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Why invest in property in Turkey

Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located between Asia and Europe. It has its capital city at Ankara whilst the largest city is Istanbul. With a population of approximately 76 million as at 2012, consisting of mainly young & upwardly mobile population, makes it an ideal country for investors who want to plough money in the country’s fast developing real estate industry.

Turkey covers a very large area of about 783,562.38 km² which again means there is a lot of potential for development. In the last decade, the Turkish real estate sector has grown tremendously. While there has been a general decline in the real estate business in Europe, Americas and many parts of the world due to the recent economic meltdown, statistics show that the real estate sector in Turkey grew by 18% in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, indicating that the sector is almost immune to the global slow-down.

Istanbul has been touted by PWC and Deloitte Consulting to be the most attractive city for real estate investment in Europe while Turkey overall is ranked 3rd most lucrative country for investment in real estate globally. The increase and appetite for foreign investors in real estate has been motivated by the potential of Turkey’s EU membership. This has accelerated holiday home owners and investors around the world to purchase properties in Turkey. More important is also the legislative amendments that have been done to several laws including the property title registry law, the mortgage law, residency and the redrafting of tax laws which all directly affect how overseas investors can buy and develop properties in Turkey. These amendments are believed to have stimulated the competitiveness of the Turkish real estate sector.

Dynamic demographic factors and good economic figures have enabled Turkey to increasingly become the choice for foreign investors interested in setting up businesses and purchasing real estate. There has been an increase in demand for homes and offices in the recent years as more global companies and foreigners demand commercial and residential real estate.

Turkey country risk compared to EU averageWith a stable economy and predictable inflation rates, investor confidence in the real estate sector has tremendously increased. Turkey has internationalised and institutionalised the sector while it has also put in place transparency and high quality standards in property transactions in anticipation of joining the EU. According to Euromoney’s Country Risk (ECR) Survey, in 2012 Turkey outperformed 8 out of the 27 EU member countries and the ECR score gap narrowed from 48 points in 2002 to 8 points 2012.

With a GDP of USD 736 billion in 2010 and an age group of less than 34 years (about 60% of total Turkish population), Turkey has become a major target for foreign direct investment.

Banks and mortgage firms have also increased lending with over 68 billion being disbursed in the year 2011. In 2015, it is estimated that the percentage of house loans that will be disbursed in comparison to the GDP will hit about 15%. Turkey also attracted one of the highest numbers of tourists in the year 2010. With over 28.5 million tourists who visited the country that year, it recorded the 6th highest number of tourists in the world. The high number of tourists indicates the high potential that Turkey has in the holiday home purchase and rentals segments. This is attributed to the fact all these tourists will need somewhere to stay whether homes or hotels.

Turkey is an economic regional hub providing ultra modern shopping centres, and easy access to over 1.5 billion people who come for trade and other services in the country. This has increased the demand for infrastructure and facilities in the country.

SWOT Analysis for Turkey Real Estate

Strengths

Turkey is the leading
investment country in Europe for GDP
growth projections

Strong financial and banking regulations

Construction companies with global reputation

Access to mortgage facilities

Weaknesses

Acquiring land is difficult
and obtaining construction
permits is not straight forward

High number of old type of housing which cannot qualify
for mortgage facilities

Opportunities

High internal demand for
residential housing and
commercial space

Many slum upgrade projects
in major cities to create
opportunity for new housing

Regulations on earthquake
and natural disasters have
increased the need for
quality construction

Increased tourists inflow and
investors have made opportunities
for office space and residential property Threats

Earthquakes are a common
feature in some parts of
Turkey hence may scare
away investors

The sector still is volatile
compared to mature real
estate markets such as the UK and US

Economic outlook of Turkey

Turkey has shown a tremendous growth in its GDP since the last decade. Between 2002 and 2012 it has shown a GDP growth of about 6%pa on average (see graph). From a meagre USD 3,500 in 2002, the per Average GDP Growth 2002 – 2012capita income has increased to USD 10,500 in 2011. This shows that the country is on an upward trend to an economic giant in a few years to come. In recent times, there was a global meltdown that caused recession in many parts of the developed world. Turkey was not left behind and it was also greatly affected. This slowed down the growth since there was a decline in foreign investments and earnings. However, this did not hold back the country for long, and the Turkish economy achieved a growth rate of 9.2% and 8.5% in the years 2010 and 2011 respectively. Projections for economic growth to 2017 put Turkey ahead of all EU zone and most of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Turkey today boasts of being the 17th largest economy in the world with an estimated GDP of USD 800 billion for 2013.

