Nearly 1.35 million housing units were sold in Turkey last year, the country’s statistical authority announced on Wednesday.
Housing sales dropped by 1.9% or 26,669 units in 2019, compared to the previous year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data.
Nearly 511,700 houses were sold for the first time while the remaining were second-hand sales from January to December.
Istanbul — Turkey’s largest city by population and one of its top tourist centers — took the largest share of housing sales with 17.6% or 237,675 houses in the year.
Official data showed that the capital Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir racked up 132,486 (9.8%) and 79,221 (5.9%) of total housing sales, respectively.
Mortgaged housing sales were recorded at 332,508 — a 24.7% share of all sales over the same period.
In December 2019, housing sales rose by 47.7% to reach some 202,000 units — 75,480 new and almost 126,600 second-hand — on a yearly basis.
House sales to foreigners
Last year, some 45,500 houses were bought by foreigners, up 14.7% compared to 2018.
Istanbul was the top city for foreigners with 20,857 property sales in 2019, while Mediterranean resort city Antalya (8,951 sales), the capital Ankara (2,539 sales) and a northwestern province Bursa (2,213 sales) followed it.
Iraqi citizens were top buyers of Turkish properties with 7,596 housing sales. Iranians, Russians, Saudi Arabians and Afghans were among top five.
In December 2019, foreigners bought some 5,300 housing units, up 16.2% on a yearly basis. Nearly 900 houses were bought by Iraqis, some 76 by Iranians and 362 by Russians.
Interest rates affect house sales
Ahmet Erkurtoglu, the deputy head of the Contractors’ Association of Istanbul’s Anatolian Side, said: “Housing sales had topped the 100,000 mark in recent months and it exceeded the 200,000 mark last December for the first time,” he underlined.
Lower interest rates for housing loans and deposits affected housing sales positively, he highlighted.
The Turkish Central bank lowered interest rates to 12% from 24% gradually during eight monetary policy meetings in 2019.
He said the construction sector will focus on urban transformation projects in 2020 and build housing units worth up to 1 million Turkish liras (some $169,500).
“We can sell around 1.2-1.3 million housing units in 2020 again, we target to sell 60,000 units to foreigners in 2020,” he underlined.