Residential property sales in Turkey jumped 20% year-over-year in February, official data showed Tuesday, supported by a continuing climb in purchases by foreign buyers.
Sales jumped to 97,587 units last month, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said, picking up pace from a month earlier but still less than half the extremely high level in December.
The figure was up from 81,222 in the same month a year ago. The reading followed annual rises of 25.1% and 113.7% in January and December, respectively.
It reflected last year’s low base effect caused by the coronavirus pandemic when sales were well below historical averages.
Sales in February were well below 226,503 houses that changed hands in December.
The data showed mortgaged sales jumped 35.6% last month from a year earlier to 19,888, accounting for around 20.4% of all sales.
Overall house sales in the January-February period climbed 22.5% year-over-year to 185,893, the data showed, with mortgaged sales up 49.9%.
Real estate sales had accelerated amid a depreciation in the Turkish lira, with the authorities pursuing the new economic policy of low interest rates to boost credit, exports and investments, saying it would help the country weather inflation.
To support the drive, Turkey’s central bank had brought down the benchmark policy rate by 500 points since September to 14%.
Sales to foreigners climbed 54.9% in February year-over-year to 4,591 properties, with Iranians, Iraqis and Russians purchasing the most properties.
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city in terms of population, enjoyed the lion’s share of sales to foreign buyers at 1,958 units.
The Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 1,099 properties, while the capital Ankara came third with 288.
Iranians topped the list as they purchased 711 houses, followed by Iraqis with 633 and Russians with 509.
Sales to foreigners in the first two months of the year jumped 55.5% on an annual basis to 8,843, according to TurkStat data.
In 2021 as a whole, total house sales declined 0.5% to 1.49 million properties, with mortgaged sales down 49%.
Property sales to foreign buyers were strong throughout 2021 and had exceeded the annual threshold of 50,000 units for the first time through November even before the year-end.
Sales ended 2021 with a 43.5% year-over-year increase to hit 58,576 units. The previous annual record was set in 2019 when 45,483 houses were sold to foreigners in 12 months.