Some of the factors that have made the Turkish economy to remain stable include the much anticipated EU Membership. Sound financial and structural policies have been put into place as the country joins other European countries in the EU roundtable. This has increased efficiency, transparency and adherence to high standards of practise. And as these reforms are put into place, the economy continues to be stable and with a steady growth. Strong monetary policies by the Turkish central bank have also played a major role in stabilising inflation and also putting in place macro economic balances.

Turkish Government has also embraced strict fiscal discipline bringing down budget deficit from a high 17% in 2001 to 1.3% beating 23 EU countries in 2011. Foreign trade has also been a key instrument for the Turkish Government to grow the economy. Restrictions on imports have been uplifted while foreign exchange transactions were liberalised. This has tremendously increased Turkish exports to USD152.6 billion in 2012 from USD 36 billion in 2002.

OECD 2012 – 2017 Economic growth forecast
Foreign direct investments have also played a key role in uplifting the Turkish economy. Demographic factors including a younger population, highly learned labour force, tax incentives and a large domestic market have all made the Turkish economy to reach where it is today. The amount direct foreign investments by 2012 had increased to USD 130 billion; this is a strong indication of investor confidence in Turkey.

Tourism has also been a big source for foreign earnings. Turkey boasts of a high number of tourists and has been attracting one of the highest tourists in the world. Natural beauties, reserved and unique historical attractions and a warm hospitality industry have all increased the appetite for tourism. In 2012, 31 billion tourists visited the country realising foreign income in excess of USD 23 billion.

Privatisation and Turkish Business abroad have also played a big role in improving the Turkish economic turnaround.

Legal and political structure
Turkey is a republic founded on secular, democratic and pluralistic laws. It was established in 1923 and first adopted its constitution in 1924. The government is run on a parliamentary system of government that protects human rights and freedom of expression. In 1961, the country adopted another constitution that introduced the bicameral parliament that hosts the national assembly that has 450 deputies and the senate with 150 elected members by the general ballot while 15 are elected by the president. In 1982 the third constitution was adopted through a national referendum whereby the sovereignty is fully and unconditionally vested in the nation.

Parliament has since passed many amendments to the 1982 constitution to expand the people’s democratic rights and freedom of expression. This has also been accelerated with the countries acceptance to join the EU and as full talks began in 2005.

Legislature
The Grand National Assembly (TGNA) comprising of the national assembly and the senate holds the legislative power. Parliamentary elections are held every four years before electing the 550 deputies of the TGNA. They represent the whole nation and are required to take an oath before taking over their duties in parliament. Functions of The Grand National Assembly (TGNA) are as follows

Write new laws
Amend and repeal existing laws
Oversee the cabinet AKA council of ministers and authorise them to issue certain government decrees
Debate of budgetary approvals
Prepare budgetary proposals
Make decisions on currency printing
Ratify international agreements
Declare war, martial law or crisis rule
Proclamation of amnesties and pardons according to the constitution after a successful 3/5 vote

Executive
The Turkish executive consists of two arms; The President and the Council of ministers or cabinet. The President of the Republic of Turkey is the head of state and represents the unity of the country. He is elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly deputies who are more than 40 years of age, are Turkish citizens and have completed higher education. The President must garner the popular vote to be declared the winner. The President is elected in office for a period of five years and can vie for another term last term. He is responsible for upholding the constitution and has powers linked to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The executive also has the cabinet or council of ministers and also a Prime Minister appointed by the President of the Republic from the TGNA. Ministers are nominated the by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President who can also relieve them from duties if the Prime Minister recommends so. The core duties of the council of ministers are to implement internal and foreign policies of the government.

