As you may be aware, Turkish Real Estate markets have been subdued for the last three years.
Since the beginning of the economic crisis, we have been arguing that Turkey will be able to profit from this turmoil as we are the only country in Europe which did not spend a penny on the banking system. In 2009, when the crisis was much deeper, the Turkish retail sector has seen a net real growth of 20% with projects delayed but not cancelled. Turkish banks had piles of cash and nowhere to put it, therefore we did not have a cash squeeze either. Although our stated prime yield (speculative of course) was 8% for retail & offices, we are ready to bring it down to 7.5% in the first half of 2011 and most probably to 7% at the year end. Thus, in such an environment, it is expected to have a huge interest from the international investor, looking for a high return / lesser risk.
Whilst I arrived in MIPIM with a few spare slots in my diary, inevitably I ended up with no spare time left due to speculative client meetings. I observed a huge demand from international institutions, not only for existing schemes but also for developments as well. This MIPIM, I think the Turkish team met the most possible number of clients, local & international. Zorlu’s sponsorship of the opening cocktail party was a Turkish team success, namely down to our Chairman Avi Alkas, and this was an important event to make people remember Istanbul & Turkey.
It was not only the Turkish team who promoted Turkey but also our Pan- European Capital Markets team, in particular Jeremy Eddy as well as our Retail CEO Robert Bonwell. We all worked together to illustrate to international investors that Turkey has changed and is now similar to a unicorn in that you don’t believe in its existence and it is something you can only dream of. I personally talked about at least five possible deals that we couldn’t have even dreamt of a year ago and this is hopefully a good sign of what’s to come this year.