“Is it safe to buy North Cyprus property?” is a common query. In our NCI Marketing Department, one of our main roles is speaking to, emailing and live chatting with enquirers from all over the world every week. During our chats, we often find that many would-be North Cyprus property owners are concerned about whether it is safe to purchase property in North Cyprus – usually because they are suffering from common misconceptions about property ownership in North Cyprus. They are also unaware of the huge legal changes which have taken place in the North Cyprus property market over the last few years – now making the TRNC a very safe place to purchase.
Another reason for this confusion is that the property markets in other countries such as the Middle East, Scandinavia, UK and mainland Europe often operate in quite different ways from that in North Cyprus and have had a completely different history.
We enjoy answering property queries from our clients and putting their mind at rest about legal, practical and other concerns as well as these common misconceptions about the safety of the North Cyprus property market. If necessary, we also recommend that those with concerns can speak to or email a qualified North Cyprus Lawyer for reassurance.
Here is a list of the top 5 Common Misconceptions about buying a property in North Cyprus. None of these is true!
1. Buying a property in North Cyprus always takes up to 2 months to complete.
2. Villas in North Cyprus always cost more than apartments.
3. All North Cyprus properties qualify for overseas buyer bank mortgages.
4. Non-Cypriot Lawyers outside North Cyprus can be used to purchase North Cyprus properties.
5. North Cyprus Title Deeds are unsafe or difficult to obtain.
Misconception 1 – Buying a new key ready property in North Cyprus takes up to 2 months to complete.
In the UK and some other countries, from making an offer on a home it can take up to 2 months before “completion” on a property. It is a popular misconception that it would take as long in North Cyprus. But in fact, because most sales to overseas buyers are still “cash sales” it can be as quick as two or three weeks. In North Cyprus, many sales are of brand new properties which have 5 year structural warranties which mean that property surveys are less commonly carried out – which also saves time. In addition, in other countries where bank mortgages are usually arranged as part of the sale, this obviously extends the time period.
True: North Cyprus Developer Loan or Cash purchase properties can often be completed quickly In North Cyprus most sales are either a cash sale OR a non-status developer mortgage, which are both very quick to arrange. As soon as the money has been transferred (either the full sale price or agreed deposit) and the contract signed and ideally registered at the land registry, the keys can be handed over. Unlike the UK, there is no two-stage process (exchange and completion) – but just a one stage contract signing process where the money is released to the seller on the same day. Sales involving the new 50% bank mortgages (on selected properties only) do take longer to complete.
Misconception 2 – Villas in North Cyprus always cost more than apartments.
In the past it was generally the case that North Cyprus apartments were a lot more affordable than a villa. However, this is now a misconception. Although the top end of the villa range does indeed cost more than the top end of the apartment range, at the lower price range end of the market, the price lines are blurred.
True: In the North Cyprus International (NCI) range, 2 bedroom townhouses or smaller bungalows can cost considerably less than some of the more luxurious beachfront apartments with all year facilities! With some townhouse and semi-detached villa prices really affordable (many with payment plans/mortgages), you should enquire for what you really want rather than what you think you can afford. At NCI we specialise in personal property matching – do complete our easy questionnaire to be sent hand-picked properties to meet your needs.
Misconception 3 – All North Cyprus properties qualify for overseas buyer bank mortgages.
Many would-be North Cyprus property owners are surprised to hear that, unlike countries like Spain and Italy, not all North Cyprus properties are eligible for bank mortgages for overseas buyers.
True: However, here is the good news: there are now NEW 10 year, 50% bank mortgages available to overseas buyers, however only on selected properties. North Cyprus properties with individual (not shared) title deed ready to transfer will be considered by banks for a loan.
Brand new properties which are awaiting their deeds, or older properties which have an interim shared deed, are not bank mortgageable, even though they are still very good investments. However, North Cyprus International will help buyers purchase new properties where available, with a “developer loan” (see below).
The lack of bank mortgages for overseas buyers until recently in North Cyprus is one factor which has kept prices so affordable, avoided boom and bust – and protected North Cyprus from the effects of the global recession.
Alternatives to Bank Mortgages in North Cyprus – Developer Loans
So how does a foreign buyer or investor purchase a property if they do not have all the funds available? There are two main options: many will remortgage their home in their home country to release capital and use that to purchase in North Cyprus. Interest rates tend to be lower in many other countries, so this can be a good option.
The second option is to take advantage of one of the non-status “low deposit developer mortgages or payment plans” with interest, which companies such as North Cyprus International (NCI) have increasingly persuaded developers to provide their clients with. With these, the buyer borrows from the company who builds the property and pays it back over a period of up to 12 years. Each developer has a different interest rate, minimum deposit percentage and time period for full payment. The North Cyprus International Long Term Payment/Mortgage Range has deposits from 25% with payments over up to 12 years. Contact our NCI Offices for full details.
Misconception 4 – I don’t need a lawyer in North Cyprus – I can just use my own lawyer at home to handle North Cyprus property purchase.
North Cyprus was previously a British colony and has a very “ex-colonial, British flavour”. Cars drive on the left, the plugs are the same, English is widely spoken and pounds are accepted in the shops. Hence it can be assumed by some people that the legal system is the same and British or UK-based lawyers can be used for the property transaction, but this is a misconception. North Cyprus has its own system of law and government.
True: To buy a North Cyprus property safely, it is extremely important during your stay that you visit a properly qualified North Cyprus Lawyer and set up a power of attorney (POA) – free to set up – so that if you do decide to purchase after you have returned home, you are able to do so. You will need a North Cyprus trained lawyer to act on your behalf for important functions such as: registering your contract of sale at the land registry, liaising with the property owner to ensure the property is safe to purchase and to draw up the contract, to sign the contract on your behalf and other matters. Many North Cyprus Lawyers are British trained too, see our list of recommended lawyers.
