Despite negative perceptions about property ownership  in North Cyprus, there has been an increase in the number of Middle East investors acquiring property in the area, sources told Gulf News.
Interested buyers based in the Gulf, including Omanis, Qataris and expat oil workers  in Dubai, have flooded dealers with queries about property pieces they can use either as secondary home, retirement or holiday retreat.Many of them are Arab lifestyle clients seeking a cooler place for the summer and European expatriates looking for a place to retire to or spend vacation in.
With investor interest from the Middle East rising, at least one property firm reported a 350 per cent increase in sales during the last quarter.
Real estate experts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have brushed aside claims that the region is not safe for foreign investors due to land disputes as a result of the division of the island into the Turkish (Muslim) North and Greek South.
Angela Henderson, marketing manager for Evergreen Developments  pointed out that a proportion of the land in Northern Cyprus are not disputed because they have always belonged to Turkish Cypriots and are covered by an internationally recognised legal document called “pre-74 Turkish title”.
“Informed investors from the Middle East are rushing to buy such secure property and prices are rising fast. With South Cyprus virtually bankrupt, investors are moving deposits to secure Turkish banks in [TRNC) which looks set to become a Monaco-style offshore investment haven. Sadly, those who stick with the outdated attitudes will lose out,” Henderson told Gulf News.
Over the last three months, Evergreen Developments noticed an average 400 per cent rise  in enquiries from people in the Gulf states, with Qatar posting the highest increase.
“Our sales generally are up by 350 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, of which for our company, about half of this increase is made up of both GCC or Arab nationals and expatriates in the Middle East. This has actually been predominantly expatriates but we have a growing number of Arabic buyers . Our sales this week include Omanis and other expatriate oil workers from Dubai,” she added.
Mustafa Sener, senior partner at Sener Law, a major legal firm in TRNC, said that in the last two months, they have noticed a “massive increase” in conveyancing instructions from Middle East clients “At least 25 per cent [compared to only 1-2 per cent last year] of our business now comes from this area. For us, this is predominantly GCC, Arab nationals from Dubai and Qatar,” Sener said.
It is due to high demand that Henderson is in Dubai today to meet investors, and to co-host a cocktail evening at the Novotel on Thursday as part of the International Property Fair.