Residential property sales in Turkey in the last five years – between Sept. 2014 and Aug. 2019 – have hit nearly 6.6 million units, with 137,869 of them sold to foreigners.
Sales, particularly to foreigners, have shown steady growth since 2012 when parliamentary law made it easier for foreign investors to purchase real estate in Turkey.
Housing sales peaked in the last five years, with the highest-ever figure recorded in 2017 at 1.4 million units, compared to 1.16 million in 2014, 1.28 million in 2015, 1.34 million in 2016 and 1.37 million in 2018.
Despite high-interest rates and fluctuations, sales in the first eight months of this year hit 718,570 units.
The recent rate cuts by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) and subsequent decline in housing loan rates have boosted confidence in the construction sector and improved macro indicators. Overall, house sales are expected to hit at least 1.1 million units at the year-end.
ISTANBUL, ANKARA LEAD
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Istanbul took the lead in the last five years with 1.2 million in residential units sold. It was followed by the capital Ankara with 691,494 units, İzmir with 387,614 units, Antalya with 307,764 units and Bursa with 253,569 units. During this period, 176,000 housing units were sold in Mersin, 174,000 in Kocaeli, 164,000 in Konya, 156,000 in Tekirdağ, 155,000 in Aydın, 146,000 in Kayseri, 137,000 in Adana, 136,000 in Balıkesir, 135,000 in Gaziantep, 111,000 in Eskişehir, Manisa and Samsun each, 109,000 in Sakarya, and 102,000 units in Hatay.
Meanwhile, other provinces that crossed the 50,000 threshold in residential sales include Şanlıurfa with 94,000 units, Muğla with 88,000, Diyarbakır with 86,000, Denizli with 79,000, Kahramanmaraş with 72,000, Çanakkale with 63,000, Trabzon with 62,000, Malatya with 58,000, Yalova with 52,000 and Elazığ with 50,463 units.
In the said period, only 704 houses were sold in Hakkari, while 956 units changed hands in Ardahan, 3,091 in Bayburt, 3,782 in Şırnak, 5,634 in Tunceli, 5,891 in Gümüşhane, 6,829 in Iğdır, 7,054 in Bitlis, 7,409 in Muş, and 8,992 units in Artvin.
The rate of ownership or house renting throughout Turkey has changed in recent years, albeit low. Ownership rate was 60.9% in 2006 and house renting was 23.5% in 2006, while this rate was recorded at 59.1% and 24.7%, respectively, in 2017.
138,000 UNITS SOLD TO FOREIGNERS
The number of houses sold to foreigners reached 137,869 in the last five years, between September 2014 and August 2019. This year has lead residential sales monthly, while sales peaked in 2018.
In the first eight months of this year, the number of houses sold to foreigners increased by 50% compared to the same period of 2018, reaching 27,748. Especially in the January-July period, significant increases were recorded monthly.
Foreign residential sales stood at 39,663 in 2018, 22,234 in 2017, 18,189 in 2016, 22,830 in 2015, and 7,205 in the last four months of 2014.
Istanbul covered more than one-third (36.4%) of the 137,869 houses purchased by foreigners in the last five years. In the said period, 50,247 houses were sold to foreigners in Istanbul, while the figure was 12,355 in eight months of this year.
Foreign residential sales in Istanbul last year stood at 14,270 units, while previously totaling 8,182 in 2017, 5,811 in 2016, 7,493 in 2015 and 2,136 in the last four months of 2014.
While Antalya took the lead in foreign residential sales in 2014, Istanbul was by far the leader in the following years.
In the last five years, 30,840 units were sold to foreigners in Antalya, 8,825 in Bursa, 6,935 in Yalova, 5,901 in Ankara, 4,827 in Aydın, 4,678 in Sakarya, 4,652 in Trabzon and 3,773 in Mersin.
IRAQIS LEAD FOREIGN BUYERS' LIST
In the January 2015-August 2019 period, Iraqis led the foreign buyers' list, purchasing some 24,020 units, followed by Saudis with 12,011, Kuwaitis with 9,012, Iranians with 8,987 and Russians with 8,579.
Afghans purchased 6,319 units in the said period, followed by Germans with 5,273 units, British with 4,721, Azerbaijanis with 4,328 and Ukrainians with 2,654 housing units.
Foreign residential sales showed a rapid increase in the last year due to the high exchange rate and legislative amendments that eased the minimum requirements for acquiring Turkish citizenship, which has led investors from all over the world to benefit from this opportunity and acquire residential property in the country
Under regulations introduced on Sept. 19, 2018, foreigners who own real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of $250,000 – down from $1 million – are eligible for Turkish citizenship.
According to the Interior Ministry's General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, some 2,611 foreign buyers became Turkish citizens a year after the amendments were introduced.