12° Nicosia,
20 July, 2024

The $10 billion plan to rebuild Cyprus's ghost town

New real estate rules in occupied Cyprus aim to curb foreign property ownership


The Turkish newspaper Sözcü has drawn attention to Varosha, an abandoned area in Famagusta, calling it the "Las Vegas of the Mediterranean." The paper says it would take $10 billion to bring the ghost town back to life after being abandoned for 50 years.

The report describes Varosha as a place with old luxury car dealerships, shops selling brands like Hoover and Singer, and several hotels like the Asterias and Florida. In total, the area has 105 hotels, 3,000 shops, 99 entertainment venues, 4,649 summer homes, 21 banks, and 24 theaters and cinemas.

Sözcü claims that Greek Cypriots have rejected offers to return Varosha in exchange for lifting economic embargoes. The area was opened to visitors in October 2020 after a survey of its condition began in 2019.

Another Turkish newspaper, Turkiye, reported on new measures to control property sales to foreigners in Northern Cyprus, particularly from Israeli buyers. The article, titled "The Step that Spoiled Israel's Secret Plan," explained that Northern Cyprus authorities, with a warning from Turkey, have imposed stricter rules to prevent large-scale foreign ownership.

The new regulations, which came into effect recently, limit foreign buyers to purchasing only apartments or houses, and they can only buy land up to 2.5 acres. The minimum investment amount for foreigners buying land has been increased to 20 million euros.

These changes mean that property transactions must now go through the "land registry" instead of private law offices, and certain administrative steps have been eliminated. Turkish citizens, however, can now buy up to three properties.

Real estate experts noted that property prices in occupied Cyprus vary widely. A small apartment in Nicosia can cost around 60,000 pounds sterling, while similar properties in Famagusta can go up to 120,000 pounds sterling. They predict that with ongoing developments, areas like Trikomo and Kyrenia could become popular tourist destinations like Bodrum and Cesme in Turkey within the next decade.

[Information sourced from CNA]

Cyprus  |  Turkey

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