An announcement, which led to excitement in the construction sector, who were thinking about how they would overcome the lull in the domestic market, has come from Mehmet Şimşek, the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the Economy. Following the announcement of Minister Şimşek that they were working on residency and work permits for foreigners who purchase real estate above a certain amount in Turkey, representatives of the sector have stated that the revenue obtained from sales to foreigners – which was in the region of 5 billion dollars last year – could exceed 10 billion dollars this year.
Aziz Torun, the Chairman of GYODER, said, “Long term residency and citizenship should also be given to foreigners. That will make foreigners feel more secure. This is being successfully implemented in European countries. Figures such as 500 thousand dollars and 1 million dollars should be set as the limit, and these privileges should be given to those who undertake large investments in particular.”
On the other hand, Ömer Faruk Çelik, the Chairman of KONUTDER, stated that foreigners were uneasy due to the lengthy bureaucratic procedures and said, “It’s no good having to wait 3-5 months for a one year residency permit. These procedures need to be easier. We should also not be afraid of giving citizenship. There is still the possibility of expelling those who commit offences. If citizenship is given, the interest from the Gulf states – which is already high – will increase swiftly, and Turkey will become a center of attraction. This will also cause some relief in the domestic market.” Çelik underlined that the revenue obtained from foreigners would at least double in the event that they are given long term residency or citizenship.
Nazmi Durbakayım, the Chairman of INDER, said that a significant activity would be seen in the real estate sector, if residency permits were given to foreigners. Durbakayım stated that it was necessary to take the correct steps during this process, and said, “Foreign investors were worried, but this needs to be eliminated. First of all, different pricing policies need to be implemented for foreigners. Very high commission levels are being talked about in the market, in sales to foreigners. Foreigners also need to be given, and be aware of state guarantees when they buy homes. That is to say, they need to be sure that there will be no changes in the planning after they have bought their homes, and that there will be no last minute changes.” Durbakayım stated that developers also had expectations from the public sector, in connection with the sales of homes, said that sales to foreigners needed to be considered as exports, and that there was an expectation for VAT refunds in this context.
What should the lower limit be for the residency and work permits to be given to foreigners?
Özen Kuzu, member of the Board of Directors of the Kuzu Group, suggested that residency permits should be given to foreigners who invest more than 500 thousand dollars, and said, “22 thousand properties were sold to foreigners last year. This will increase even more as a result of the residency permits to be given to them. It is not that difficult for this figure to rise to 50, or even 100 thousand. Our country is being scrutinized closely by foreign investors – primarily from the Gulf. Steps, which will turn this in our favor, based on a mutual win-win situation, will keep the sector alive in the coming years too.