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, plunged by 55.5% in April 2020 to 42,783 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, precautions by the Turkish government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic introduced in the second half of March had already started to have a negative effect on property sales that month. Throughout the month of April, measures to isolate the population and prevent movement became stricter. Under these circumstances, many potential property buyers would have postponed their efforts to research and view property, and it is surprising that so many units were sold as they were.
Mortgage sales, which made up 39.9% of all property sales, fell by 23.9% to 17,088 units in April 2020.
The number of property units sold for the first time, which made up 34.7% of total property sales, fell by 60.7% to 14,848 units in April 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. Used property sales which made up 65.3% of total sales in April 2020 fell by 52.1% to 27,935 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 790 units in April 2020 showed a 78.8% decrease on the figure for the same month of the previous year, a 74% decrease on the figure for the previous month of March, and represents 1.8% of total domestic sales in Turkey in April 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.
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 April 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iranian nationals with 157 units, followed by Iraq nationals with 103 units, Russian nationals with 61 units, and Afghan nationals with 54 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 374 units in April 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 150 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 47 units, and the Aegean province of Izmir with 30 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.