According to figures prepared by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK – Türkstat), domestic property sales in general in Turkey, that is including both Turkish and foreign nationals, shot up by 209.7% in June 2020 to 190,012 units compared with the same month of the previous year. Following the slump in the property market over the last two years, the improvement in property sales which started in August 2019 has been a welcome development. However, lockdown measures by the Turkish government to isolate the population and prevent movement to counter the spread of coronavirus had a negative effect especially on property sales in April and May.
As from the begining of June though, the lockdown had largely been lifted, and the three largest state banks of Ziraat Bank, VakıfBank and Halkbank extended a new loan incentive scheme with reduced rates to invigorate transition to normalization and revive social life, as economic activity steps up following a slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgages for new houses have been offered with up to 15 years maturity, with interest rates as low as 0.64% and a grace period of up to 12 months. Property sales in June have consequently surged. Of course, the increase of property sales in June was also due to the backlog of demand from April and May.
Mortgage sales increased by 1,286.9% to 101,504 units in June 2020, and made up 53.4% of all property sales compared with 11.9% in the same month of the previous year. This big increase in the use of mortagages reflects the new loan incentive schemes introduced by state banks at the beginning of June..
The number of property units sold for the first time, which made up 30.9% of total property sales, increased by 152% to 58,632 units in June 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. Used property sales which made up 69.1% of total sales in June 2020 increased by 244.9% to 131,380 units.
For the year 2019, property sales in Turkey were 1,348,729 units, a decrease of 1.9% on the previous year. Mortgage sales, which made up 24.7% of all property sales, increased by 20.1% to 332,508 units in 2019. The number of property units sold for the first time, 511,682 units, which made up 37.9% of total property sales, decreased by 21.5% in 2019 compared with the previous year. Used property sales, with 837,047 units, which made up 62.1% of total sales in 2019 increased by 15.6%.
Property sales to foreigners of 1,664 units in June 2020 showed a 38.1% decrease on the figure for the same month of the previous year, an 93.5% increase on the figure for the previous month of May, and represents 0.9% of total domestic sales in Turkey in June 2020. The decrease in sales is no doubt due to the spread of the coronavirus which has drastically reduced global travel and caused Turkey to close its borders. However, the figure for June 2020 is nevertheless a substantial recovery from the low results of the previous two months.
Property sales to foreigners for the year 2019 were 45,483 units, 3.4% of the total, and an increase of 14.7% on the 39,663 units for 2018, which was in turn 78.4% higher than the figure for the previous year 2017. The reason for the high number of property sales to foreigners over the last two years has been the weaker Turkish lira and the government’s easing of citizenship requirements in 2018 for foreigners, who can now obtain Turkish citizenship if they own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of USD 250,000.
In June 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iranian nationals with 398 units, followed by Iraq nationals with 257 units, Chinese nationals with 78 units, Azerbaijan nationals with 70 units, Russian nationals with 63 units, and Afghan nationals with 60 units. In 2019, of the total 45,483 units sold, highest sales were to Iraq nationals with 7,596 units, followed by Iranian nationals with 5,423 units, Russian nationals with 2,893 units, Saudi Arabian nationals with 2,208 units, Afghan nationals with 2,191 units, Kuwait nationals with 1,903 units, German nationals with 1,723 units, Jordanian nationals with 1,596 units, and Yemen nationals with 1,353 units.
Istanbul was the number one province attracting property sales to foreigners with 730 units in June 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 277 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 180 units. Of total sales in 2019 of 45,483 units, 20,857 units were sold in Istanbul, 9,951 units were sold in Antalya, 2,539 units were sold in Ankara, 2,213 units were sold in Bursa, 1,696 units were sold in Yalova, and 1,247 units were sold in Sakarya.