Residential property sales in Turkey more than doubled in May, according to official data released Wednesday, as foreign purchases skyrocketed with Russians topping buyers for the second month in a row.
Home sales increased 107.5% year-on-year last month to 122,768 units, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic had reduced sales to 55,166 units in May of last year.
According to the data, mortgaged sales increased 177.8% year-on-year to 29,335, accounting for 23.9% of total sales in the period.
The increase comes amid falling supply and rising prices, but households continue to see real estate as an appealing investment tool.
Boost in House Sales
Istanbul, Turkey's most populous city, had the lion's share with 22,148 units sold last month, an 18% increase. It was followed by the capital Ankara, which sold 11,497 homes, and the Aegean province of Izmir, which sold 7,159 homes.
According to the data, sales were down 7.73% month over month in May, however, from January to May, sales increased 37.7% year-on-year to 575,889 homes.
Russians are top foreign buyers
Foreigner sales increased 235.7% year-on-year to 5,962 units, according to the institute, following a 58.1% increase in April, as they sought to take advantage of Turkish Citizenship by Investment. In recent years, the scheme has made Turkish real estate more appealing.
Russian citizens topped the list with 1,275 houses in May, up from 1,152 in April, and 547 in March. Iranians and Iraqis came in second and third, with 736 and 617 houses, respectively. According to the data, Russians and Ukrainians accounted for more than 25% of sales to foreigners.
Many property companies report that wealthy Russians are pouring money into real estate in Turkey, seeking a financial haven in the aftermath of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and stifling Western sanctions.
Many Ukrainians fleeing the war have flown to join relatives in Turkey, while others have chosen to rent or buy real estate.
Ankara is attempting to strike a balance between its close ties with both Russia and Ukraine and has positioned itself as a neutral party attempting to mediate a resolution to the conflict.
2021 house sales worth 10 billion USD
Sector officials estimate that house sales to foreigners brought in 10 billion USD in 2021, reaching a record 58,576 units, a 43.5% year-over-year increase. The previous annual high was 45,483 units in 2019.
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