Expat Guide to Buying Property In Turkey

Turkey

Buying a home along the beautiful turquoise Turkish coastline is a dream for thousands of expats. 

If you’re one step closer to making that aspiration a reality, it’s time to run through the essential information so you know how the Turkish property market works.

There are lots of reasons to consider Turkey as your home from home:

  • Property prices are low
  • The weather is comfortably warm year-round
  • The vast choice of town, village, and beachside locations

In many parts of Turkey, British expats can buy a stunning detached family property at a similar cost to a one-bedroom UK apartment, making the option that much more attractive.

However, property investments are a significant financial commitment, so you must go into a deal with your eyes wide open.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to apply for a Turkish mortgage, the best places to buy, and potential pitfalls to look out for in your home buying adventures.

Expat Property Purchase Rules In Turkey

When buying a home in any overseas country, the first consideration is the ownership rules that apply to foreign visitors. Many nations restrict or outright prevent foreigners from owning a home, but expats in Turkey have no such worries.

Rules here work on a principle of reciprocity. In short, that means that UK expats are allowed to purchase homes and land, provided the same goes for Turkish nationals in Britain. 

For citizens looking to get permanent residency in the UK, take a look at the Tier 1 Investor Visa.

Therefore, you’re OK to invest in a rental property, or secure a long-term family home, provided you comply with a couple of simple conditions:

  • You’ll need to apply to the local municipality for approval before buying and need that consent in place before putting down a deposit or applying for a mortgage
  • Some areas are considered nationally strategic or of military importance, and you won’t be allowed to buy a home in those restricted zones.

Turkish visas are available for periods between one and five years, so it’s worth knowing your residency status before making any property purchase plans.

New expats need to apply for a resident’s visa within a month of arrival. You can find more information about the process through the Electronic Visa Application System.

Average Property Prices In Turkey

Foreign demand for homes in Turkey has gone through the roof in recent years.

The draw of the Turkish property market is down to a few key reasons:

  • Property prices are low and offer significantly better value than many nearby countries in the EU. 
  • Real estate in Turkey is varied, with mixtures of development investments, holiday homes, short and long-term rentals, and full-time residential accommodation.
  • Around 44 per cent of expats buy in popular Istanbul, followed closely by Antalya, home to another 21 per cent of expats.

In 2020, 1.5 million homes changed hands in Turkey, a rise over eleven per cent over the year before, reflecting how fast the market moves and how in-demand Turkish properties are.

Turkey is an EU partner nation and a member of the Customs Union, but not a full member of the bloc. 

That means the currency remains the Lira (TRY), and the property market is hugely competitive compared to prices in neighbouring EU states, such as Greece.

Looking at average prices, below you’ll find the typical cost for a property of around 100 square metres in some of the key destinations.

Turkish CityAverage Turkish Property Price Per 100 Square Metres (TRY)Average Turkish Property Price Per 100 Square Metres (£)
Istanbul650,363 TRY£54,332
Bursa423,423 TRY£35,373
Antalya360,336 TRY£30,103
Muğla767,615 TRY£64,128
Izmir490,821 TRY£41,004
Aydin424,915 TRY£35,498

Compare that to the UK average of £432,567 for a similar-sized home in a city centre, or £303,475 for a less central property, and you’ll see how cheaper property is in Turkey.

If you want to buy a home for investment, you’ll want to consider locations in cities or near holiday resorts, where the demand is highest.

The average rental price for an equal 100 square metre apartment in Istanbul is around 2,717 TRY a month (£227), giving a 5 per cent yield.

Taxies, Duties And Costs Of Buying A Home In Turkey

Buying a home isn’t just about the cost of the property itself. 

There are all sorts of considerations, like:

  • Do you need a mortgage, and is a Turkish or UK mortgage the best option?
  • How much will property maintenance cost?
  • What are the exchange rates, and are they likely to have an impact on your budget?

Here are the essential expenses you’ll need to factor in when buying a home in Turkey:

