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 124.3% in July 2020 to 229,357 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 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.
Mortgage sales increased by 900.6% to 130,721 units in July 2020, and made up 57% of all property sales compared with 12.8% 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 38.1% of total property sales, increased by 74.5% to 67,937 units in July 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year. Used property sales which made up 70.4% of total sales in July 2020 increased by 155% to 161,420 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 2,741 units in July 2020 showed a 34.6% decrease on the figure for the same month of the previous year, a 64.7% increase on the figure for the previous month of June, and represents 1.2% of total domestic sales in Turkey in July 2020. Property sales to foreigners have been recovering since the lockdown relating to the coronavirus pandemic was relaxed in June. With the expected fall in overall property sales in Turkey in the coming month of August as a result of the increase in bank loan interest rates, property sales to foreigners are likely to achieve a higher proportion of total sales in August.
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 July 2020, sales to middle-eastern nationals continued at over 50% of the total. Highest sales were to Iranian nationals with 540 units, followed by Iraq nationals with 388 units, Russian nationals with 154 units, Afghan nationals with 149 units, German nationals with 143 units, and Azerbaijan nationals with 115 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 1,046 units in July 2020. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya was the second most popular province with 615 units, followed by the capitol Ankara with 250 units and the Mediterranean province of Mersin with 101 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.