Buying a house in Turkey temporarily impossible

There is unrest in the Turkish property market because of a court decision that, for the time being, foreigners can not buy property in Turkey. This also has consequences for people who want to buy a holiday house in Turkey.  

“Have I lost my money now?”, asks Dutchman Peter by mail to his advisor on the Turkish property market, Tugrul Sezgin. And Claudia mails: “What about this new law? Will this make it hard to buy a house?” Tugrul can comfort his customers, he says in fluent Dutch from Kusadase on the Turkish coast. “Acquisitions in Turkey are not being invalidated, nobody will lose his money or property. It will just take longer to legally establish ownership. But of course it’s a tedious situation just at the beginning of the season.”
It’s not the first time that the Turkish property market for foreigners has struck heavy weather. In 2006 measures were taken to prevent foreigners from buying too much Turkish land. A specific law gave the authorities the opportunity to grant foreigners permission to buy more land in specific situations. But authorities waited too long to enact the amendment, which led the court to decide to freeze all sales to foreigners. The government now says it will take care of the law soon, but in the meantime, the situation causes uncertainty for private individuals and  damages foreign investment and therefore the Turkish economy.

Peter Huisman, who works for Alanya Estate Agents in the south of Turkey, has already figured out a solution for his Dutch customers: he advises them to set up a Turkish company: “This company then is a Turkish legal entity, for which there is no problem purchasing property. A few months later, you can transfer the property to your private name and liquidate the company.. I expect it will take at most half a year before the legal problems are solved.”
For two clients Huisman will probably indeed found a company, but there are also people who for the time being have canceled their purchases. “I can understand that”, he says, “because this sort of unrest makes people insecure. Even though the law will soon be revised, confidence in the market suffers from these sorts of things. And confidence in the market has only just returned after the previous unrest.”

(written for Dutch news agency ANP)

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