Turkey lifts ban on foreign investment

Turkey's parliament has lifted a ban on the sale of real estate to foreigners, ending a month-long saga that cast a shadow over foreign and domestic investment into the country's growing real estate market.

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party lived up to its vow to swiftly end a ban on sales of property to foreigners by amending a bill that overturned a ruling by the country's highest court at the beginning of April against the sales.

Emma Bucknall, a real estate lawyer at Paul Hastings in London said in the firm’s monthly Client Alert document: “The initial ruling by Turkey's Constitutional Court had caused a significant fall in real estate values and deterred foreign investors.”

According to Paul Hastings, The Constitutional Court had cancelled a single article of the law that gave authority to the Cabinet to remove limits on property sales to foreigners – set at 2.5 hectares as long as the total area sold to foreigners did not exceed 30 hectares and was not more than 0.5 percent of the area of a province.

Opposition politicians wanted the change because of the concerns that foreign firms were buying up all available agricultural land and strategic coastal locations.

The amended bill that lifted the ban gave the Government the authority to allow foreigners to buy up to 10 percent of land in a zoned area taking into consideration the significance of issues including infrastructure, economy, energy, the environment, culture and agriculture.

Turkey has been attracting a range of foreign investors of late. Marathon Asset Management, the global asset manager with $11 billion (€6.9 billion) under management, has opened an office in Istanbul, Turkey, in a bid to expand investments in the wider region. London-based Cordea Savills said recently it planned to launch the Cordea Savills Turkish Property Ventures fund. Earlier in the year, Apollo Real Estate teamed up with the Turkish arm of Morgan Stanley’s Multi Corporation to acquire a site in Meter, Istanbul, from French hypermarket group Carrefour and partner Sabanci Holding.