"It is really an exciting and remarkable experience to be a part of real estate developments in Turkey during this time."

"Turkey has been recognized as one of the developing economies where the e-commerce sector is triggering the transformation of retail logistics."

Dr. Işıl Erol
isil.erol@ozyegin.edu.tr

The economic importance of Turkey within the geographical regions of the Middle-East and North Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and Russia has been rising over the past decade. As a result of the economic growth and favorable demographics since early-2000s Turkey has had the region’s fastest developing real estate market with demand for infrastructure projects, residential properties, offices, shopping centers, and logistic properties exploding rapidly. Real estate industries have always provided an essential linkage between global capital markets and served as an important tool in risk management. There is a great hunger for information and knowledge about the dynamics of the Turkish real estate industry with its new challenges and opportunities. Global investors, governmental institutions, and academicians have an increasing demand and interest in understanding the potential growth of the Turkish real estate industry.

Turkey is one of the biggest countries in Europe in terms of housing production and annual housing starts went up as high as 907,451 dwelling units in 2010. In recent years, in addition to moderate-to-large capital domestic builders, worldwide construction companies have been increasing their shares in housing supply, especially in the form of gated communities for the upper-income households. In May 2012 the Law on the Transformation of Areas under Natural Disaster Risk was enacted and authorized public sector involvement in urban transformation process with an initial estimation of 6.5 million dwelling units with natural disaster risk. The newly amendedReciprocity Law substantially eased foreign investment restrictions in Turkey and accordingly the European and especially Gulf-based property investors have turned their attention to the Turkish real estate markets.

Retail development in Turkey is seen as a priority market for international retailers. As of the end of 2013, the shopping center gross leasable area in Turkey has reached up to 9.5 million sqm in 352 centers, an increase of 1.15 million sqm compared with the end of 2012. Istanbul, the most developed and active office market in Turkey, operates as a regional business hub to companies that serve the MENA and CIS regions. Recently, Turkey has been recognized as one of the developing economies where the e-commerce sector is triggering the transformation of retail logistics. The expansion of physical retail space continues to build along with growth in e-commerce. Furthermore, real estate based capital market instruments, including mortgages, Real Estate Investment Trust shares, real estate certificates, and lease certificates have been growing rapidly. This growth necessitates the use of proper real estate appraisal methods that may be considered the heart of all real estate activities.

Against this backdrop of recent developments in the Turkish real estate industry, Ozyegin University (OzU) aA Retail and Real Estate Center was set up with the aim of becoming the global knowledge center on the regional real estate markets with a focus on the Turkish market through the promotion of research and education excellence, industry collaborations and international partnerships.

We aim to explore important retail and real estate issues, including property development, real estate finance and investment, real estate appraisal, retail marketing, management, and strategy from an all-inclusive perspective drawing upon the multi-disciplinary resources of OzU, accessing our worldwide linkages with prominent overseas institutions, and also collaborating closely with industry practitioners. It is really an exciting and remarkable experience to be a part of real estate developments in Turkey during this time. Please join us as we attempt to build the aA Retail and Real Estate Center into an excellent institution addressing the forthcoming opportunities in real estate industry.