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International real estate franchise arrives in Turkey

International Realty Plus real estate franchising is also considering expanding further in the region with opportunities in Azerbaijan, Russia and Libya being examined. It currently operates in six countries, most notably the US where its annual turnover totalled $50 million last year.

In Turkey it has teamed up with Liman Holding to launch its venture. Huseyin Altas, chief executive of IRP Turkey, said Liman Holding decided to import IRP franchising brand to Turkey in order to make use of existing opportunities in Turkey's growing real estate market.

'At present 95% of real estate transactions take place through individual real estate agencies that do no work under any franchising brand. Also the low mortgage to gross national product ratio shows the potential in Turkey,' Altas said.

Mortgage to gross national product ratio in Turkey is 3.3% compared with an average in the European Union of 41%.

IRP Turkey will largely focus on marketing its activities for international investors. 'Turkey has become an attractive country for international property investors in recent years. So far sales have largely focused on the southern parts of the country, such as Kas, Kalkan, Bodrum and Didim. But, in fact, we have reached the point where even selling units in Batman for British investors is possible,' Altas claimed.

Expansion beyond Turkey in 2010 is under consideration. 'We are evaluating opportunities in Azerbaijan and Russia. In Libya we are gathering data on the firms that could execute our projects. Our goal is to become active in these countries by 2010,' added Atlas.

In its first year IRP Turkey aims to reach a business volume of $700 million and open 50 franchise offices. 'There is a notable demand for new residential units in Turkey, meaning serious potential in the sector. This is the reason we invested in this sector and brought IRP to Turkey,' Atlas explained.

Although real estate sales volume in Turkey dropped from $35 billion to $20 billion over 2008 due to the global crisis, the value of residential units in the market is gradually increasing, Altas added.