Kurds prefer buying property in Turkey rather than in Iraqi Kurdistan

ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Many of the homes sold in Turkey are being bought by residents of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region in more than a year that Erbil has been at war with the Islamic State (IS), according to Kurds in the property market. “At least 40 percent of homes we have sold in Turkey were bought by people from Kurdistan,” since the start of the IS war in August last year, said Haji Salam, a businessman from Kurdistan who is working in real estate in Turkey. According to official statistics in Turkey, more than 14,000 houses and apartments were sold to foreigners in the first eight months of this year, close to a quarter more than the same period in 2014. For all of 2014, 18,000 homes were sold to non-nationals. For foreign buyers, one of the attractions of purchasing real estate in Turkey is that property owners can apply for residence in Turkey. There has been a growing exodus of young people from Kurdistan, blamed on the war, disagreements among political parties over an extension to the presidency and financial woes aggravated by a long-running dispute with Baghdad, which refuses to pay Erbil its share of spending from the national budget. In a message on the Muslim festival of Eid in September, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani urged young Kurds to stop migrating in large numbers. “I call on the youth of the Kurdistan region to stay in their homeland. The crises are tough, but they can be resolved also,” he said. Bilal Kuzal, a housing sector engineer from Turkey, said that property is cheaper in Turkey and that is why more people are attracted to it. “People in the region often visit Turkey, especially as tourists. So they eventually think about owning a home in the country,” Kuzal explained.