Noting that the Home Turkey Home platform will make a significant contribution to increasing Turkey’s global real estate market share, ITO Chairman Şekib Avdagiç said, “It is very important that the platform be digital during the pandemic period. Thus, we will be able to introduce our country’s real estate market to foreign buyers and investors, and to explain all kinds of information and legal regulations regarding the sector. In other words, ‘we will introduce the world’s investors to Turkey’s real estate portfolio.”
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO), which is preparing to implement the Home Turkey Home project in cooperation with GIGDER, is an important nongovernmental organization that has a role in the progress of both Istanbul and the real estate sector, with its activities organized by professional committees and lobbying activities on the level of the government and municipalities. We talked with ITO President Şekib Avdagic about the benefits of the campaign and the sectoral works of ITO…
How would you describe the importance of this pivotal communication campaign for Turkey and the real estate sector?
In the 21st century, which is characterized as the digital age, it is a strategic threshold for the construction and real estate industry to promote itself and the houses it produces by using all kinds of digital means. Because, as in other countries, the construction and real estate sector has a significant weight in the Turkish economy. With the increase in the activities of this sector, there will be a positive movement in many sectors.
We are implementing ‘Home Turkey Home’ as a digital platform by setting big goals. Considering today’s epidemic conditions, we find it very important that the platform be digital in order to reach every person in the world. Thus, we will be able to promote our country’s real estate market to foreign buyers and investors, and to explain all kinds of information and legal regulations regarding the sector. In other words, we will introduce the world’s investors to Turkey’s real estate portfolio. With the contribution of the platform’s efforts, it is aimed to increase real estate sales to foreigners over $15 billion in 2023. The “Home Turkey Home” platform will contribute significantly to improving the competitiveness of Turkey in the international real estate sector and increasing its global market share.
What are the contributions of ITO within the scope of the Home Turkey Home campaign, the first step of which was taken with the Property Buying Guide: İstanbul?
As ITO, we care about promoting the real estate sector abroad and increasing its market share. In this context, we held the most prestigious events in the world’s largest real estate fairs and opened the most impressive stands. Because we know the multiplier effect that the real estate sector will have on our economy, especially on Istanbul. We are in cooperation with GIGDER for this reason. We aim to provide detailed information on real estate acquisition in our country, following the first step of the Property Buying Guide: İstanbul. Again, we plan to introduce our country’s health, education and investment opportunities to people who decide to live in our country. In addition, we will continue to inform investors about the advantages of our country, such as its position, young population, strong health system, and investment supports.
We believe that the Home Turkey Home project overlaps with our Chamber’s efforts to create a new vision. In this context, we are preparing various preliminary studies together with the association. We are planning to promote the project in bilateral meetings, international fair organizations, meetings with the real estate sector and other international participants held by our chamber.
As ITO, what steps are you taking to promote Turkey and develop the real estate market?
ITO is making serious efforts for the development of this sector. We carry out serious projects both at home and abroad. Under the leadership of our professional committees related to the domestic construction and real estate sector, we organize various activities from current problems to legal developments, from market opportunities to future plans of the sector. We are lobbying within the government and municipalities. We think that the construction industry is the driving force of the Turkish economy, and that even a moment’s interruption will cause discomfort in the economy.
We allocate a significant share of our chamber’s activities abroad to the construction and real estate sectors. We participate in many international fairs with brand value such as MIPIM, BAUMA, PROESTATE, CITYSCAPE in many fields such as Construction, Building Materials, Real Estate, Investment, Construction Machinery and Equipment. We take our members to these fairs. Our work in this direction continues at the fairs that have now been carried to the online environment due to the pandemic.
The realization of the real estate sector as an ‘exporter’ sector has been a demand of the sector for a long time. How do you view this issue?
The direct share of the construction sector in the Gross Domestic Product is 5.4 percent. If you add more than 200 sectors that it affects, its share in the economy reaches 30 percent. Between 2003 and 2019, we see that the growth of the construction sector was 7.2% on average. Even this figure alone reveals the importance of the sector for the economy. Such an important sector for the economy, in fact, contributes to Turkey’s earning foreign currency through real estate sales to foreigners. The housing sector also plays a brokering role as an invisible hand in financing the current account deficit. Especially when the 20 billion dollars of housing sales to foreigners, which the sector has set as a target for 2025, is realized, it will be a medicine for the current account deficit. In this respect, the construction sector does what exporting sectors do. In that case, what remains is the official acceptance of this quality of the construction sector, which is the de facto exporting sector.
What does Turkey offer to foreign real estate investors?
Our country, which unites the continents, offers access to a population of 1.3 billion and a market of 26 trillion dollars. However, Turkey, which is in a safe position for the transportation of energy resources through the EastWest channel, is one of the central countries. Our country, which has reduced the time for foreign investors to establish a company from 38 days to 6.5 days, does not oppress investors with bureaucracy. It is very important that we rank 33rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index.
Turkey is a country where big projects come to life. Our projects such as Osmangazi Bridge, Eurasia Tunnel, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and connection roads and Istanbul Airport are concrete examples of this. At the same time, the health campuses and city hospitals put into service in many provinces show the vision of our country. The urban transformation projects carried out strengthen the real estate market of Istanbul. It is expected that 6.5 million residential units will be renewed in the next 20 years. This means a sector of 400 billion dollars, which also contains important opportunities for foreign investors.