A Villa in Northern Cyprus – Rent Or Buy


The promise of cheap holidays in the sun, together with the long-term investment potential, fueled a surge in overseas property buying, particularly in the 1990’s. Nowadays though, a few factors have seen the market badly disturbed and many purchasers are turning to alternatives. As a result, the market for rentals abroad, and Cyprus in particular, has seen a massive increase. In the current economic climate, renting overseas makes considerable sense.

Two things in particular have ravaged the market for property in Northern Cyprus. Probably the most significant is the legal position with regard to land ownership. Following the conflict in 1974, Cyprus was effectively divided in two; the Turkish Cypriot population ending up in the north of the island and the Greeks Cypriots in the south. The politics of this division are complex, and the cause of long-standing tensions, but at the time, the then government of north Cyprus was left with a problem of housing and land. It took steps to re-distribute land previously owned by Greek Cypriots and pass it to local residents. The situation today is muddled, but the result is that much of the property now on the market in Northern Cyprus may have some question marks over its legal status. Recent cases, and one in particular, have been brought in the international courts which may adversely affect the status of property in the north which is now held by non-Cypriots.

Not, of course, all land in north Cyprus is similarly affected, as much was originally in Turkish Cypriot ownership and so is legally as safe as it is possible to be. However, the current situation has had a dramatic impact on property prices in general. In addition to the world-wide economic crisis, costs in the Mediterranean region as a whole have also risen substantially in recent years. For anyone considering buying a villa in Northern Cyprus, this is a factor which is often ignored, but highly relevant. Whether you are considering a Cyprus holiday villa, or somewhere to live permanently, the day to day costs of things like water and electricity have soared in the last decade and are now comparatively very high. Maintenance and repairs are more likely than in northern European countries, as the standards and methods of construction can vary dramatically. It is normal practice, certainly in Cyprus, for buildings to be constructed around a concrete frame, and this means that there is not the damp-course that would be standard in many regions. This causes no problems in the summer, but in the cooler months, and times when it rains, re-decoration and repairs are par for the course.

With all these things in mind, villa rental in Cyprus is looking like a very good proposition at present. For sure, there is no investment potential if you rent, but there is equally no opportunity to lose money either. Most importantly, certainly if you are looking at a holiday home, the daily running costs of a property are almost always included in the rental price. There are no unpleasant surprises waiting to trip you up! Even if you are looking at emigrating, or a long-term stay, renting can make a lot of sense. You obviously need to check your potential contract carefully, but even though you are likely to have to take responsibility for paying services like electricity and water, all other costs are almost certain to be covered. Insurance, maintenance and repairs can lead to hefty costs, but these will almost always be the responsibility of the landlord.

In terms of areas to look at, this will very much depend on your intended use. If you are looking for a holiday rental villa, then areas like Bellapais and Kyrenia are likely to be your first choices. Close to many restaurants and other facilities, these are ideal north Cyprus holiday locations. For a long stay, the time of year will be a factor. Some of the more remote villages and coastal areas may look stunningly attractive in the summer sunshine, but in the middle of a cool and wet January, they may be somewhat less appealing. Walking a couple of miles to the shops and cafes is a lovely idea in the sun, but many smaller establishments remain closed in the winter season and the cost of having to travel everywhere for anything can soon add up. For long stays in the cooler seasons, Kyrenia is probably the best bet. There are many shops and restaurants and with the exception of purely tourist attractions, most remain open throughout the year.

A holiday in Northern Cyprus is still a memorable occasion and many are so taken by the country that the lure is strong enough to make it a permanent home. There is nothing at all wrong with thinking about buying a home here, but in the current situation, caution should be the key. Take some time over a decision and look at villa rental as the first step. Keep your money safely locked away at the moment!

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