Turks skeptical about home sales to foreigners

Turks skeptical about home sales to foreigners

Gülistan Alagöz ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Turks skeptical about home sales to foreigners

Many foreigners, especially rich from Arab and Gulf states, have been demonstrating an interest in buying property in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

A majority of Turkish people are not comfortable with house sales to foreigners, a trend that has pushed many construction firms to limit their sales to foreigners, a recent study has shown. 

Some 65.1 percent of Turkish people are against house sales to foreigners, a study by the Association of Real Estate Investment Companies (GYODER) showed in a survey conducted with over 5,000 people. Only 27 percent of the participants said they had no problem with foreigners purchasing houses in Turkey. 

After a reciprocity law came into effect, allowing foreigners to buy dwellings in Turkey, many Turkish construction firms started to participate in sector fairs abroad, especially in Arab countries, to find new customers. A majority of the firms have since succeeded in selling houses abroad. 

Because of a lack of support for house sales to foreigners, however, some construction firms have begun limiting their sales to non-Turks out of fear of losing domestic customers. 

The head of the Housing Developers and Investors Association (KONUTDER), Ömer Faruk Çelik, said many Turks were “unfortunately” not ready to live with foreigners in the same neighborhood. 

“In my former company, we used to put a 5 percent limit on house sales to foreigners so as not to bother our Turkish customers,” he said. 

Süleyman Çetinsaya, chairman of Artaş, also said they put a 10 percent limit on house sales to foreigners because Turks bought fewer houses the more foreigners purchased dwellings in the same development.

But other firms said they found such thoughts irrational, noting that sales to foreigners must be encouraged. 

“The share of foreigners in the total housing sales has increased to up to 15 percent from 3 percent. Turkey must learn to live with people from other nationalities,” said the chairman of Dumankaya Construction, Uğur Dumankaya.

GYODER’s head and the chairman of the Torunlar House Development Company, Aziz Torun, also said all should encourage home sales to foreigners and develop projects to meet their needs.

“Some people unfortunately see house sale to foreigners as if construction firms had been selling a piece of soil from the homeland. Such thoughts have no benefit,” he said. 

Ali Ağaoğlu, owner of Ağaoğlu Group, which has made around $800 million in house sales to foreigners, said Turkish buyers of Ağaoğlu houses had not complained about foreigners. 

“Foreign people do not create any trouble, but make our neighborhoods more colorful,” he said.