Stating that the congruity between technology and design has become very important in the real estate sector, GYODER President Mehmet Kalyoncu said, “Turkey has thematic technoparks, entrepreneurship and incubation centres in the field of energy and health. Our goal is to create this cluster in the real estate sector in the medium term. GYODER’s main route now is the 3T principle; it consists of ‘Nature’ (‘Tabiat’), ‘Technology’ (‘Teknoloji’) and ‘Design’ (‘Tasarım’). Sustainability is our priority.”
The concepts of ‘sustainability’, ‘digitalization’ and ‘natural life’, which have guided the real estate sector with the pandemic, are now effective not only in designing housing projects, but also in decisions taken about the future of the sector. The sector is also ready for new collaborations in Turkey in the medium and long term in many areas from training in the field to support to start-ups. We talked to Mehmet Kalyoncu, President of the Real Estate and Real Estate Investment Trust Association (GYODER) and Member of the GIGDER High Advisory Board, about the 2021 route of the sector and GYODER…
How do you evaluate the real estate sector in Turkey’s direction of development?
The necessity of bringing real estate closer with disciplines such as technology and design is a reality of the era we live in. For this, we have increased our cooperation with universities. With the Economic Research Foundation, we launched the postgraduate thesis awards competition in the field of real estate for the first time in Turkey.
We started the data science and artificial intelligence program in real estate with Yıldız Technical University (YTU). In the Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Distance Education Certificate Program in Real Estate we held with YTU, start-ups that stood out with their real estate applications spoke and talked about their experiences. Thus, we combined theoretical knowledge with practical applications. We will raise awareness with a certificate program that explains what is the intersection of real estate and technology, with a more inclusive framework than artificial intelligence and data science.
Turkey’s thematic technoparks, venture centres and incubation centres in the field of energy and health, unfortunately, do not exist in the field of construction and real estate. Proptech will bring us this ecosystem and cluster. As one of the largest sectors in Turkey, our goal is to create this cluster in the medium term. Today, start-ups need to seek us more to bid, consult our ideas and collaborate with us. Of course, we always need to support start-ups as well.
At this point, what is GYODER’s route this year?
GYODER’s main route now is the 3T principle; it consists of ‘Nature’ (‘Tabiat’), ‘Technology’ (‘Teknoloji’) and ‘Design’ (‘Tasarım’). For us, sustainability issues are at the forefront of our main activities. We are in a period in which human habits are better examined in real estate, and the congruity between technology and design becomes very important. The pandemic process has revealed the importance of the design of experience. In other words, it has become important to think about the experience and to have the spaces designed in the most appropriate way for the user experience. The sense of responsibility brought by the awareness that each project has left a mark on the city in terms of its environmental impact has become the real estate sector’s brand-new perspective. In 2021 and beyond, this awareness will ensure the emergence of a human-oriented development that puts people first in our cities.
Can we get some information about your work that guides foreign investors as GYODER?
In addition to its natural and cultural richness, our country is an attractive country with tourism, entertainment, fair and congress tourism. Turkey has carried its infrastructure above world standards in recent years. We have seen the importance of this especially during the pandemic period when our strong health infrastructure was tested. We have very valuable projects that have been implemented considering all aspects such as communication infrastructure, airports, hospitals, highways, and energy facilities.
Regarding foreign investors, with the move of our Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, it was an important step to reduce the requirement of granting citizenship to foreigners who buy real estate worth $1 million to $250,000. In 2018, when the new regulations were implemented, the area where the revival in the real estate sector was the most intense was the sales made to foreign investors. Housing sales to foreigners has exceeded 220,000 to date, up from 12,181 in 2013 when the Reciprocity Law, which paved the way for housing sales to foreigners in Turkey, came into effect.
We aim to show the ways for foreigners to own real estate in Turkey with the booklet “Owning Property in Turkey from A to Z”, which we have prepared for foreign investors as GYODER. The booklet that we constantly update and present to the participants, especially at the fairs abroad, covers the basic issues to be considered regarding all processes from real estate acquisition in Turkey, to holding the real estate, to the stage of selling it and to obtaining citizenship through investment. In addition to these, we have made important contributions to the changes in the Capital Markets Board’s Communique on Principles Regarding REITs, which the industry has been waiting for a long time. With the devoted teamwork of the REIT Committee under the umbrella of GYODER, which lasted about 1 year, the factors that will affect the future of REITs were revealed. With the very positive approach of the CMB Chairman and his team, whom we visited as GYODER Management, real problems were identified, and necessary arrangements were made. We believe that REITs will continue their activities more effectively with the regulations that pave the way for REITs whose market size has reached TL 58 billion.
MIPIM, the world’s most prestigious real estate fair, has been postponed to September due to the pandemic. Could you tell us the importance of the fair for the sector?
The world’s most prestigious real estate fair, MIPIM, which we, as GYODER, undertook to participate in to represent our country, was postponed to September this year and narrowed its scope due to the pandemic. The MIPIM we are accustomed to, which will be attended by real estate representatives from over 100 countries, is planned to be held in 2022. At MIPIM, where it is very important for us to tell about Turkey and Istanbul, we think that we should convey very well the promise of real estate in our country for foreign investors.
Foreign investors are perceived as foreign residential customers rather than corporate firms. We are trying to reverse this situation. Also, as GYODER, we meet with established corporate foreign real estate companies in Turkey. We listen to their demands and forward them to the decision-makers collectively. Because we believe that the satisfaction of existing foreign investors is very effective in the attraction of new foreign investors.