Influx of Russians drives up home prices in Turkish resort, prompts call for ban

By , and
  • Russians attracted to Turkey as sanctions limit options
  • Seaside resort of Antalya long popular with Russians
  • Petition says influx driving locals out of housing market
  • Russians are now main foreign buyers of homes in Turkey

ANTALYA/ISTANBUL, Turkey, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Anzhelika is one of many Russians who moved to the Turkish resort of Antalya after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but their arrival has driven up house prices and rents, prompting a local petition seeking a ban on foreigners in the real estate market.

Some 13,000 people in the Mediterranean city have signed the petition since last month, worried that the big influx of foreigners - Ukrainians and others as well as Russians - means many Turks can no longer to afford to live there.

"It is a bit sad that we are not wanted here while we cannot return to our home country," said Anzhelika, who had managed a furniture store in Moscow before moving to Antalya in April with her husband to provide a better future for their two children.

"I believe foreigners coming here can contribute a lot to Antalya," she said when asked about the petition. "We did not come here for pleasure, we had to come here leaving behind our lives and homes."

Turkey is one of only a few nearby countries still open to Russian visitors and investment since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Russian language is commonly heard in Istanbul and in Antalya, long a popular holiday destination for Russians.

Anzhelika, 40, speaking via an interpreter, said she paid monthly rent of about 16,000 lira ($859) for her flat, while neighbours said it had been on the market for just 5,000-6,000 lira just a couple of months before she took it.

The petition, signed so far by 13,571 people on, says significant migration into Antalya has pushed house prices sharply higher and out of reach for students and other locals.


In the 10 months to October, 16,779 houses were sold to foreigners in Antalya, a 94% surge from a year earlier, official data shows, with sales shooting up especially after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Russians overtook Iranians as Turkey's biggest foreign home buyers, purchasing 11,334 properties nationwide in the first 10 months of the year, or a fifth of total foreign purchases. Those spending $400,000 or more are granted Turkish citizenship.

The government, looking to distribute foreign arrivals more evenly, has banned their further address registrations in 10 Antalya neighbourhoods.

One of the petition signatories, Mert Aslan, 27, said the price of a flat his family planned to buy had jumped to 3.5 million lira from 475,000 lira in a year.

"A regulation on housing should be brought in," he said. "The inflow of Russians and Ukrainians put us in a difficult situation. To portray their arrival as economic revival is manipulation, I think."

Turkey's housing cost strains have been further exacerbated by overall inflation, which is now near 85% on an annual basis.

Ankara has been highly critical of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine but opposes non-U.N. sanctions on Russia and has kept flights open with its Black Sea neighbour.

Russians have piled into real estate in Turkey to protect their funds from Western sanctions, including on credits cards, according to property companies.

The Antalya petition said rents had leapt nearly 400% in the last two years, and that one in every four residents of the central seaside Konyaalti district were now foreigners thanks to fallout from the war. Reuters could not verify the figures.

Yuksel Nezih Toreli, who heads a 229-apartment building complex in Konyaalti, said the demographic change was visible, including in the luxury vehicles now filling his car park.

The trend has brought benefits to some enterprising Turks.

Emirhan said he had found a way to profit from the soaring prices by renting out his apartment to foreigners for around 45,000 lira per month and living in his van.

($1 = 18.6328 liras)

Additional reporting by Azra Ceylan in Istanbul; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.