Turkiya: Antalya’s flat sales, rents rocket amid influx of Ukrainians, Russians The high interest of Russians and Ukrainians fleeing the war has sent home sales and rents in their beloved holiday spot in Turkey through the roof, according to data and industry officials.
Most of the Ukrainians are unable to return to their country, which is under constant shelling, while Russians fear they will be unable to go back home because of extensive Western sanctions on Moscow.
Facing uncertainty since Russia launched an invasion of its southern neighbor last month, some have flown to join their relatives residing in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, while others opted for renting or real estate purchases.
Both rents and house prices skyrocketed in most of the popular neighborhoods in Antalya. Residential property sales in the province jumped nearly 28% year-over-year in February to 4,727 units.
Some 1,099 of these were purchased by foreign buyers, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, a 106.2% year-over-year increase.
Russians came in third among top buyers last month with 509 houses, after Iranians with 711 and Iraqis with 633 houses.
The actual impact is expected to be seen once March figures are released as the invasion started on Feb. 24.
Rents nearly triple
But industry officials say some Russians were collectively buying 20 to 30 apartments at once, while rents nearly tripled from around TL 3,000 ($202) to between TL 8,000 and TL 10,000, according to business daily Dünya.
Antalya came in second after Istanbul among provinces with the highest sales to foreigners last month, said Davut Çetin, the head of Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO).
It ranks fourth after Istanbul, the capital Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir in total monthly home sales, he said.
Overall sales to foreigners climbed 54.9% in February year-over-year to 4,591 properties, according to the data, with Iranians, Iraqis and Russians purchasing the most properties.
“In February, the share of foreigners in all house sales was 5.65% in Turkey and 23.24% in Antalya,” Çetin told Dünya.
Uğur Fer, a real estate broker and senior executive at TamNoktaNeo, said the popularity of the property sector in Antalya surged after the conflict started.
Wealthy Russian citizens burst into real estate due to Western sanctions, Fer said, suggesting there were around 30,000 Russian and more than 9,000 Ukrainian residents living in the city of almost 2.7 million.
“Real estate sales have gained momentum in Antalya due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. Among the wealthy Russian citizens who have settled near their relatives in Antalya, there are some who collectively bought between 20 to 30 apartments,” he noted.
Fer stressed they are running short of properties. Some 45-50 apartments have been sold in the last six to seven days alone, he noted, adding he recently concluded 22 real estate contracts for his company.
“With the prospect of returning, rents for three to four months are also increasing,” he added. Prices of houses in Antalya range from TL 1 million to TL 1.2 million and reach as much as TL 2.2 million, depending on the size and the location of the property, Fer said.
“Prices have soared seriously,” he added, suggesting Lara and Kundu were the regions in the city most preferred by Russian and Ukrainian citizens.
Ender Anatca, the owner of the Alyans Real Estate company operating in Antalya’s Konyaaltı district, said rents had nearly tripled but warned there was a very limited cash inflow from Russia, which triggered a slowdown in sales to foreigners in the Konyaaltı region.
U.S. card giants MasterCard and Visa have suspended their Russian operations, although Russian cardholders in Turkey are able to access their funds through the country's homegrown payments system Mir.
Restrictions on card payments and flight operations have also raised fears of a slump in Russian tourism to Turkey, a key source of revenues for the country./DS