Home sales in Turkey jump 20%, supported by foreign purchases

Residential property sales in Turkey jumped 20% year-on-year in February, official data showed on Tuesday, supported by a continued rise in purchases by foreign buyers.

Sales jumped to 97,587 units last month, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said, accelerating from the previous month but still less than half of December’s extremely high level.

The figure was up from 81,222 in the same month a year ago. The reading followed year-on-year increases of 25.1% and 113.7% in January and December, respectively.

This reflects last year’s weak base effect caused by the coronavirus pandemic, when sales were well below historical averages.

Sales in February were well below the 226,503 homes that changed hands in December.

Data showed mortgage sales jumped 35.6% last month from a year earlier to 19,888, accounting for around 20.4% of all sales.

Overall home sales in the January-February period rose 22.5% year-on-year to 185,893, the data showed, with mortgage sales up 49.9%.

Property sales had accelerated amid a depreciating Turkish lira, with authorities continuing the new economic policy of low interest rates to boost credit, exports and investment, saying it would help the country fight against inflation.

To support this dynamic, the central bank of Turkey had lowered the benchmark key rate by 500 points since September to 14%.

Sales to foreigners soared 54.9% in February year-on-year to 4,591 properties, with Iranians, Iraqis and Russians buying the most properties.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population, took the lion’s share of sales to foreign buyers with 1,958 units.

The Mediterranean resort of Antalya followed with 1,099 properties, while the capital Ankara came third with 288.

Iranians top the list with 711 homes purchased, followed by Iraqis with 633 and Russians with 509.

Sales to foreigners in the first two months of the year jumped 55.5 percent on an annual basis to 8,843, according to TurkStat data.

For 2021 as a whole, total home sales fell 0.5% to 1.49 million properties, with mortgage sales down 49%.

Property sales to overseas buyers have been strong throughout 2021 and surpassed the annual threshold of 50,000 units for the first time through November before the year was even out.

Sales ended 2021 with a 43.5% year-over-year increase to 58,576 units. The previous annual record was set in 2019 when 45,483 homes were sold to foreigners in 12 months.

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