Prime time for Turkey

By on July 24, 2013
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Despite unrest in some of its cities, Turkey remains one of top spots in Europe to buy property. Henry Courtney reports.

In recent weeks Turkey has dominated the headlines and news bulletins after protestors gathered in the streets of Istanbul to demonstrate about the government’s increasingly authoritarian style of leadership.

So you could be forgiven for thinking this was a bad time to invest in Turkey. However, in spite of the unrest experts claim this is one of the safest places for investors to put their money into property.

In a recent survey by the Global Property Guide, Turkey had the fourth highest house price rises. Property prices rose by 8.13% during the year to Q1 2013, in sharp contrast with the 1.55% year-on-year decline seen in the same period last year. However, house prices did dip by 1.09% during the latest quarter.
The Turkish economy also grew for the fourteenth consecutive quarter, with real GDP growth rate of 3% in Q1 2013 from a year earlier, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

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Foreign interest is focussed on Turkey’s stunning coastline, which now has the third highest number of Blue Flag beaches out of all 48 countries that participate in the scheme. This puts it ahead of France, which this year drops to fourth from third. Turkey also has 21 Blue Flag marinas, currently the seventh highest number.
“While some countries are falling down the rankings, Turkey is raising its game and improving the quality of its beaches and marinas,” says Julian Walker, director at the estate agents Spot Blue. “The knock-on effect is positive for the property market – being near a Blue Flag beach can only help a property hold value.”
Unsurprisingly, Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast now has a staggering 179 Blue Flag beaches, more than double that of any other Turkish region – Mugla has the second highest number with 76. Three beaches in Istanbul on the Sea of Marmara are also on the list.

Buying in Turkey
The procedures and legislation covering the purchase of property in Turkey differs from that in the United Kingdom and the safeguards that you may rely on in the UK may not exist in Turkey.

Foreigners require military permission before being able to purchase property. This can cause a delay in the whole process and you should allow a period of three weeks, though in individual cases the time can be shorter or longer. There is no way around this requirement and attempts to circumvent the process can lead to financial loss and you may still not get the property you wanted to purchase.

You are strongly recommended to obtain the services of an independent lawyer before committing yourself to purchasing property or paying a deposit or the property’s full costs. We define “independent lawyer” as one who has no connection with either the seller or an agent of the seller: an agent can be an estate agent or anyone acting on behalf of the seller.

Property deeds
The deeds for all properties are lodged with the local District Land Registry Office (Tapu ve Kadastro Mudurlugu). All sales of property must be lodged with the Tapu Office, as the sale is not complete or legal until you visit the Land Registry Office with the seller. The seller should be the existing owner or their legal representative. You should both sign the agreement and you should then be given your title deeds.

Enquiries checklist
You should make some practical enquiries before committing yourself to a purchase. You can ask your lawyer to conduct some of these enquiries but make sure you are satisfied before committing yourself.

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Doing your homework

  • Make sure you research the following before buying in Turkey
  • Find out whether the seller owns the title deeds to the property
  • Ascertain whether the deeds been offered as collateral for any loans
  • Look into whether the owner has outstanding utility bills, local tax demands, etc that you may be liable for on purchase of the property
  • Talk to other property owners in the area or on the development. Are there any issues you should be aware of before purchasing (such as floods in winter, lack of water or electricity supplies in summer, etc)?
  • If buying brand new, or partially built, from a developer, make sure the title deeds for the property actually exist
  • Make sure the developer owns the title deeds and find out whether they have used the title deeds for the land or properties as collateral for loans?
  • Ask the developer to show you some other projects they have completed.
  • Talk to owners of properties on these developments to see if they had any problems

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