ExpenseDescriptionApproximate Cost
DepositThis is calculated as a proportion of the buying price and payable when you sign the purchase contractBetween 10 and 25 per cent of the property price
Estate agent feesMost expats will use an agent to find a home, and they will charge a rate on any resale properties, as opposed to new development sales.Around 3.5 to six per cent, although negotiable.
Legal feesLawyers charge varying rates, and the price will depend on if you have assigned a power of attorney to deal with paperworkAbout £350 to draw up contracts, with an overall average of £1,000.
Stamp dutyUsually shared equally between the buyer and seller. Make sure to check the exact cost before going ahead. Four per cent. Of the property value
Translation servicesIt would help to work with a reputable translator as passports, contracts and other documents need translatingUsually around £120 to £160
Municipal property chargesEach region has different rules but will charge a municipality feeAround £300
DASK insuranceDASK insurance is mandatory in Turkey and covers 20 per cent of the costs to rebuild following an earthquake. It’s also wise to look at other insurance against the property and contentsThe premium depends on the value of the property, risk level in the area and rebuilding costs
VATVAT is charged on new builds if the floor area of the property is over 150 square metres18 per cent
Property deed registrationYou must register the title deed and must have a Turkish tax number to do soThe registration costs around £100
Belledier taxThis tax covers the cost of registering the property About £140 
Government taxThe Turkish government charges an administrative fee for military checksOften around £100
UtilitiesOnce you’ve bought a home, you need to register with the local authorities for rubbish collections. Taxes are due for council services and waste.Transfer costs are about £30 for a water supply and £120 for electricity.

Property Taxes In Turkey

Once you own your new home, you are liable for property tax.

Homeowners pay tax in two instalments throughout the year. 

You will pay tax at 0.2 per cent of the property value in metropolitan municipalities or 0.1 per cent elsewhere.

Buying A Home Step-by-Step By Expats In Turkey

So, you have your budget ready, understand the costs of buying and want to move forward with your Turkish property purchase – here’s how it all works.

Negotiating A Property Price

First, you’ll need to negotiate – not just on the price but also the sale terms. This step takes place once you’ve shortlisted properties you’re interested in, and most expats will use an estate agent if they’re not familiar with the area.

At this stage, your lawyer will examine the property paperwork and look at:

  • Title deeds (TAPU).
  • Habitation licenses (Iskan).
  • If an expat is allowed to buy a home in the area

You can negotiate directly and use an agent or intermediary to agree on the price with the seller.

Reservation Fees 

The seller will expect you to hand over a holding deposit. Paying a deposit sees the home taken off the market and stops gazumping.

Sellers ask for different levels of reservation fees, but you’re typically looking at about £1,000 to £2,000.

After paying the deposit, you can agree on when to pay the balance. 

Property Sale Contracts

The sale contract includes details about the:

  • Agreed sale price
  • Reservation fee paid
  • Total deposit required
  • Expected completion date

You can choose whether to assign power of attorney to your lawyer at this point. They will run property checks and obtain title deeds.

Using a lawyer is helpful for expats who aren’t in Turkey throughout the purchase process.

Military Approval

Expats need approval from the military to buy property, mainly because some areas are reserved as areas of strategic economic importance or for military purposes.

The Turkish Land Registry shares the proposed sale details with the military and confirms if the home is in a restricted zone. Approval can take some time, often up to about two months.

Property Title Deeds And Transfer

The title deeds are reissued in your name and resubmitted to the Land Registry when you receive your military approval.

Now you’ll need to pay the final deposit balance and pick up your keys.

Applying For A Turkish Mortgage As An Expat

You can finance buying a home in Turkey in several ways, including:

  • Remortgaging a UK property to release equity
  • Taking out a new mortgage in Turkey
  • Financing the property through cash savings

Borrowing money in Turkey takes time. Therefore, if you need a mortgage, apply well in advance, so you aren’t left with a dream property but waiting on your lender to come through with their paperwork.

Mortgage rates in Turkey change constantly, so one solution is to use a UK mortgage broker specialising in expat or overseas mortgages.

Using a broker in the UK makes sense if you’re buying an investment property or holiday home. You’ll then still be able to make repayments in Sterling from a British account.

However, if you plan to relocate permanently, you need to look for a local provider and transfer your savings to a Turkish bank.

Tips On Applying For A Mortgage In Turkey

Here are a few pointers to help streamline the process of taking out a mortgage in Turkey.

  • Look for Turkish lenders with branches in the EU. They’re more likely to have staff who speak English.
  • Arrange a valuation report in advance because the lender will need one to complete the mortgage application
  • Banks or other lenders will ask for a signed pre-term sheet and payment for processing the mortgage application
  • Mortgages in Turkey tend to go up to about 65 per cent of the home’s value, so you’ll need cash for a deposit of at least 35 per cent of the purchase price

Unlike many countries, finding an expat in Turkey is relatively easy.

Mortgage approval rates for expats are high, and the process is simple but a little protracted, provided you’ve got all the documentation in order.

Where Are The Best Places To Buy In Turkey?

Istanbul is undoubtedly the best location in Turkey for investors – prices are low, but demand is high as the city develops into a bridge between Europe and Asia. 

The cosmopolitan city has a remarkable history, recreational facilities and is popular with families. In addition, there are several excellent schools and exclusive residential areas.

