Despite pandemic, property sales top 1 million in first half of 2020

Istanbul property

Official data shows that despite the COVID-19 crisis and consequent lockdown enforcements, the first half of 2020 saw more than a million properties sold in Turkey.

In total, 1,058,448 residential and commercial properties, as well as plots of land, were sold during the period of six months between January and July this year, according to figures provided by the Anadolu Agency (AA). Of these, more than 625,000 sales were residential housing, the report confirms.

Popular destinations for buying property

Turkey’s highest populated city, and top tourist destination, Istanbul took the main share of these property sales, selling a total of 150,699 different units. This was followed by the capital, Ankara, which saw 93,511 sales, and Izmir – the Aegean province – which saw 58,852 properties sold.

Antalya, a Mediterranean resort city on the coast, and Bursa, a north-western province, completed the top five, both recording sales of more than 40,000 units.

Historically low interest rates in Turkey

An expert explained that the number of house sales with mortgages had reached an all-time high during the month of June, when public lenders began to offer historically low interest-rates with their loans.

The expert was quoted as saying that the high movement in the real estate sector could be maintained throughout the year; this is dependent on the banks continuing to offer their loan packages at the low-interest rates, saying: “Reaching over a million property sales despite the pandemic, recession and lockdown measures have shown the strength of the real estate sector.”

Another expert said that the industry had seen an increase of 23% in the sales during the first six months of 2020, explaining that more than half the sales had not been bought with mortgages, and the majority of the houses that had been bought were to be used as a primary residence, not investments.

Loan packages available in Turkey

Ziraat Bank, VakıfBank and Halkbank, who are Turkey’s three biggest banks extended their four additional loan packages on June 1 to help to revitalise the transition from the pre-COVID-19 period to the post-coronavirus new normality, with the view to revive social life across Turkey.

These packages include mortgages for new homes, loans for locally manufactured produce, loans for vehicle acquisitions and even loans to cover holiday expenses at annual interest rates running at below inflation rates.

The banks have said that mortgages will have a maturity of 15 years on new homes, with interest rates set at 0.64% and grace periods of up to 12 months.


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