istanbul, the country’s cultural and financial centre (Ankara, Turkey’s second largest city is the capital and political centre), sits astride the Straits of Bosporus which provides access into the Black Sea.
The country, which is rich in historical sites dating back to antiquity, offers diversity of peoples and landscapes; the latter ranging from cave dwellings and volcanic vistas to the relatively unspoilt ‘blue cruise’ options of Turquoise Coast. Most European tourists head for the southern coastline of western Turkey and such places as Marmaris and Bodrum.
The weather in these areas is Mediterranean in nature but property investors should be aware of the risk of earthquake, especially in northern Turkey.
Agriculture is an important part of the Turkish economy, as is tourism, although its fast growing industrial sector includes substantial interests in textiles and clothing. Growth has been erratic in recent years and inflation high (over 10 per cent per annum).
When it comes to foreign investment in property, Turkey is one of the most exciting countries around. It has seen a 14.6% increase in this type of real estate sale over the past year, and Istanbul is attracting particular interest, with a third of properties on the market there now being bought up by people residing abroad.
Part of Turkey’s appeal is of course its unique locations. Now that stability has been re-established after a politically challenging period, the local economy in Istanbul is booming and it has never been a more popular place to live. Landlords buying property there are unlikely ever to have to worry about not being able to find tenants, though some, of course, prefer to buy to let on a short term basis to tourists, leaving themselves the option of staying there themselves sometimes, for business or pleasure.
The property market in Antalya is also thriving, while other buyers are looking at coastal resort areas like Alanya, Belek and Kalkan.
Foreign individuals can freely buy up to 10% of property and land in officially zoned areas which includes cities, towns and resorts. Foreigners cannot buy properties inside and near military, strategic and security zones and foreigners must secure a clearance from the Aegean Army Command. According to the ATSO, it takes three to six months to receive an answer from the military regarding the clearance.
Turkey has a system of land registration. Although notaries are often involved in property transfer this is not a legal requirement – both parties can simply make a mutual declaration at the title deeds registry office. A formal contract is, of course preferable. Each property should have an official title deed detailing its ownership and attaching a photograph of the owner. It is important to see the Use of building permit so as to check that the property has been constructed according to current earthquake proofing regulations and official plans. As in some other countries, unpaid property taxes attach to the property and not the owner – so purchasers will want to check on the current position regarding taxes.
To make the transfer official and record the price of the property (important for tax purposes) it must be declared to the local registry office by the end of the calendar year in which the transfer has taken place. The buyer pays for all property transaction costs, which are around 7.30% to 10.30% of the property value.
Capital gains from sale of real estate are tax-exempt provided that the holding period is longer than five years (four years if the property was acquired before 01 January 2007). For properties held for a shorter period normal income tax rates apply.
Country information – Turkey
Area: 779,452 sq km
Population: 73.64m (July 2013 est.)
Principal cities: Ankara, Istanbul
Language: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Employment rate: 89.5%
Flying time from UK: 3.36 hrs
Currency: Turkish lira (TRL)
Time difference from UK: UTC/GMT +3 hours
Rate of inflation: 8.88%. (2013 est.)
International dialling code: +90
GDP per person: $10,498
Climate: Hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior.