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, fell by 6.9% in September 2020 to 136,744 units compared with the same month of the previous year.
Following the recent slump in the property market earlier in the year in April and May due to the coronavirus pandemic, as from the begining 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 was a fall in the increase in August to 54.2% 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 fell by 6.9% in September and can be expected to decrease further in the months to come.
Mortgage sales increased by 38.5% to 35,576 units in September 2020, and made up 26% of all property sales compared with 39.4% in the same month of the previous year.
The number of property units sold for the first time, which made up 30.3% of total property sales, fell by 19.5% to 41,376 units in September 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. Used property sales which made up 69.7% of total sales in September 2020 decreased by 0.1% to 95,368 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 30.3% 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 5,289 units in September 2020 showed a 26.6% increase on the figure for the same month of the previous year, a 35.9% increase on the figure for the previous month of August, and represents 3.9% of total domestic sales in Turkey in September 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 September 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iranian nationals with 908 units, followed by Iraq nationals with 826 units, Russian nationals with 448 units, Kuwaiti nationals with 241 units, Kazakhistan nationals with 222 units, UK nationals with 197 units, Azerbaijan nationals with 183 units, Afghan nationals with 166 units, German nationals with 161 units, and Yemeni nationals with 159 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 2,370 units in September 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 1,018 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 347 units, the north-western province of Bursa with 239 units, the Mediterranean province of Mersin with 191 units, and the north-western province of Yalova with 168 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.