We Promote Turkey with Real Estate Exports
As the guest of GIGDER’s online interview series G-Talks, GIGDER Vice Chairman of the Board, Bayram Tekçe said: “As in the tourism sector, we are promoting Turkey with real estate export. Each one of the foreign investors buying property in Turkey is our honorary ambassador. We believe that our country can get 20 billion dollars in real estate investment each year.”
Real Estate International Promotion Association’s (GIGDER) online interview series’ G-TALKS, which has started for creating international investor awareness and develop the sector’s know-how, had GIGDER Vice Chairman of the Board and Tekçe Overseas Chairman of the Board, Bayram Tekçe as the latest guest.
Tekçe stated that there is a 400 billion-dollar worth international real estate economy in the world. He also stated that they foresee Turkey can get a share between 5% and 8% share of the world's international market. It will be parallel to Turkey’s current share in the world tourism economy. He said that there is a sense like all properties in Turkey are getting sold to foreigners. But our country’s share is only at 1-2% in the world real estate housing market. He continued “With real estate export, we are promoting Turkey just like in the tourism industry. Each foreign investor actually buys property in Turkey because they like our country, with good hopes. Actually, each one of these investors is our honorary ambassador. We need to open more honorary ambassadorships because we have a long way to go. We believe that Turkey can get 20 billion dollars in real estate investment each year.”
We Became Member of the Service Exporters’ Association
After highlighting that real estate sale activities are also a service export, Tekçe stated that there is a need for platforms to make organs and institutions representing real estate export public works heard. After reminding that their first step in this context is being a member of the Service Exporter’s Association, Tekçe highlighted entrepreneurs bring the sector today with their means for 19 years and continued:
“Sectorally, since 2004 without state support, we are doing promotion of our country by traveling fair by fair and country by country. We have brave entrepreneurs who facing bureaucratic problems in various countries, but not giving up. I believe that this trade soul must be supported. As GİGDDER, we achieved 88 members. Our members are promoting our country by founding offices in various parts of the world. We have a member that founded an office abroad only for selling property from Turkey.”
Turkey, One of the First Countries Preferred After the Pandemic
One of the most remarkable pieces of information on investor trends given by Bayram Tekçe is that the airport is one of the first factors that investors consider. Tekçe said “Flight is actually a bridge because you can not buy a house where you can not reach. For example, there are direct charter flights from Saudi Arabia to Trabzon. In the periods when the charter flights are available, the property sales in Trabzon increase and they decrease when the flights stop”.
Tekçe stated that Turkey well struggled against the pandemic by allowing flights to Turkey unlike most of the other countries, he also said that Turkey became one of the first preferred countries after the pandemic, especially in 2022. Tekçe continued: “Turkey actually proved that it is a really nice plan b country. There was a big prestige increase in health tourism in Turkey. Because the ‘Heal in Turkey’ slogan is getting widely mentioned also in international media. There is also a joke like ‘Turkish Hairlines’, that I laugh much. This actually shows how popular Turkey is. We are in a good way. We think that we actually provided a serious source input to the country as 10 billion dollar income by 65 thousand property sales, by the end of 2022.”
İstanbul and Antalya are First Destination For Elite Russians
Bayram Tekçe stated Turkey is a plan b country also for the people in that geography after the war between Ukraine and Russia. He explained that despite the Ukraninans' purchasing power and population being lower than Russians, their demand is increased by 5 times as Russians. Tekçe continued as: “There is an intellectual Russian mass living in Europe. That mass with high purchasing power, they are more different from the Russians in Turkey buying property for 10-15 years. These Russians became can’t be living and taking shelter in Europe, as they can not transfer money from their country to Europe. All of them are required to fly by İstanbul while going to Europe. The flights to Antalya are continuing. From this, İstanbul and Antalya became the first destination.”
Pakistan, India, and China Ventured into Turkey
Well, there is a demand from which country markets to Turkey? According to Tekçe, Turkey is getting demand from all countries and the demands are getting directly affected by periodic, political, and macroeconomic developments.
Tekçe stated that they made real estate sales to more than 130 different countries as Tekçe Overseas and that they are getting demand mostly from Ukraine and Russia now. He also mentioned that during the 2013-2015 period, there were customers coming to İstanbul only from Arabian countries. He also reminded that demand coming from Arabian countries was also high in 2021. While describing that the demand’s differentiation is from 2018, Tekçe said “Pakistan and India are ventured into our country. Also in the last period, China, which got 50 billion dollars of 400 billion dollars worth of world real estate trade made buys in the Turkish market, despite it being low.”
We are Working on 4 Titles from Institutionalisation to Legal Rights
After reminding that they prepared the ‘Property Buying Guide in Istanbul’ with the cooperation of the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce in 2021, Bayram Tekçe stated that as GIGDER, they are aiming to guide foreign buyers who want to investing in real estate in Turkey, with this work which they provided content support. Tekçe also added that GIGDER became a civil society that even consults public enterprises on real estate sales to foreign investors in Turkey.
Tekçe stated that as GIGDER they are working on 4 titles, he continued: “Our first main title is ‘the development of real estate ecosystem and institutionalization’. When the real estate sector is represented on the right platform by institutionalization, we will be able to draw more investments in our country. Our second title is ‘effective promotion’. We believe that our country’s effective investment opportunities must be promoted on various platforms. Our third title is ‘the easement of buying real estate in Turkey processes’ and our fourth title is ‘the guarantee of legal and vested rights’. It means that acquired rights by property purchase must not change, for example, when an investment is done to the land, the construction permit on that land must not be eliminated.”
Our Main Promotion Project: HomeTurkeyHome
After saying that both fair and activities and proptech topics are discussed in the committees of GIGDER, Bayram Tekçe continued that their main promotion project is “HomeTurkeyHome” which they planned as a digital content website. He stated that they started this project as there are no information sources with a non-commercial purpose for people who intended to invest in Turkey. Tekçe continued by stating that HomeTurkeyHome will be a digital platform that can guide investors.
While saying that they planned HomeTurkeyHome as a big promotion attack, Tekçe said “On this platform, which is people who will come as a student or buying property for a holiday in Turkey can get answers for their questions, we will create promotion strategies special for each country’s different investment purposes. For example, about Turkey we will highlight ‘holiday and sun’ to the Russian market, ‘proximity and cheap holiday opportunity’ to the European market, and ‘Turkey: a place where you can spend your retirement well and economically’ to rich American retirees. With this, we believe that investor diversification will increase.”
We Can Draw Digital Nomads to Turkey with RBI Programs
Bayram Tekçe reminded that the pandemic changed the profile of international real estate investors, and by increasing the remote work opportunities, it created the ‘digital nomad’ fact. Tekçe said “For example, most Russian software developers started work at home in Turkey, instead of working in Russia. Actually, despite most of the Russian investors seems fleeing from the war, actually, each one of them is a digital nomad. Office founded by Yandex in Turkey and 1.200 software developers of it working in Antalya as digital nomads are forming an example of this.”
Tekçe as GIGDER Research and Publications Committee Chairman stated that he wrote a book named ‘The Relation of Immigration and Investment in the World’ and the book published by GIGDER will be meeting with readers next week. He continued as “When we examine the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and Residence by Investment (RBI) programs, we believe that residence by investment programs must be developed with research in our country. In Turkey, a digital nomad visa policy that can draw qualified investors to Turkey must be created. The latest example of this is that Portugal decided to stop their 10-year RBI programs and Portugal's President recently mentioned his digital nomad project. By 2023, we imagine Turkey as a preferred country with RBI and CBI programs, by foreign investors, with easement in the processes.”
Our Biggest Problem is Considering Investor and Irregular Migrants Equal
Tekçe stated that as GIGDER, they made collaboration with Real Estate Investors Association (GYODER) and Residence Developers and Investors Association (KONUTDER) and they meet with public authorities, also that they focused on solving sectoral problems together. Tekçe also said that when the sector’s share was about 1 billion dollars, they faced problems such as can’t get a tax number and residence permit or can’t get a bank account that occludes the sector's future. He also mentioned that big problems like these are solved with the public administration that supports solutions.
These days faced with periodic and short-term problems, Tekçe thinks that the biggest problem is the perception problem. He evaluated this topic as:
“İstanbul is the heart of Turkey. Thus, when you go out, you see many foreigners and you say ‘These people coming by buying houses’. Our biggest perception problem is considering equal the investors that bought houses in Turkey by investment and foreigners who got residence permits by renting a house. There are nearly 1 million irregular migrants in İstanbul. I think that giving residence permits to irregular migrants by rental agreements must be stopped. The public authority doing positive steps in this context. Residence permit by rental agreement is stopped in most areas, although it is still available in some areas. Public administration doing positive steps in many fields from closed neighborhoods to non-renewal of the residence permits.”
‘Foreigners Increasing Prices’ Bias Must Be Broken
While stating the other misunderstanding in the public opinion is that real estate prices are increasing because of sales to foreigners, Tekçe explained that he believed the main factor in the price increase is increasing demand. Tekçe said “In an inflationist economy, people search for various investment instruments to protect their money. Because the most valuable and the most preferred investment instrument is real estate, people gave more importance to real estate.”
Tekçe also stated that the second factor in price increases is the increase in the input prices with the break in the supply chain. He also added that real estate prices have highly increased as production costs increased. After mentioning research that broke the bias that real estate sales to foreigners increase the prices, Tekçe said “According to our research, the price increased 20% in İstanbul is also increased 20-25% in Diyarbakır. The increase in Diyarbakır is remarkable against the most preferred cities by foreigners, Antalya and İstanbul. Were there any sales to foreigners in Diyarbakır?”.