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, rose by 55.8% in January 2020 to 113,615 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 is a welcome development. The media however has highlighted the fall in property sales of 43.8% from 202,074 units in December 2019 to 113,615 units in January 2020, but overlooked the fact that a fall in sales over the yearend is however seasonal as buyers and sellers look at avoiding increased tax and other fees in the new year. The fall is however significant and may well indicate a new downturn in the housing market.
Mortgage sales, which made up 37.2% of all property sales, increased by 546.1% to 42,237 units in January 2020, with the lower bank mortgage loan rates in recent months being the main reason for this improvement.
The number of property units sold for the first time, which made up 31.7% of total property sales, increased by 16.1% in January 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. This offers some hope to the construction sector which is still stuck in the ongoing economic recession. Used property sales which made up 68.3% of total sales in January 2020 increased by 82.5%.
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 3,907 units in January 2020 showed a 23.3% increase on the figure for the same month of the previous year, and represents 3.4% of total domestic sales in Turkey in January 2020. Sales 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 January 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iraq nationals with 739 units, followed by Iranian nationals with 678 units, Russian nationals with 254 units, Afghan nationals with 204 units, Yemen nationals with 142 units, German nationals with 133 units, Kuwait nationals with 121 units, Saudi Arabian nationals with 110 units, Jordanian nationals with 107 units, and Palestinian nationals with 101 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 1,875 units in January 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 762 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 235 units, and the north-western provinces of Bursa and Yalova with 163 units and 128 units 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.