Is North Cyprus property on the up?
David Fuller talks to Robert Medd, the sales director of Emerging Real Estate, to find out why potential investors may wish to consider buying property in North Cyprus
David Fuller: At a time when Brits are being increasingly prudent with their money, what does North Cyprus have to offer investors?
Robert Medd: As a country, Northern Cyprus offers British investors some great opportunities as properties in the north are still around 50 per cent cheaper than in the south. However, it is essential that prospective buyers only work with respected developers and agents who understand the current land title issues. There are unscrupulous people out there who are still exploiting clients but it's great to see that high levels media attention are educating clients and due diligence will, of course, verify if a property has clear land titles. For example, Thalassa Beach Resort (pictured), our development on the Karpas Peninsula, has undisputed and clear titles pre 1974 which is the benchmark that clients should always look for. Northern Cyprus boasts some of the lowest prices in the Mediterranean and as long as a medium- to long-term strategy is adopted then expectations for long-term capital appreciation are good.
DF: Has North Cyprus been affected by the economic downturn?
RM: Like everywhere, sales have slowed down, but for serious buyers now is a great time to invest as some fantastic deals are on offer such as discounts, extended payment plans and guaranteed mortgages. At Thalassa, which is on the front line overlooking the sea, prices start at £39,950 for a studio, £54,950 for a one bedroom and £86,950 for a two bedroom apartment. These prices, coupled with an amazing payment plan of a £1,000 reservation fee, £10,000 on contract, £10,000 in six months, £10,000 in 12 months followed by the option of a mortgage over a ten year period at 6.9 per cent means the figures really do stack up.
DF: Which areas of North Cyprus tend to be the most popular for buyers?
RM: Northern Cyprus is a stunning country and has some of the most amazing scenery as well as great nightlife, culture and cuisine. Kyrenia is famed for the beauty of its Venetian harbour and the Kyrenia Mountain Range. It also has an established infrastructure, including a brand new championship standard golf course. For those investors looking for the best long-term returns then Bafra is the ideal option as it is becoming the tourist hub of the country which will see 13 five-star hotels and casinos, hundreds of shopping units and 300-berth marina.
DF: How does Thalassa compare to others on the north side of the island?
RM: For a start, Thalassa is being constructed by one of the country's most successful development companies but it's key USP is simply its stunning location - it's the last scheme in the area with permission to build right up to the shoreline. The development also has an aqua resort with large communal pool, private beach with water activities, children's activity area, lagoon with water sports, spa, gym, Turkish bath, massage area, sauna, restaurant/beach bar, management offices and a retail/commercial area. There is also a desalination plant guaranteeing safe and uninterrupted year-round water supply which should be a must.
DF: The unification of North and South Cyprus is an ongoing issue. Is this something you can see happening any time in the future, and what impact do you think it will have on the country if and when it happens?
RM: Whether the island unifies or agrees to a two-state solution along the lines of a Swiss-style federation, the warming and normalisation of relations between the two countries continues with the support of the EU, UK, US and UN and Turkey. Borders are fully open 24/7 and the North benefits from direct flights into Larnaca which is close by. A final symbolic handshake between the two sides finally drawing a line under all their previous differences would, of course, have a major impact on investor confidence and there would undoubtedly be a significant boom in investment and a surge in property prices. Only time will tell but confidence remains high!