There are several other strong competitors:

  • Bursa, in the northwest, is one of the cheaper places to buy and home to the famous Uludag ski resort. As a result, many expats in Bursa are from the Middle East. In addition, Bursa has a fantastic silk market and lots of green spaces and parks and lies at the west end of the Silk Road.
  • Ankara, the capital, is the second-largest city and a vibrant place to live, with plenty of professional opportunities and historical attractions. The Anatolia region is a long way from the beaches but has other nearby locations to wind down, such as Beypazari or Cappadocia. It’s less crowded than Istanbul, with some of the best schools and universities in Turkey.
  • Dalyan is a perfect spot for living on the coast, home to Iztuzu Beach, mud baths and the famous Lycian rock tombs. The lifestyle is peaceful, and the town centre remains authentic.  The location is perfect for beach sports, river tours, and visiting sea turtle breeding grounds.
  • Kalkan is expensive, with property prices starting from £100,000. However, the town offers large villas, incredible Mediterranean views, and rooftop restaurants, taking advantage of the panoramic vista.
  • Antalya is perhaps the best-known tourist destination between the Mediterranean Sea and the Taurus Mountains. The weather is warm, there are plenty of fresh produce markets, and it’s a great place for professionals and families.
  • Alanya is busy, bustling, and pretty crowded – but also a favourite with expats in Turkey. Amenities are good, the district is clean and safe, and you’re a stone’s throw from some incredible beaches.

Each location is unique, so a lot depends on whether you’re looking for job opportunities, have school-age children or retiring, and want to live in a busy city or a quiet coastal resort.

FAQ’s

What pitfalls should I look out for when buying a home in Turkey?

It’s never a bad idea to be clued up about downsides, as every property market works a bit differently.
 
The most common mistake is overlooking the critical importance of currency exchange rates. Remember that the Turkish currency is the Lira and is prone to fluctuating rates depending on the performance of the US Dollar, Euro and British Pound.
 
Your payments will need to be in Lira for the deposit and associated fees. So it’s worth setting up a Turkish bank account or browsing currency exchange rates right from day one.
 
Ideally, you can transfer GBP into Lira at a good time and then have the funds available to pay when required.
 
Leaving it to chance can inflate the cost of a purchase dramatically, with Lira often changing dramatically between the morning and afternoon. Another option is to enter into a forward contract, whereby you book in your exchange in advance at a fixed, agreed rate.

Do I need a lawyer to buy property in Turkey?

Yes, it would be best to work with a lawyer who specialises in the Turkish property market and has experience dealing with expat property purchases.
 
Expats buying a home in Turkey will usually need:
 
1. An estate agent
2. A mortgage broker
3. Currency transfer services
4. A law firm 
 
Particularly if you don’t speak or read fluent Turkish, you must have a lawyer review documents and records before signing them. 
 
Legal fees depend on how much work you require from your solicitor. If they’re drawing up purchase contracts, expect to pay around £350.
 
Expect to pay around £1,000 in legal fees.

Can expats get a mortgage in Turkey?

Expats can take out a mortgage, and it’s best to request an agreement in principle before searching for a property.
 
Mortgages can take weeks to approve, and you can lose out on a sale if you find a perfect home but don’t have the funds in place to go ahead.
 
Most expats work with a broker since terms and rates differ between banks and lenders. You can take out an expat mortgage or overseas mortgage through a UK lender, but only if you expect to maintain a British bank account to cover the repayments.
 
Lenders will quiz you about your finances, the property value and carry out other checks, like:
 
1. Your income
2. If you have dependents
3. If you are buying as a home or an investment
4. If you can afford the mortgage repayments
5. An overview of your finances

How can I find Turkish properties for sale?

Most expats start their property search online with these websites:
 
Sahibinden – one of the biggest online marketplaces
Zingat – attracts up to around 8 million visitors every month
ProperStar – international property listings
EmlakJet – lists homes to rent or buy
Hepsiemlak – Turkish properties filtered by type or location

Is Turkey a cheap place to buy a home?

You’ll find house prices in Turkey are incredibly competitive compared to popular destinations such as Spain or Portugal.
 
That said, prices are rising as international demand and interest grow in the Turkish property market.
 
It’s essential to have a good lawyer or agent since there is a risk of swindling and charging over the odds for a property or services. Surveys are also necessary, as you need to identify whether the property is worth the asking price and any maintenance or repair issues.
 
Expats use professionals who speak the language fluently to manage the negotiations on their behalf.
 
As with any big purchase, it’s worth comparing property offers and prices from several agencies and checking how commissions stack up against each other. 

Related Guides

Below are links to other country specific expat guides: