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Has the North Cyprus property and construction market started moving after the recent Covid-19 pandemic? The answer to this question is that each company can give a variety of different answers but there is a very good example right here! Henry Charles Estates Director Arzu Aygin says the industry is active. She also explains what should be done in this situation. Henry Charles Estates has been holding the pulse of the North Cyprus property market for the past 20 years, serving both domestic and foreign investors. Director Arzu Aygın shared with us the changing and developing customer needs after the pandemic, both locally and internationally. She also explained the exit key from the crisis, and what companies should pay attention to. Q: After weeks of being in quarantine, how have you made a come-back to the business world? A: I believe that our company has made a rapid return to the new period after weeks of being at home. To be honest, there is a greater demand, far above our expectations. With the demands of our customers having changed, arrangements being made for foreign investors and the decrease in interest rates, we are now dealing with a completely different market. In the two weeks since we returned to work I've noticed my team to be full of built up energy paired with an eagerness to make up for lost time. “DISTANCE WAS NOT AN ISSUE DURING THE PANDEMIC” Q: What changes do you see in business life compared to the time before the pandemic? A: Video call meetings and online correspondence are the biggest change that the pandemic has brought to our industry as it has with most sectors. People realised that many business connections can be made from home, and therefore distances were not a huge problem. As Henry Charles Estates, we've been working with foreign markets for many years so we've been using all these methods for a long time. We just started to use them more frequently. Instead of visiting the houses with our clients, we made our viewings by sending video tour recordings or images. To be honest, we received very positive feedback and customer satisfaction. Even if our customers were not to able buy at that precise time, they've stated that they would still choose us for future investments. “WE CAN OVERCOME THIS DIFFICULT TIME BY WORKING HARDER” Q: How do you evaluate this pandemic period? What are your post-pandemic plans? A: Henry Charles Estates continued to work from our homes during the lockdown. The nature of our business includes a lot of documentation and filing, which is usually a time consuming process so we utilised the time in quarantine to our advantage and caught up on the backlog in these areas. We held weekly zoom meetings with my team to evaluate and discuss this extraordinary situation and how we should proceed. After reopening the office, we made target orientated plans and sales strategies. We've increased the importance we place on social media, we've started to share more properties on both our private and business social media accounts. When necessary, we even met with customers to show them the properties they were interested in, with all essential quarantine measures taken. Our plans after the pandemic are as follows: Only by working harder can we overcome the difficult times that are affecting the whole world right now. To pair more suitable and high quality real estate with investors in every sense, just as we've been doing for the past 20 years. “WE HAVE ONE OF THE LARGEST PORTFOLIOS ON THE ISLAND” Q: How would you evaluate your portfolio for investors? A: Henry Charles Estates' portfolio is the only subject we can't be modest about. I would like to draw particular interest to the fact that we have one of the largest and most comprehensive portfolios on the island including both agricultural & development land, apartment projects, investment projects, villas, bungalows, hotels, holiday villages, residences and apartments. We can also boast of a vast and diverse rental portfolio. Our property portfolio count is currently in excess of 800 and increasing day by day. With 20 years of experience under our belts, we're able to specialise in property that can be sold easily and that is in the right price bracket. Needless to say, the fact that we've been in the business for all these years makes people who want to sell their properties to choose us. Furthermore, in addition to the brand new projects brought to us by the developers, we're equally confident in the resale market. We've sold a lot of properties to and for the British ex-pat community and many other foreign nationals. They prefer to buy/sell through us. The truth be told, this makes us very happy. Customer satisfaction is paramount to us. “FOREIGNERS' NEW ENTITLEMENT TO NOW BUY FOUR PROPERTIES WILL INSTILL TRUST IN THE MARKET” Q: What are your forecasts for the overseas market? A: Everything depends on the progression of the corona virus outbreak. I think if everything goes to plan, July will see buyers coming to our island once again. It's clear to see that the government here in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its people handled the outbreak very well. Also, the investor will take this fact into consideration and buy, comfortable in the knowledge that North Cyprus is a safe place to be during a pandemic. Besides, the climate, lifestyle and value for money compared to other sunshine destinations is also still attracting the attention of foreign investors. I'm sure the increase in entitlement for foreign nationals to now buy up to four properties will also reflect positively on the market. We already have many investors who have bought more than one property over the years with just a sales contract but these people will now be able to transfer the title deeds of their properties into their own names. This will definitely give the market a much needed confidence boost.I also believe the pending arrival of flights again will also rejuvenate further movement in the market. We are constantly in touch with customers who have expressed to us that they want to come to the island and make purchases. They've made it clear that they'll come to buy as soon as flights begin. We're also awaiting the arrival of investors who've paid deposits electronically during the pandemic to sign contracts and complete their purchases. “MOVEMENT IN LOCAL MARKET, RIGHT TIME TO INVEST IN PROPERTY” Q: How is the local market activity moving? How do you respond to these needs? A: The local market is surprisingly active. I can honestly advise that, for those who want to invest, it is absolutely the right time to do so. If we take into consideration that land registry fees have recently been reduced and interest rates are also decreasing, those who want to invest shouldn’t wait too long. The discounts being made also please the seller in terms of cash flow, thus, enabling further movement in the market. In addition, construction companies that haven’t been able to sell for a while are also drawing attention to their properties with favorable price reductions and payment plans. They are also making sale conditions more flexible, allowing us estate agents to complete more sales. Likewise, sellers who want to opt out of the second hand market early, are accepting offers below their asking price. This enables us to be more efficient in meeting buyers needs. “WE ARE EXPERIENCED IN RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF THE MARKET” As Henry Charles Estates, we collectively have an abundance of expertise and knowledge in our team to respond to the needs of the market easily from our vast portfolio and sales closing techniques. “BUYERS NEEDS HAVE CHANGED AFTER THE PANDEMIC” Q: What is your post-pandemic message to the real estate and construction world? A: The pandemic has had a massively negative affect on the worlds economy. Unfortunately, the global outbreak of this seriously deadly virus and its easy transmission to many people has deeply shaken all societies to the core. The three-month #stayhome period also had a negative psychological affect on the majority of the worlds population. We went through such a difficult period of time but are now in the process of "normalisation" where we’ve entered a whole new era in which awareness has increased and peoples preferences have changed. My personal opinion is that the real estate and construction world should evaluate this positively and not cease to invest. “OFFERING QUALITY INVESTMENTS INCREASES THE SALES GRAPHIC” I believe that as long as there’s no drastic progression in the course of this epidemic, established companies will survive this challenging period and get a return on their investments within a short time frame. We’re at the beginning of a period where the demand for investment has increased so provided we manage to meet these demands by offering reliable and high quality properties, pulling the sales graphic upwards will be in our hands. “THE ONLY WAY TO OVERCOME THIS CRISIS IS TO WORK HARD AND HONESTLY” I think the most important factor to manage this crisis is to determine a strategy. Although past crises haven’t been as destructive as a pandemic, the North Cyprus property market has survived many crises in years gone by, therefore knowing that the only way forward is to work harder with a totally honest work ethic. We, here at Henry Charles Estates, have also survived many crises and aim to overcome this one with the same diligence, dedication and trust.