The number of residential properties sold to foreigners increased 15.8 percent in March compared to the same month of last year, the national statistical body said Friday.

According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, 1,827 houses were sold to foreigners in March, of which 556 were in Istanbul, followed by Antalya, Bursa, Yalova and Trabzon.

Most of the house sales were made to Iraqi citizens, who bought 348 houses, followed by Saudis with 181, Iranians with 156, Russians with 120 and Afghans with 108 purchases.

Last year, foreigners purchased over 22,000 properties in Turkey. Iraqis were again at the top with 3,805 house purchases, followed by Saudis with 3,345, Kuwaitis with 1,691, Russians with 1,331 and Afghans with 1,078.

Overall, nearly 111,000 houses were sold in Turkey in March, a 14 percent drop from the same period last year, TurkStat said.

Some 50,701 houses were sold for the first time while the rest were re-sales, TurkStat reported.

“For the house sales of March 2018, Istanbul had the highest share … with 16.9 percent and 18,714 units,” the agency said. It added that the country’s largest city was followed by the capital Ankara with 11,269, or 10.2 percent, and the Aegean province of ─░zmir with 6,787, or 6.1 percent of sales.

“House sales with a mortgage were 29.6 percent of all house sales in Turkey,” it added. Last year, overall residential property sales amounted to 1.4 million with a 5.1 percent annual rise over 2016

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