Russians and Ukrainians still rooted in the Turkish real estate market

by Editor

Foreigners have invested more in Turkish real estate in the past decade. According to Nordic Monitor, foreigners in Turkey increased sevenfold between 2010 and 2021.

Turkey sells property to foreign investors. This strategy fights inflation and a sluggish economy.

Ankara gave foreigners a one-year residence visa in 2017 for buying a home (at any price). Foreigners can get Turkish citizenship by buying a million-dollar home. Citizenship property cost $250,000 in 2019. May’s minimum price of $400,000 was set to limit foreign demand for Turkish real estate.

The Ukraine war increased interest in Turkish real estate. Last year’s 44% lira devaluation made Turkish real estate more attractive to cash-rich foreigners. Turkey also hosts Russian and Ukrainian refugees.

Many overseas buyers wanted Turkish citizenship through property investments (GIGDER).

Russians are Turkey’s third-largest homebuyers, after Iranians and Iraqis. Since Ukraine’s invasion in February, Russians have bought 509 homes in Turkey and Ukrainians 111.

According to Tolga Idikat, CEO of, and Sergey Volchenkov, a Ukrainian investment specialist, Ukrainians and Russians have different investment expectations in Turkey. Russians are willing to pay high real estate costs for Turkish citizenship. Russians invest in Turkey to boost financial activity, whereas Ukrainians in Turkey seek short-term deals, then they’ll return to Ukraine.

Turk.Estate has seen more Russian and Ukrainian searches since February 2021. Akzirve’s Hakan Sabbagh expects Russian demand for Turkish homes to rise. Rest Property CEO Nihat Tufan expects 70% more Russian demand.

Russian and Ukrainian buyers prefer Antalya, Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, and Bursa. Russians and Ukrainians bought 25% of Antalya’s properties in February, up 96% for Russians and 85% for Ukrainians. Because of this, Russians are more interested in Antalya than usual.

Russians in Turkey now have more options thanks to their international wealth.Since opening the world’s longest suspension bridge, Canakkale (formerly Dardanelles) has been a promising alternative to Istanbul. Cannakale attracts Russian investors interested in logistics and industry. Russian economists anticipate growth in Lapseki, Gokceada, and Bozcaada.RTIB’s Naki Karaaslan highlighted Izmir and Istanbul’s potential.

According to Turk.Estate, Ukrainians want Edirne to be close to Bulgaria.This location offers cheap short-term stays in Turkey. Ukrainians can travel visa-free to Bulgaria.

Foreign demand has pushed up Turkish property prices. According to the central bank, Turkish property values have doubled and Turkey’s inflation soared to 79.1% in June.

Volchenkov said Russian real estate investors are willing to overpay, even over the $400,000 required for Turkish citizenship. 

The UAE and Turkey are luring Russian investors away from Europe. The Turkish government offers European-standard services at lower prices and without anti-Russian bias.

Zeynep Fratoglu, manager of Istanbul-based real estate firm Space, said Turkey’s proximity to Europe, impartiality toward Russian policies, and developed financial system make it an excellent destination for Russian investors.

Since the Ukraine crisis began, Turkey has imposed no restrictions on Russia, while European countries are tougher on Russian millionaires. Forbes says Cyprus revoked the passports of eight Russian millionaires.

Turkey hasn’t restricted Russian airspace either. To be a credible peace broker, it must maintain good relations with Moscow and Kiev. Turkish real estate sales to foreigners should rise as long as the West sanctions Russia and Ankara remains neutral.

Russian billionaires bought luxury goods in Istanbul. Turkey offered incentives. Foreigners can get Turkish citizenship in 3 to 4 months if they invest $500,000 in banks, bonds, corporations, funds, or deposits. Nadi Varl, broker at Vartur Real Estate (Istanbul), says wealthy Russians want Turkish citizenship to invest there.

Other sectors may grow if more Russians invest in Turkey’s real estate. Moving to Turkey or opening businesses could boost construction. Eray Sayin of Sayin Law & Consulting says 64 Russian firms were registered in Turkey in March 2022. (Istanbul). Most are in real estate and energy, she said.

136 Russian and 22 Ukrainian businesses started in April, according to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

Russian investors in Turkey face challenges, say observers. Most countries have banned foreign bank accounts, and Russia left SWIFT due to sanctions. Most Russians buy property with cash or cryptocurrencies.

Due to US secondary sanctions, Turkish institutions are hesitant to open bank accounts for Russian investors. Turkish bank Halkbank is accused of violating Iran sanctions in the US. If US sanctions enforcers target Turkish banks again, foreign investors may lose trust.

Russian investors use cryptocurrencies to buy property in Turkey. Turkish property companies approve transfers. Caldas and an Istanbul realtor said Russians wanted to convert cash to cryptocurrency because financial transfers were becoming cumbersome. Russian interest in Turkish real estate may boost the bitcoin sector.

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