Turkish housing sales surged 11.2% year-on-year in 2020 data showed on Thursday, driven by cheap loans extended to ease economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. A monetary tightening cycle began in the second half of the year.
Nearly 1.5 million houses, an all-time high, changed hands in Turkey last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said.
Of those sales, 40,812 were sold to foreigners, with approximately 50% (or 19,175 units) of them in Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population. House sales to foreigners slipped 10.3% year-on-year in 2020.
Following Istanbul, the holiday resort town of Antalya came in second with 7,735 properties last year. The capital Ankara ranked third with 2,746 properties.
Iranians topped the list of foreign buyers who bought 7,189 properties, followed by Iraqis with 6,674, Russians with 3,078, Afghans with 1,929 and Azerbaijanis with 1,279.
In overall sales, Istanbul maintained its top spot with 17.7% of house transfers last year. Ankara and the western province of Izmir followed with 10.5% and 6.2% shares, respectively.
Mortgages for house sales in the country climbed to 573,337 in 2020, an increase of 72.4% compared to the previous year.
Sales with mortgages had a 38% share of all house sales in Turkey. Currently, the mortgage rate is between 1.36% and 1.90% per month in Turkey.
As for December, the housing sales fell 47.6% year-on-year to 105,981 houses, the data showed, recording a fall for the fourth month in a row as borrowing costs rose from a summer low.
The data showed mortgage sales fell 70.9% and accounted for nearly 14% of the total.