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Expecting a total amount of nearly $7.5 billion in sales to foreigners this year, the Turkish property market ranks among the top 10 in the world, according to an executive of a sectoral association.

“Foreign real estate buyers’ interest in Turkey has soared in the last two years,” said Hakan Bucak, a board member of the Real Estate International Promotion Association (Gigder).

“Turkey attracts huge demand from 80 countries in four continents, particularly Iraq, Iran and Russia. With this performance, we took place among the top 10 countries that made the highest amount of property sales to foreigners in 2020,” he told Daily News.

Bucak, who is also the founder and CEO of Mars Investment, said that Spain, Portugal and Greece ranked atop the list, which also included Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Montenegro.

Last year, Turkey raked in nearly $6 billion in more than 40,000 property sales to buyers from other countries, down from around 45,000 in 2019.

While the range is wide, the average price tag of a property to be sold to a customer from abroad is around $150,000.

“We are expecting to finish the year at a level near 50,000 [sales],” Bucak said.

In January-August, house sales to foreigners increased by 47.6 percent compared to the same period of 2020 to reach 30,849, according to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) on Sept. 14.

In August alone, 5,866 houses were sold to foreigners, marking a 50.7 percent rise year-on-year.

Istanbul had the lion’s share with 2,729 units sold to foreigners, followed by the Mediterranean province of Antalya (976), the capital Ankara (400), the Mediterranean province of Mersin (242), the Marmara region’s Yalova province, which is famous for its hot springs (233), the Marmara province of Bursa (206), the northwestern province of Sakarya (129), the Aegean province of İzmir (121), the Black Sea province of Samsun (102) and the southwestern province of Muğla (98).

“There’s a misperception that demand mainly comes from the Arabian Peninsula and European investors in Europe. That conclusion could come true until 5 to 8 years ago,” Bucak said.

“Especially American, Canadian and British investors are watching the Turkish real estate market closely. We see that European investors are also buying properties and showing an increased demand,” he added, noting that investors from about 80 countries bought houses in Turkey in recent months.

A vast majority of foreign investors are looking to buy houses in the country, while demand for office buildings is rising in parallel with foreign investment flows to Turkey, according to his remarks.

Some Italian and Pakistani investors are even interested in buying building plots, he said.

“Selling property to foreign investors is an area that requires special attention. Today, our competitors such as Dubai, Portugal, Greece and Malta are ahead of us with their regulations. We believe that organizational charters, certifications and employee criteria of the companies selling properties to foreigners should differ from other firms,” Bucak said.

Turkey’s Trade Ministry, the Treasury and Finance Ministry and Istanbul Ticaret University have been working together to update the directive for international real estate trade. Gigder wants all companies in the sector to be certified.

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