Turkey home sales more than double as Russian purchases jump tenfold

Turkish sales of new and existing homes more than doubled in May from a year earlier, helped by a tenfold increase in purchases by Russians and an annual jump in mortgage lending.

Sales increased to 122,768 units last month from 59,168 units in May last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Wednesday.

Sales of homes to foreigners jumped by an annual 236 percent to 5,962 units, as Russians bought 1,275 units, the largest amount among non-Turkish nationalities. Russian citizens purchased 119 homes in May last year.

Turkey has said Russian citizens are welcome to invest and holiday in the country, including oligarchs. Iranian citizens bought the second most properties, purchasing 736 homes compared with 231 a year ago.

The number of home purchases financed from mortgages surged by 178 percent from a year ago to 29,335 units, the institute said.

Interest rates on mortgages in Turkey are far less than annual inflation after the government ordered the central bank to cut its benchmark lending rate late last year. People in Turkey are rushing to buy homes after house prices more than doubled, spurred on by a surge in building costs for new homes.

Annual interest rates on mortgages stood at 18.25 percent as of June 3, according to central bank data. That compares with consumer price inflation of 73.5 percent and the central bank’s benchmark interest rate of 14 percent.

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