Important Factors and Expectations for The North Cyprus Property Market
The TRNC is currently embracing economic growth, announcing plans for developing tourism in the wake of relaxed border restrictions with the Greek Cypriots. North Cyprus is already a great holiday and investment destination and is very popular amongst British holidaymakers.
Today there is a genuine wish amongst all Cypriots for a resolution to the divide between North and South. Real estate has never been better positioned to receive some great potential returns on investment in a solid, emerging market which is beginning to enjoy some of the prosperity of the South. Property prices are currently half the price of the South (and less than a third of those in Spain).
The cost of living in Northern Cyprus is low compared to other European countries, including the Southern part of the Island. In Northern Cyprus, you will be looking to pay around £200 a year for electricity and water for an apartment. Many houses and apartments are built with solar water heating systems, which ensure cheap running costs even in winter.
Locally produced or Turkish products are generally cheaper than their European counterparts. Goods imported from Europe tend to be higher in price than in their country of origin. However, cigarettes and alcohol are very cheap.
Tourism plays an important role in the growth of the Northern Cyprus economy, followed by other sectors such as industry, agriculture, transportation and the health sector respectively. Another important step in the economic development of Northern Cyprus is privatisation of state owned industries.
Assistance from Turkey is key to the success of the Turkish Cypriot economy. Under the current protocol, Turkey has provided Turkish Cypriots loans totalling $250 million for the implementation of projects relating to public finance, tourism, banking, and privatisation.
Today, North Cyprus will need to reach political settlement with the south and Turkey will need to resolve the North Cyprus situation in order to enter the EU. Meanwhile, America and the UN are putting strong pressure to the Greek side to accept an Annan Plan based solution. It is highly likely that if the parties on the Greek side continue to drag their feet (which they have done since rejecting the Annan plan, which the Turkish side accepted), there will be independent recognition of North Cyprus from the USA and then the rest of world.
Cyprus is currently undergoing the Strategic Plan for Tourism 2015 which plans the upgrade of its facilities and resorts in line with changes in tourism trends, with the chief aim of launching Cyprus tourism well into the 21st century. This will be achieved through increasing the amount of tourist arrivals, per capita tourist expenditure, length of stay and repeated visits. We will see an increase in theme parks, agro/nature tourism, marinas and golf courses to cater for the many interests of today’s tourists.
There are huge developments currently under construction along the Karpaz Peninsular which include another 5 star luxury themed resort hotel in Bafra, a shopping centre (The Big Old Bazaar) in Bogaz and the ‘Karpaz Gate Marina’ in Yeni Erenkoy. These projects will increase the amount of tourists entering the country and act as a money magnet for North Cyprus. It is a good choice to make an investment in this area as the potential in both real and obvious.
Constant improvements to air access to Cyprus ensure a steady growth in tourism figures, and in summer the new international airport at Ecran in Northern Cyprus welcomes over 90 flights per week from many worldwide destinations. The airport at Getickale is tipped for American finance and renovation to help ease future congestion. Additionally, the road infrastructure is considered to be of great importance in Cyprus due to an ever increasing need to cater for today’s more independent and adventurous tourist, wishing to explore the island with ease. These roads will of course increase ease of transit of merchandise to every location on the island.
The current drive for improved tourist facilities to boost the Cyprus economy can only be regarded as good news to today’s property investor seeking a stable tourist market on which to base a property investment with high rental potential and good capital returns.
The official language used in North Cyprus is Turkish. English is widely used and understood in official and commercial circles. There are several Turkish language teachers available if you feel the need to learn the language as a lot of British residents have.
As in the UK, traffic circulation is on the left in North Cyprus. Road signs are international. Max speed is 100km/hr.
Typically Mediterranean with long dry summers and short rainy winters. The average annual temperature is 19°C (66°F). The temperature in midsummer can reach 40°C (105°F) with the warmest sea temperature in the Mediterranean averaging 21°C (75°F). The winter months are very mild and there is an average annual rainfall of 500mm.
An area of 3,355 square miles encompasses the northern part of the island, which is the third largest in the Mediterranean. North Cyprus is only 70 kilometres south of Turkey and 385 kilometres north of Egypt. Owing to the location of North Cyprus and its proximity to the rich Middle Eastern countries, it provides an ideal place for foreign investment.
Lefkosa (Nicosia) is the capital of the North Cyprus, which has a population of approximately 35,000. Being the capital this is where the main administration and business centres are. Other major towns include Gazi Magusa (Famagusta) which is a flourishing tourist, industrial and commercial centre as well as being the Countries principle port and Girne (Kyrenia) a town of tourist importance with a hypnotizing Yacht Harbour. Town maps can be obtained from the Tourism offices in Nicosia, Famagusta and Kyrenia.
Bank and Currency
Northern Cyprus offers a well organized banking system, with all banking facilities catered for. There are branches in many of the important Trading centres of the world. Numerous Turkish and Turkish Cypriot banks (HSBC Bank has now opened branches in Famagusta, Nicosia and Kyrenia İn TRNC), operate and they are open from Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Turkish lira is used as the local currency although the Sterling GBP is also accepted. All currencies can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices and in most hotels. All major credit cards are accepted.
Pets can be brought into the country from Europe with little hassle. The Ministry of Agriculture requires a certificate from a European vet stating that you pet is free of major diseases. Quarantine is approximately 4 weeks at the Lefkosa kennels.
General education standards in the TRNC are of a very high standard are borne out by the fact that there are four universities based in Northern Cyprus. The majority of schools offer bilingual education starting with kindergarten through secondary school and finally university.
The educational syllabus focuses mainly on the English National Curriculum with Turkish being taught alongside to provide a bi-lingual foundation for all pupils thereby creating the perfect start. All the ‘National Curriculum’ material has been purchased direct from the UK with the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ and the new ‘Oxford Maths Zone’ being the cornerstone to the literacy and numeracy strategies.
The cost of medical treatment in the local hospitals is lower than comparative care in the UK depending of course on the type of treatment required. Accident and emergency facilities are available at local hospitals. It is recommended that you seek a local GP, many of whom have had UK experience, for many minor ailments. Private healthcare is also available through a number of international medical insurance companies if required. Dental treatment is of a high standard and charges are moderate.
North Cyprus is literally studded with restaurants ranging from the authentic Cypriot cuisine serving, which offer very good value for money, to the fashionable restaurants like French, Chinese or Indian. In humble Çorbaci (Soup House) the visitors are served a truly ethnic cuisine. Prices in the restaurants vary accordingly.
Breakfast consists of luscious fruits, especially locally grown melons, various local breads with cheese, jams and a selection of eggs and local sausage. Traditionally, home made yoghurt is served with delicious local honey and if you want coffee, then remember to ask for “Nescafe” – the local term for western coffee with milk. “Kahve” means Turkish coffee – the wonderful powerful brew that is a specialty of the Near East. Raki, aniseed spirit diluted with water is a traditional local accompaniment. Wine and beer are also available at an excellent cost. Turkish Cankaya white wine is particularly recommended.