Misconception 5 – North Cyprus Title Deeds are unsafe or difficult to obtain.
True: There are extremely safe title deeds available in North Cyprus. It is now a quick process to obtain Permission to Purchase in North Cyprus. The TRNC government underwrites ALL title deeds issued by the North Cyprus government.
The Latest Regulations make North Cyprus property very safe
Due to the complex history of the founding of Northern Cyprus, it is quite understandable that many ex-pat buyers may have misconceptions about the safety of North Cyprus Title Deeds. The good news is that as the years have passed, various new regulations have been passed which have made a sensible new property purchase in North Cyprus increasingly safe and worry-free – with no more risks with a North Cyprus property than in any other overseas property destination. This section explains the how and why of why 10’s of thousands of overseas property buyers now consider a North Cyprus property purchase to be very safe.
There are two main reasons why would-be North Cyprus property buyers have title deed concerns.
a. Do you have concerns that you would not receive your North Cyprus Title Deed?
You may be concerned that you would buy your property and never receive your North Cyprus Title deed. This could arise if either a buyer did not receive permission to purchase OR if the deed was being withheld by the developer.
The cases where deeds are not issued are extremely unfortunate, but there are now new safeguards in place in North Cyprus to prevent this occurring summed up in the new “Estate Agents Bill” which now protects the buyer and insists upon the rapid registration of the contract of sale with the land registry of North Cyprus soon after signing.
Permission to purchase (also known as “P2P”) is a formality and would only be withheld if the individual concerned fails a police check in the country where their passport is issued.
Will I get my North Cyprus title deed?
* If you are an individual who can pass a police check in your country of origin
* If you are buying a new home from a reputable developer with a track record of delivering deeds,
* If the property legalities have been checked by a reputable lawyer, with paperwork which is legally checked by an independent reputable estate agency such as NCI –
Then you will receive a title deed once the developer or private seller is in a position to transfer it.
Please note, you are only allowed one title deed in each individual’s name.
Why do these misconceptions arise? – In terms of obtaining Permission to Purchase (or P2P) there was a period of time several years ago where for political reasons, P2P was being withheld from buyers who wanted to purchase a property which was built on Pre-74 Turkish Title land P2P is now being issued rapidly for all title deed applications.
There are rare cases where there are injunctions or blocks on the granting of the title deed to the buyer – or the deed is shared with another property. NCI recommends you consult a North Cyprus Lawyer who will check all this for you before you make an offer on a property, or before reservation deposit monies are released to the seller, to check the deed exists and is sound.
Our company, North Cyprus International only lists new properties built by companies with a 100% track record on delivering title deeds promptly to the new buyer once they receive them.
b. Do you have concerns that you would receive a title deed but then for some reason lose your North Cyprus Property by virtue of reunification of Cyprus or some other claim?
Perhaps you do not have a worry that you would get a deed. You just don’t trust the North Cyprus Title Deed. This may be for political reasons due to the history of the division of the island between South and North Cyprus and you are concerned that a pre-existing deed may appear to supplant your new North Cyprus deed. Or it may be for another reason.
True: New properties built on Pre-74 and Exchange Title Deed Land in North Cyprus are very safe
There are two types of land deed in North Cyprus on which most new properties are built and which are considered very safe to purchase. Pre-74 Turkish or British Deed properties are built on land which was always part of Northern Cyprus and upon which there can be no claim or property loss. The other type of land deed, most used by developers today and considered by North Cyprus lawyers to be very safe is called “Esdeger” or “Exchange” land. The latter refers to the land where the deed on the land of an equivalent value lost in the south side of Cyprus after the division has been given up in exchange.
The name “TRNC Title Deed” is given to the NEW deeds issued upon new properties which have been built since 1974 when the island was divided and which did not even exist prior to the island’s division and so cannot be claimed by someone else. These deeds are underwritten by the North Cyprus government.
In the possible event of Cyprus reunification (at which point your new North Cyprus property is likely to rise considerably in value) there will be compensation due to former Greek Cypriot landowners for their lost land – as well as to Turkish Cypriot owners who lost up to 20% of the land in the south. However, there has never been any talk of this compensation being paid by the owners of new properties, only by the international community in terms of a Property Commission.
Immovable Property Commission in North Nicosia
There is already a fully functioning Immovable Property Commission in North Nicosia, recognised by the European Courts of Justice as “an effective local remedy” to compensate Greek Cypriots for any lost land in North Cyprus. There are occasionally “restitutions” of older, unmodernised village homes built prior to 1974, which we do not recommend purchasing.
Why do common misconceptions arise about buying North Cyprus property?
Unfortunately, in terms of safety misconceptions, the mainstream media has tended to give maximum publicity to the loss of land in the North of Cyprus, whereas Turkish Cypriots (who lost up to 20% of valuable land in South of Cyprus) do not enjoy the same publicity. To our knowledge, there has only ever been one ex-pat home lost in North Cyprus as the result of a very high profile, government-funded, Greek Cypriot court case which only succeeded as the home had been built in the orchard of an existing older home.
We at NCI would advise all our North Cyprus property buyers to avoid rumours and old information on the internet, and instead, seek reputable legal opinion on the purchase of your new North Cyprus home.
Contact North Cyprus International
We are available round the clock in the UK and Cyprus on live chat, email, skype (nciLondon) or the ‘phone to answer your queries and clear up any misconceptions about the safety of a North Cyprus property purchase. We look forward to helping you purchase a home – one you can enjoy and relax in, worry-free, for many years to come.