Buying expat property in Cyprus

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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Popular for decades with British expats, the island of Cyprus is known as the Jewel of the Mediterranean for its sunny weather, long history, friendly locals and glorious scenery.

A former British colony, Cyprus offers a good life for retirees including reasonable accommodation costs, more than adequate healthcare and a laid-back lifestyle. It’s now recovered from the EU-instigated financial meltdown during the 2008 financial crisis although, sadly, a number of expat residents lost their savings as a result. The cost of living and property prices have gone up in the interim, but are still at affordable levels.

For expats looking to purchase property, there’s a choice of new or recently built townhouses and villas in and around the main population hubs, but many incomers prefer the traditional-style homes in quaint villages along the coast or nestling in the hills. Houses within easy driving distance from the island’s main cities or large towns can still be had a reasonable prices compared to the UK.

Some expats are attracted to Northern Cyprus, still under Turkish control, although it’s essential to understand the potential risks of buying within the region. Clean titles are a problem, as many properties were simply taken over by the Turks. Another option is to stay within the southern sector of the island and purchase a home which needs renovation, with many such still available in picturesque locations close by a good choice of amenities.

Paphos is the island’s cultural hub, with its rich heritage and historic attractions as well as international schools, airport and good hospitals, although it’s slightly more expensive than less popular areas at between £88,000 and £200,000 for an apartment. Limassol is the island’s second city, with its house prices slightly higher than in Paphos. For those wishing to renovate a historic home in a village, asking around is the best way to go as real estate agents don’t usually list such properties.

Larnaca boasts glorious beaches, an international airport and cheaper properties than in the two main cities and their surroundings. A townhouse will cost from £160,000, and apartments start around £74,000. For those who decide to risk a property in northern Famagusta city, prices are anything from £87,000 and £240,000.

Wherever you decide to buy, it’s safer to use a licensed real estate agent rather than buying via word-of-mouth or a newspaper or online advertisement, and an attorney will be needed as the purchase process can be complicated. For British expats concerned about the Brexit effect on their overseas retirement plans, it should be noted that, although the island of Cyprus is an EU member state, EU legislation is suspended by treaty in Northern Cyprus and its currency is the Turkish Lira. It’s unclear what that means in terms of expat rights to remain, but for those looking to avoid repatriation post-Brexit, buying in the northern sector might be worth the clean title risk.
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