Turkish real estate investors shopping in Austin with millions in hand

Jan Buchholz
Senior Staff Writer
Austin Business Journal

Austin has certainly garnered the attention of international financiers from places as diverse as China and Germany, but the notion that Turkish investors are interested in property ownership in Central Texas may seem really foreign to some.

Patrick Easter, owner of Easter and Easter Realtors in Northwest Austin, has discovered a strong and viable connection between the U.S. and Turkey and aims to take advantage of it. He’s looking for residential investment properties on behalf of Focus Real Estate Consulting Investment, a real estate company based in Izmir, Turkey, a city of about 3 million people on the Aegean Sea.

Realtor Patrick Easter said Austin is the new Russia — at least in the eyes of some Turkish investors who are shying away from business in that part of the world. Realtor Patrick Easter said Austin is the new Russia — at least in the eyes of some… more

ARNOLD WELLS/STAFF

Easter became acquainted with Focus Real Estate through a friendship with Garry McDowall, the owner of IMR Solutions, a management consulting firm in Austin that conducts business in Turkey.


Easter said Turkish investors are hungry to deploy capital here, especially after Russia levied trade restrictions last year on Turkey. Until now, Russia was a target market for Turkish investors but now they’ve turned their attention to the West — especially Texas.

“They have been watching the trend in Texas real estate and population growth and feel secure in the overseas investment due to a variety of factors — strong employment, younger population, historical real estate values and proximity to larger cities,” Easter said. “They also like the fact that Texas is in the middle of the country and is very accessible via international flights to Dallas and Houston.”

Even the recent terrorist activity in Istanbul won’t discourage Turks from continuing to invest here.


“We have found that the more uncertain that area of the world is, the more certain those citizens view U.S. investments,” Easter said.

Though no deals — mostly single-family houses that would be leased — have been finalized, Easter has several in the works. They won’t be concluded, however, until every investor has passed intensive background checks.

Easter is not disclosing the precise amount of investment for this year but it’s in the tens of millions of dollars.

The amount could increase in 2017 as those investors seek to diversify into larger multifamily projects, Easter said.

Even though property prices have jumped dramatically in Austin during the past three years, the increases aren’t dampening the Turks’ enthusiasm — especially since Easter has facilitated local banking relationships on their behalf.

In Turkey almost every deal is cash, so having access to affordable mortgage loans is beneficial for acquiring more properties and increasing cash flow.

“Interest rates in Turkey are 228 percent higher than in the U.S.,” Easter said. “Here they can purchase 10 properties with a 60 percent loan-to-value [encumbrance] instead of three properties there that are all cash deals.”

Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal.