Turkey housing market sees 1.35 mln in sales in 2019
House sales dropped by 1.9 percent - or 26,669 units - in 2019, compared to the previous year, according to TÜİK 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 house sales with 17.6 percent or 237,675 houses in the year.
Official data showed that the capital Ankara and the Aegean province of İzmir racked up 132,486 (9.8 percent) and 79,221 (5.9 percent) of total housing sales, respectively.
Mortgaged house sales were recorded at 332,508 - a 24.7 percent share of all house sales over the same period.
In December 2019, house sales rose by 47.7 percent 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 percent 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 house sales. Iranians, Russians, Saudi Arabians, and Afghans were among the top five.
In December 2019, foreigners bought some 5,300 houses, up 16.2 percent 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 Erkurtoğlu, 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."
Lower interest rates for housing loans and deposits affected housing sales positively, he highlighted.
The Turkish Central bank lowered interest rates to 12 percent from 24 percent 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 (around $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 conveyed.