Government mulls changes to citizenship-for-home program

Government mulls changes to citizenship-for-home program

Government mulls changes to citizenship-for-home program

The government is planning changes to the citizenship-for-home program by increasing the minimum amount required to be invested in properties by foreign nationals to obtain Turkish citizenship.

Currently, foreigners need to purchase real estate worth at least $250,000 to benefit from the program. According to plans under consideration, the minimum level of investment will be raised to $400,000 or equivalent foreign exchange, private broadcaster CNN Türk reported.

The decision to increase the threshold was discussed and accepted at the latest cabinet meeting, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to CNN Türk.

Applicants of citizenship must keep the purchased real estate for three years minimum, and they should make this commitment in the title deeds of properties they buy.

Meanwhile, Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum dismissed suggestions that home prices are rising because of property sales to foreigners.

“This is not true. Some 30,000 to 40,000 foreign nationals buy homes [in Turkey each year]. Those sales correspond to only a fraction of the sales,” Kurum said in an interview on CNN Türk.

Kurum’s comment was in response to İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, who earlier this week alleged that house prices were rising due to demand from foreigners.

In 2021, home sales to foreign nationals spiked nearly 44 percent from the previous year to a total of 58,576 units, which corresponded to some 4 percent of all house sales in Turkey.

Istanbul was foreign homebuyers’ favorite market. They purchased 26,469 homes in the country’s largest city last year.

Antalya, a famous holiday destination on the Mediterranean coast, came second with 12,384 units sold to foreign nationals, followed by the capital Ankara with 3,672.

Iranians bought more than 10,000 properties in Turkey last year, topping the list of foreign buyers, while Iraqis purchased nearly 8,700 homes. Russians claimed the third sport as they bought some 5,400 homes.

In the first two months of 2022, home sales to foreigners leaped 56 percent on an annual basis to around 8,800 units, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).