Residential property sales in Turkey increased by 6.5% in August compared to the same month in 2014 and the country has seen strong growth in purchases by foreign buyers.

The data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) shows the number of international buyers have increased 15.2% year on year.

According to one of the country’s real estate agencies that deals with foreign buyers, Universal 21, the market is proving particularly popular with buyers from Gulf States.

According to the firm’s director Adil Yaman the annual Cityscape Global real estate expo in Dubai saw increased interest from buyers in the region. Some 50 Turkish exhibitors showcased their latest developments at the event which is the Middle East’s largest and most influential property expo.

‘Whilst buyers from Gulf States have long been the top nationality purchasing properties within our Istanbul projects, there has been a noticeable uplift in enquiry levels in recent months from such buyers,’ he explained.

‘With a focus on newly built projects that offer a good mix of properties and onsite facilities, there certainly seems to be a trend towards the upmarket district of Beylikdüzü and schemes that offer a rent guarantee, maximising the ROI for purchasers,’ he added.

Indeed, the official statistics from Turkstat show that Iraqis were the most prevalent nationality buying in Turkey, accounting for 19.6% of foreign property sales, followed by Saudi Arabian buyers with 13.3% and purchasers from Kuwait at 11.1%.

Yaman believes that the trend is set to continue with rising numbers of Arab visitors arriving in Turkey’s major tourist destination of Istanbul in 2015. Recent data released from the Istanbul Culture and Tourism Directorate indicates that the number of Arab tourists has almost doubled since 2010.

‘In relation to this, private residential buyers from the Middle East are also increasing their hold in the property market, with the growing tourist interest being reflected in the expanding second home market,’ he said.

Diana Dogan, CBRE Turkey’s head of research, said the firm has seen a significant increase in investors from the Middle East buying in the second home holiday market. They are particularly looking at properties in the Marmara Sea and Black Sea regions, as well as Istanbul, Bursa, and Yalova.

‘At the corporate investment level, this demand has in turn created a yet untapped potential opportunity to develop homes specifically tailored to the Arab market. The Turkish banking sector has seen the most active interest with Arab financial institutions looking to gain a foothold or expand their presence within Turkey’s lucrative banking industry,’ she added.

Istanbul is an attractive real estate market for foreign investors, according to one of the country’s big developers Dumankaya. ‘With its economic stability, social welfare, geographical position and return on investment all pointing in the right direction, buyers from around the world are flocking to take ownership of prime developments in the city and surrounding areas,’ chairman of the board of directors, Ugur Dumankaya.

He added that 30% of the developer’s total sales are to foreign investors, the majority of whom are from the Gulf Cooperation Council area and the wider Middle East.