Turkey home sales more than double to record high on cheap borrowing

Sales of homes in Turkey more than doubled to the highest level on record in July as state-run banks led a lending boom at low rates of interest.

Sales of new and existing houses and apartments surged to 229,357 units from 102,236 units in July last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on its website on Monday. Sales had totalled 190,012 units in June.

Turkey’s government is seeking to spur a revival in the country’s construction industry, which was hit hard by a currency crisis in the summer of 2018, which left many builders with a large stock of unsold homes and expensive foreign currency debt.

Sales of homes via mortgages surged by more than 900 percent annually in July to 130,721 units, the institute said.

Sales of new homes lagged overall housing sales, with transactions increasing by an annual 75 percent to 67,937 units last month.  

Housing sales to foreigners dropped by 35 percent annually to 2,741 units in July, the institute said.

Turkish state-run banks have offered mortgages carrying interest rates at or below annual inflation of 11.8 percent, helping to spur demand for homes. Other banks have followed suit to remain competitive, slashing their own interest rates.