House sales in Turkey surged 12.8 percent in first month of 2017 from a year earlier, official data revealed on Friday.In January 2017, 95,389 houses were sold, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

Purchases via mortgaged loans were 35,993 in the month, up 35.4 percent from the same month of the previous year.

This reflected consumers seeking to benefit from the declining cost of mortgage loans after lenders cut rates following a call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

House sales with a mortgage accounted for a 37.7 percent share of all house sales in Turkey, according to the report.

The number of houses sold to foreigners in the month was 1,386 — down 5.2 percent compared to same month of last year — suggesting non-Turkish nationals had downshifted investments amid perceived political uncertainty.

In cities, where foreigners most heavily invested in real estate, Istanbul was the leading province with 441 sales in January 2017.

Next was Antalya with 264 sales, Bursa with 137, Ankara with 72, Sakarya with 70 and Yalova with 62.

The authorities expect sales to foreigners to gear up again in the coming period as the government recently enacted a law which introduced an exemption of value-added tax for foreigners who make real estate investments in Turkey.

“Tax exemptions for foreigners who bought houses in Turkey is very wise move. This will give a serious boost to the sector,” the head of the Istanbul Constructors’ Association, Nazmi Durbakayim said.

Ali Agaoglu, head of Agaoglu Group, one of top construction groups in Turkey, echoed the views of Durbakayim, stressing the move was in line with practices in other countries and was very positive for the sector.

Apart from the recent exemption of value added tax, the Turkish government also introduced a regulation on Jan. 12 which enabled foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship on condition of bringing fixed capital investments of at least $2 million or who owned real estate in Turkey worth a minimum $1 million with the special condition of not selling it for at least three years.

Source: AA