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Ceyda Carmikli, Executive Board Member of Nurol REIT, speaks to Property Weekly.
- You are now marketing Dh3 billion worth of developments of Nurol REIT's portfolio in Turkey in the UAE. Who are your target clients?
For our projects, we believe it's both end-users and investors. There are several factors that affect a consumer's purchase behaviour. These are lifestyle, location of the project, as well as the growth rate of the city and the entire country. Price and type of property are naturally also among main factors. Istanbul has a young population with an increasing demand for housing. This is our primary target market and very attractive to investors as the rental market in Istanbul continues to remain very strong.
- Are you marketing just the properties themselves or also direct investments into Nurol Real Estate Investment Trust?
Currently, we are only marketing and selling our properties in the GCC. We are listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange and we are not here to raise capital for the REIT.
- Could you give an overview of current projects?
We are targeting different segments and different price points in our project mix. Nurol Tower is targeted at professionals who would use our innovative home office-home concept. Given its proximity to the courts and hospitals, I believe this will be very popular with international solicitors, trading companies, doctors and other professionals. It is in the heart of the city in Mecidiyeköy and very close to Taksim Square, Nisantasi etc. The completion of this project is December 2015.
Nurol Life is a high-end residential tower targeted to a variety of different clientele, ranging from extended long-stay GCC clients to affluent locals, from young professionals looking to stay in a studio close to work to large families. This project is unique, as it has features such as nine-metre high ceilings in reception areas. All apartments come with four metre high ceilings and concertina [folding] windows. In addition, the apartment building includes top-end concierge services, guest accommodation, private cinemas, roof-top dining and other inspired features. It is close to one of the largest forests in Istanbul and has amazing city views. The location is at the main junction of the newly-built third airport of Istanbul which is poised to become the largest airport in the world as per passenger numbers. The completion for this residential project is expected in the first quarter of 2017.
Nurol Park is a mixed-use community next to the current main airport in Istanbul and close to the Mall of Istanbul with emphasis on green spaces, retail facilities, as well as cafés, restaurants etc. The sense of community is what we focused on while planning this project. We aim to deliver this project in May 2016.
- What would be the particular attraction for UAE investors to consider Turkey property?
Turkey has a religious and cultural bond with the GCC but is also developing as an important economic partner. Trade volume between Turkey and the GCC was close to $16 billion in 2014 and as Turkey is classed the 17th biggest economy in the world, it presents a healthy investment destination that straddles both Europe and Asia. The intense presence of Turkish exhibitors at Cityscape Global 2015 in Dubai showed the increased interest from regional investors.
- How about the pricing of the properties?
Nurol Life and Nurol Park both offer one-, two and three bedroom apartments priced from Dh1,500 and Dh850 per square feet, respectively. In Nurol Tower, spaces between 800 to 1850 square feet priced from Dh2,300 are available.
- What is your forecast for the Turkish property market in the mid-term?
Development has been strong in the past, but there are also issues with a volatile currency and macroeconomic imbalances, especially for foreign investors. Our recent elections gave the ruling party a majority which the markets feel will bring stability in the economy and for the currency. Foreign investments have grown year-on-year, especially from the GCC, and this trend will continue.
- Most foreign investors in Turkey property look for opportunities in Istanbul and the southern Mediterranean coast. What other destinations in Turkey are attractive, and how would you market them for GCC investors?
The coastal areas of Turkey are popular with clients from Germany and UK. On the other hand, the GCC investors are looking for a bustling city with good weather throughout the year, great food and a safe environment for their families. This is why we at Nurol have our focus on developments in Istanbul and clients from the GCC.
- What is the ownership structure of Nurol Holding?
Nurol Holding is a family owned entity with several subsidiaries involved in activities like construction, infrastructure solutions, manufacturing of defense equipment, banking, leisure and travel, as well as Nurol REIT.
- How are REITs operating in Turkey?
We are operating according to the regulations of the capital market board for public companies. Our shares are trading at the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Quarterly, we are audited and we report financials to the public by the public disclosure platform of the exchange. The company policy of Nurol REIT is to create value in the real estate market for shareholders and offer profitable opportunities to investors. The price movement in share trading in the stock exchange market is completely affected by the national and international market movements.
Nurol REIT was launched in 1997 and is providing varied services in the fields of land, estate and property development, project design and marketing and sales. It is part of the Turkish famil yowned industry conglomerate Nurol Holding, which was founded in 1966 as Nurol Construction and then diversified its activities by venturing into numerous other lines of businesses. The group is currently operating in five core sectors both in Turkey and abroad, ranging from construction to defense industry, from finance to tourism and energy, operating with over 40 subsidiaries and affiliates and more than 10,000 employees.
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Source: Arno Maierbrugger, Special to Property Weekly