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, increased by 54.2% in August 2020 to 170,408 units compared with the same month of the previous year.
Following the recent slump in the property market in April and May due to the coronavirus pandemic, as from the beginning of June 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. 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 and July have consequently surged. However, from the second week of August, the Turkish Central Bank, faced with pressure on the Turkish lira had no choice but to increase the cost of borrowing through backdoor measures, forcing banks to increase their interest rates. Indeed, there has been a fall in the increase in August compared with the increases recorded in June and July of 209.7% and 124.3% respectively. With tighter monetary and fiscal measures being introduced by the government, property sales can be expected decrease further in the months to come.
Mortgage sales increased by 122.6% to 76,019 units in August 2020, and made up 44.6% of all property sales compared with 30.9% in the same month of the previous year.
The number of property units sold for the first time, which made up 30.6% of total property sales, increased by 28.3% to 52,123 units in August 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. Used property sales which made up 69.4% of total sales in August 2020 increased by 69.2% to 118,285 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 3,893 units in August 2020 showed an 8% increase on the figure for the same month of the previous year, a 42% increase on the figure for the previous month of July, and represents 2.3% of total domestic sales in Turkey in August 2020.
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 August 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iranian nationals with 640 units, followed by Iraq nationals with 592 units, Russian nationals with 366 units, Afghan nationals with 156 units, Azerbaijan nationals with 154 units, UK nationals with 140 units, Kuwait nationals with 137 units, and German nationals with 134 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 1,648 units in August 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 784 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 288 units, the Mediterranean province of Mersin with 148 units, and the north-western provinces of Yalova and Bursa with 133 units and 119 respectively. 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.