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Housing sales to foreigners in Turkey increased by 78.3 percent in 2018

This photograph taken on September 28, 2018, shows a fisherman at work beside waterside mansions on the Bosphorus River coast on the Asian side of Istanbul. They are among the most iconic sights of Istanbul -- magnificent waterside mansions strung out along the Bosphorus as the waters of the strait dividing Europe and Asia lap almost at their front doors. Once the preserve of the Ottoman elite and affluent foreigners working in what was Constantinople, these mansions, known as yalis, were made famous in novels and more recently modern Turkey's hugely successful soap operas. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Housing sales to foreigners in Turkey grew by 78.3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, the Diken news website reported on Monday.

The number of sales last year over the previous year increased from 22,234 to 39,663, the report said.

The city most preferred by foreigners is İstanbul, where more than 14,000 housing sales were closed. İstanbul was followed by Antalya, Bursa, Ankara and Yalova.

In the northern city of Samsun sales to foreigners grew by 223 percent. Ankara, the capital city, also saw a 161 percent increase in foreign purchase of houses.

Iraqi citizens accounted for 20.7 percent of the buyers, followed by Iranians, Saudis, Russians, Kuwaitis and Afghans.

The Turkish parliament in September eased citizenship requirements, granting Turkish citizenship to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in Turkey or who buy real estate valued at a minimum of $250,000.

According to reports, over 250 people have applied for citizenship under the scheme since then.

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