The Judiciary
The Turkish judicial system is independent and is based on the rule of law. The judges enjoy security of tenure and they perform their duties independently. The legislative and the executive are not exempted from the rule of law and must comply promptly by the judicial decisions. The judicial is also divided onto three sections; the administrative, legal and special divisions. According to the Turkish constitution, there are six supreme courts. These are

The constitutional court
The council of state
The supreme courts of Appeal
The supreme military court of appeal
The supreme military administrative court
The court of Jurisdictional conflicts

Other special courts with additional functions are The Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Supreme Council of Public Accounts as set out in the constitution.

Investment guide to Turkey
Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. If you are a real estate investor, you may not want to miss the chance to be part of this economic giant and transcontinental country. High economic eexpansion, millions of tourist per year visiting the country and an investment environment that is friendly and viable are some of the key points to look at in Turkey.

Why would you invest in real estate in Turkey?
Booming economy – Over USD 800billion GDP, annual real GDP growth projections in excess of 5%, 17th largest economy in the world (expected to be 14th by 2017) with heavy exports reaching USD153 billion makes Turkey the ideal country to invest in real estate.

number of days to register property titleHigh and dynamic population – Turkey has a high population of about 76 million with over 60% comprising the young generation. The younger generation are better placed to set up businesses and support the expansion of Turkish economy. In addition, changing customs and traditions in the country mean that younger people are leaving parental homes earlier and setting up on their own. This increases the need for quality accommodation and housing. Turkish central real estate association indicates that at the current rate of supply, by the year 2015 there will be a shortage of some 2.5 million housing in Turkey.

Low taxes and incentives – Any investor would want to invest in a country that offers incentives in various sectors. Turkey offers incentives on various areas while has reduced corporate tax from 33% to 20%.

Large Domestic market – Turkey has a very big market locally because of the high and learned population. Tourist arrivals have reached a peak of 32 million tourists by the year 2012. This creates an ideal investment opportunity for real estate developers.

Good infrastructure – well developed air, land and sea transport, advanced energy sector and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation and communication puts Turkey well ahead of other emerging as the place to invest safely and profitably.

Benchmarking Turkey to France, UK, Russia, Greece and US
Comparing Turkey to other developed and emerging countries can give you an in depth analysis on why it is the ideal investment destination for real estate developers and individual overseas property buyers. UK, US, France, Russia and Greece are some of the countries that compete with Turkey for investment opportunities.

Banking sector regulations and skillsIn the finance and banking sector, Turkey has one of the strongest banking regulations while Greece has the least. It is ahead of France and Russia and only slightly below the UK in terms of finance and banking regulations and skilled workforce. This brings higher investor confidence and supports foreign direct investment. The fact that Turkey imposes no restrictions on funds flows to and from Turkey helps money-flows a great deal easier and safer. Turkey also has the best banking sector and finance manpower skills compared to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Chine and South Africa). The majority of the population being the youth, they are well trained in various sectors and have strong technical skills.

Turkey also leads in Globalisation, Flexibility and Adaptability compared to US, Russia, France and Greece. It has opened its doors for other countries to invest which in turn has enabled it get more foreign capital and direct investments. Attitudes toward globalisation are international trade are more viable than countries benchmarked to.

Setting up a business and registering title to real estate in Turkey (see graph above) are also the easiest when compared to US, Russia, UK and Greece. The New Turkish Commercial Code (New TCC) has made it easy to register a company and start a business. The New TCC Code No. 6102 published on the official gazette on 1st July 2012 adopts a corporate approach that meets international standards. With only a single shareholder, you can now register a joint stock company or limited liability company. The New TCC also eliminates the need for foreigners to secure minority shareholders before having their companies to be registered. You can also register your company in one single day and it becomes a legal entity provide you apply with all the documents to the trade registry office.

Global thinking and attitudesPutting all the above factors into consideration, it is clear that investing in Turkey real estate stands to be more lucrative than in US, France, Greece, Russia and other EU countries. The Republic of Turkey has made all efforts to make it as simple as possible for real estate investors to participate and support the growth of the country. You are likely to generate higher return on investment in Turkey than any other country in the EU and most other countries globally.

This post is also available in: Turkish