Changes to Turkey's citizenship by investment programme

Turkish citizenship

A "minor change" to Turkey's citizenship by investment programme means property buyers can no longer deposit funds straight into a seller's account.

The amendment, gazetted two weeks ago, means foreign buyers will now need to send their funds to a Turkish bank prior to purchase, converting their currency to lira for the purchase.

Foreigners who gain citizenship by moving funds to Turkey will also need to convert them to lira.

The bank, in turn, is required to exchange the currency via Turkey's Central Bank. For buyers, this means the days of direct transfers to a seller's account are over.

What's behind the change?

As foreign buyer demand for Turkish property rises, the government is looking at ways to better benefit from the growing level of investment.

It's a move that is especially critical now, with Turkey looking to replenish its depleted reserves after the currency's recent hammering.

The lira fell 44% against the dollar last year, which led to growing inflation and then a series of government measures to curb the tumultuous market.

Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin called the amendment a "minor change".

"For buyers, not a lot has changed. Prices will be unaffected, and the buying process is still the same."

Demand had been strong over the past few months, Deggin said. "Buyers have been making the most of the lira depreciation to take the plunge, anticipating the lira's recovery, which will mean good capital gains for investors."

Turkish Citizenship by Investment

The scheme introduced in 2017 initially required foreign buyers to make a US$1m threshold. This was later lowered to $250,000.

Under the scheme, foreigners can gain a Turkish passport by making a US$250,000 investment in property, or $500,000 fixed capital investment. This must be held for three years.

The scheme has led to a large spike in property sales, and about 40,000 people gaining citizenship.

In October, a new measure aimed at curbing sellers offering property to foreign buyers at inflated prices to reach the $250,000 minimum slowed home sales. Now, buyers are obliged to use an independent appraiser to set the value of their home.

However, sales slowed only temporarily: when the lira slid further at the end of last year, foreign buyers moved to take advantage of the depressed currency, and property sales were up by 77%  last year.


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