Public lands to be sold for house construction, says minister

Public lands to be sold for house construction, says minister

Public lands to be sold for house construction, says minister

As part of efforts to curb the increases in rent and home prices, the government plans to sell public lands in large cities to people who want to build houses, Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum has said.

The land sales in cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, northwestern industrial province of Bursa, Konya and Adana, may start in August, Kurum unveiled.

The government is working on several options, such as building more affordable dwellings, to address the housing problem. Now, another scheme is on the table: Selling public land.

“Some two years ago, there were talks about the oversupply in the housing market. With campaigns introduced at that time, a record number of homes were sold. This time around, one month ago, a new financing package was unveiled to help people buy houses with lower interest on loans,” Kurum said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 9 announced measures to provide cheaper housing loans. According to the scheme, loans with a monthly rate of 0.99 percent and a maturity period of 10 years will be provided to first-time homebuyers for houses worth up to 2 million Turkish Liras ($130,000).

“We are looking at different options. Besides the government efforts to ramp up housing projects, we will take steps together with the Treasury and Finance Ministry and municipalities to make it easier for our citizens to buy homes. Those are the measures designed to boot supply,” Kurum said.

He elaborated that public lands in the outskirts of the cities, such as the Gölbaşı district in Ankara, and the Tuzla, Çatalca and Başakşehir districts in Istanbul, will be put up for sale at affordable prices on which people may build houses.

“People can develop their own houses on a single land plot, or they can collectively buy larger lands and commission a company to develop a housing project,” the minister explained.

The size of smaller land will be around 500 to 1,000 square meters on which one-story houses will be built, whereas three- to four-story buildings will be constructed on 8,000 to 10,000 square meters of land plots, Kurum added.

People will be required to present their projects to authorities to obtain construction permits for those buildings, he said.

Land sales, which will continue until the end of the year, will be launched particularly in the provinces where house prices are on the rise, according to Kurum.

Kurum said that his ministry teams with the Directorate General of National Property and the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) to bring down the cost of land which will be sold in long-term payment installments.

“TOKİ has built 1.14 million dwelling units for low and middle-income groups since 2002 and more projects will be unveiled. TOKİ will also develop industrial complexes to boost production and employment. Commercial units will be offered in those sites with low down payment and installments of up to 15 to 20 years,” Kurum said.

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