Shock newcomer Northern Cyprus nabbed the top spot on TheMoveChannel.com's May Investment Property watch chart, perhaps a reflection of the renewed efforts to allow direct flights between the country and UK airports. France and the USA followed in Cyprus' wake in the chart, which tracks the level of interest in certain properties and countries from visitors to the site...
Moves to lift a ban on direct flights between UK airports and Northern Cyprus could have a huge impact on interest in investment in the country. Currently being challenged in the High Court, the ban has so far lasted 35 years, causing considerable inconvenience for travellers.
Leading the challenge is Cyprus Turkish Airlines, (CTA) which flies about 100,000 visitors from the UK to Northern Cyprus each year. Currently, CTA, together with all other airlines, must land in Turkey en route both to and from Northern Cyprus.
If the direct flights are approved, it will not only encourage international tourists and investors, but will also provide a boost for Turkish Cypriots and their companies who are currently restricted from travelling and conducting business with the EU and the rest of the world.
Traditionally, Cyprus has fallen under the radar of many international investors, due to the civil war and the subsequent division of the island.
Despite these issues now being 35 years old, a history of conflict is hardly going to entice investors, especially those thinking of injecting a large sun of money into an uncertain property market.
But now, a new dawn has broken, particularly in the northern part of the island. At the end of last year, a conference hosted by the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency and the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce in the UK, was held to look at the business and financial potential of investing in Northern Cyprus.
It revealed that Northern Cyprus now offers some of the most competitive business and investment opportunities in Europe. Despite, or perhaps because of many years of trade restrictions, the country has been largely free from the mercurial currency movements and offers untapped opportunities for investment.
The cost of living in Northern Cyprus is substantially cheaper than those countries within the Eurozone and the chances of an agreement being reached between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots looks ever more likely. Once this is reached, international interest in Northern Cyprus is expected to skyrocket.
The whole island already boasts a buoyant tourist sector, attracting more than 700,000 tourists a year with its ideal climate and golden beaches.
James Churchman of the Armarium Group, which is selling the new homes in Nicosia which attracted the most interest from visitors to the site last month, said, "There is a lot of talk about current market conditions and whether now is a good time to invest.
"This particular opportunity has been created by the Government itself and is the first time that private equity has been allowed to invest in Government backed projects.
"It has been packaged specifically for the pure investor amongst us and is ideal for clients that want to apply a greater degree of control over their capital with a fixed 36 month return," he added.
France has been in the top three most popular destinations for UK property buyers for years and two thirds of French property sold to foreigners is to British people.
Whilst property prices are relatively high, they are still around 30 per cent cheaper than in the UK, but the tax structure - which levies tax at far higher rates than in Britain - has traditionally put some people off.
But, President Sarkozy is now trying to change that - he has already introduced tax relief on mortgages, cut wealth and income taxes and has reduced the notoriously unpopular inheritance tax.
This may well have a dramatic impact on the French property market, both attracting more international investors and meaning French citizens have more money to play with.
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Other movers and shakers
The USA took third place in May's chart, followed by Madeira at number four. Brazil sneaked in to take fifth. Old favourite Italy took sixth place whilst the taste of sun and sea proved too much for some to resist - landing the Caribbean seventh place.
Turkey took ninth place whilst Australia finished off the chart in tenth place.
For more information on investment property and the market in general, please visit http://investment.themovechannel.com/
Notes to editors:
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