Atique Naqvi, Istanbul
Move over Europe, it is Asia’s turn now. This holds true when it comes to mega projects in Istanbul – the commercial centre of Turkey.
However, the city is changing and it’s changing fast. Istanbul is divided, hypothetically, into European and Asian sides, and almost all of the historical sites and cultural centres are located in the so-called European part of Istanbul, while the Asian side, until a few years ago, used to be a quiet suburb.
However, with the recent development drive, the Asian part of Istanbul will soon become the financial centre of the metropolis, which houses close to 15 to 17 million people.
Major banks in Turkey have already shifted their major operations to the Asian side, says the chairman of the board of Edge Construction, İnanç Kabadayı.
Speaking to Trends, a sister publication of AMEinfo, Kabadayı says the Asian side of Istanbul will play a very significant role in realising Turkey’s financial goals by 2023 – the year when the country will celebrate its 100th anniversary of becoming a republic.
As Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, continues to be an end-user property market, there are huge investment opportunities in the residential and commercial real estate, adds Kabadayı.
“A few years back, foreign investors from Middle East and North Africa showed keen interest only in the European side of Istanbul, but return on investments has considerably increased in the past few years in the Asian part of the city,” he says.
Family offices and individuals from Saudi Arabia are the biggest group of investors in Istanbul from among the GCC countries.
Dubai-based Emaar Properties and Doha-headquartered Qatari Diar are investing millions of dollars in developing hospitality and prime-property projects in Istanbul.
In the past five years, the national government and local authorities have eased requirements for foreign individuals and entities to invest in Turkey’s property market.
Dr Altınok Öz, Mayor of Kartal Municipality, says: “We have removed all bureaucratic hurdles to facilitate foreign investment in the property sector.”
Kartal, on the Asian side of Istanbul, is considered one of the most investment-friendly regions with high ROIs.
Dr Öz claims that in the next 10 years, Kartal will be a trading hub and also a financial centre of Istanbul. With increased financial activity in Kartal, the construction of residential properties is in full swing, and investors from the GCC, along with central Asia, are making a beeline to invest in the projects that are set to be completed in the next two to five years.