Through analysis of a low-income neighbourhood in Istanbul in the context of '2018 construction peace', this article considers the linked dynamics of neoliberal governmentality and electoral exchange. The 2018 law allowed the government to retroactively legalize informal construction, further encouraging its inclusion into the formal market. This strengthens the financialization of the urban property market by encouraging owners of informal dwellings to embrace a rationality based on the exchange, rather than the use value of housing. At the same time, this initiative was a throwback to an older policy. Enacted in the run-up to a closely contested election as part of a package of targeted deals and concessions, this initiative is compatible with the populist politics of electoral exchange.