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[Northern Cyprus Property] MARKET REPORT - KUZEY KIBRIS HOME

After a blisteringly hot summer, winter is again upon us and appears to have brought renewed vitality to a somewhat flagging [Northern Cyprus] property market.

Buying trends [in Northern Cyprus] have changed dramatically over the past few months, with more and more people purchasing properties [Northern Cyprus apartments etc.] in areas 'off the beaten track'. An example of this is the village of Sadrazamkoy, previously dismissed as being too rural and too far away from civilisation [Kyrenia]! With its quaint atmosphere and distance from Kyrenia town centre, Sadrazamkoy had in the past been more renown for its bird watching than its bulldozers; however, a recent flourish of interest in the area [for Northern Cyprus properties] has seen more and more [Northern Cyprus] construction companies heading east. Estate agents [of Northern Cyprus] all over the TRNC [Northern Cyprus] are reporting a great deal of interest in the less populated parts of the island [for Norhern Cyprus properties such as apartments], leading us to ask the question: why?

Investors' Paradise

Many of the Brits moving to northern Cyprus prefer to be further away from the bright lights of the city [Kyrenia] because they say they have had their fill of the hustle and bustle in the UK, while others who are purchasing holiday homes [Northern Cyprus apartments etc] say they just prefer the more rustic north Cyprus experience. Whatever the reason behind the move, it's big business for the [Northern Cyprus] estate agents.

Investing in property [Northern Cyprus apartments etc] in northern Cyprus has taken off in a big way over the past year, with many opportunists buying whole apartment blocks at a time or large chunks of holiday developments with a view to reselling in a few years when [Northern Cyprus] property [apartments etc] prices have risen. Places such as Sadrazamkoy and Kayalar are perfect for such purchases as [Northern Cyprus] property [apartments etc] prices are still relatively low and the initial outlay is reduced dramatically, which attracts a lot of first-time investors. Many investors [of Northern Cyprus properties] are interested in the possibility of using rental income [of apartments etc] to offset their mortgage payments. Of course this is a possibility, but nothing's written in stone. At present north Cyprus fledgling tourist trade seems to be favouring all-inclusive package visitors (rather than independent, self-caterers), although how this will pan out in the future is anyone's guess.

Rustic Charms

Few would argue that the area that has seen the most of the property [apartments etc] boom in northern Cyprus is Esentepe. With the proposed 18-hole golf course project and also the promise of a new marina, Esentepe is set to become one of the hottest locations on the island [Northern Cyprus], with some already having dubbed it 'Little Monaco'! There are numerous developments under way in the area, and one of the most prominent developers in the area is undoubtedly Northern Cyprus Properties, who have 5 separate projects in Esentepe alone.

"Without a doubt, Esentepe is the one place where we sell the most properties [Northern Cyprus apartments etc]," said Tahsin Özbağ, director of Northern Cyprus Properties, "and we have many more projects planned in the area over the coming months."

Esentepe boasts amazing views and its location is sufficiently far away from Kyrenia so as to invoke the feeling of being "at one with nature", yet it is just a 20 minute drive from the city centre [Kyrenia] , so it's not hard to see why holiday makers and locals alike are flocking to the area to purchase their dream houses [Northern Cyprus apartments etc]. However, the traditional focus for home-buyers [of Northern Cyprus properties] has up until now been limited to holiday apartments in Kyrenia and the surrounding coastal villages, but now people seem to be broadening their horizons. Much of the property for sale [apartments etc] in northern Cyprus is antiquated and it's just as easy to find an old-world apartment oozing Ottoman charm or an isolated mountain hideaway [in Kyrenia] in need of restoration. Construction work is feverishly trying to match the anticipated housing boom, adding new developments to north Cyprus' impressive property [of apartments etc] portfolio.
The growing number of estate agents in northern Cyprus testifies to the stilI burgeoning property [apartments etc] market. It seems that you can't go anywhere without seeing a new estate agent [in Northern Cyprus], and many already established agencies have opened second branches, such as Unwins, Portland and Henry Charles Estates, which is surely testament to the fact that there is still business there for the taking. In the last five years, more than 2,000 foreigners have bought property [apartments etc] in north Cyprus and this number looks set to rise dramaticalIy over the coming years - if there is no change in the foreign immovable property ownership law [of Northern Cyprus].

"Exaggerated Propaganda"

The unpopular 125 year leasehold proposal [of Northern Cyprus] has been met with anger and disappointment by potential purchasers [of properties such as apartments etc] and estate agents alike, who believe it will not only have negative effects on the property market [of Northern Cyprus], but also on the country's economy, as investments in the country [Northern Cyprus] will slow down dramaticalIy, perhaps ceasing altogether. However, the proposal has been defended by Prime Minister Talat, who says;

"We simply have many complaints about the growing number of [Northern Cyprus] properties [apartments etc] being sold to foreigners. It is true that because of exaggerated propaganda many foreigners have been buying in Cyprus. This has created a lot of anxiety among our people. People started accusing us of selling out the whole country. We have made some investigations and found out that this practice is very normal, particularly among the British. We have even adopted the same period of time, 125 years, for the leasehold as in the UK to make foreign buyers [of Northern Cyprus properties] feeI more confident about the whole matter."

Whether the bill becomes a law [of Northern Cyprus] remains to be seen, and whatever the outcome it is unlikely to be finalised during the next few months, as efforts are ongoing to form a stable government in the TRNC [Northern Cyprus], with a proposed general election on February the 20th 2005 if the current coalition initiatives fail.

Worldwide Recognition

Following the success of the Property Investor Shows in London and Manchester, some north Cyprus estate agents are planning on peddling their wares at international property exhibitions all over the world. Northern Cyprus Properties reported a considerable amount of interest in the island when they went to Dubai in September, and are planning to exhibit again at the next Dubai Property Show in February, this time in a more senior position. They also have plans to exhibit at [Northern Cyprus] property shows in Russia, Kuwait and Hong Kong, as well as the Property Investor Shows in London and Manchester, surely giving them the title of 'Most Travelled Estate Agents! [of Northern Cyprus]'

One thing is for sure, promoting the TRNC [Northern Cyprus] in different markets can only lead to more growth and recognition for the country [Northern Cyprus]. Although the last thing we want to see is apartment block on every spare plot of land [in towns like Kyrenia ], the construction trade is an essential part of the Turkish Cypriot economy and the more we can do to boost this, the better!

By Cemal İmren

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