Is Cyprus the best destination for UK retirees

Published:  7 Nov at 6 PM
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For several decades, Cyprus has been a favourite holiday destination for sunshine and hospitality, but is it the best option for UK retirees?

Once under British possession and now divided into two halves with the north under Turkish rule and the south now the Republic of Cyprus, this stunning Mediterranean island has been a favourite for British holidaymakers since cheap flights became a reality. Many visitors returned home dreaming of a sun-baked retirement, but is Cyprus the best place for disenchanted Brits?

Once a bargain basement as regards its cost of living, the Cypriot government’s decision in 2004 to join the EU and take on its currency resulted in a sharp rise in living costs. Even so, newly-arrived expats will be happy to find certain commodities, services and goods at noticeably less cost than in the UK. Rent, utilities, alcoholic drinks, taxis, public transport, fruit and vegetables are all cheaper than at home, although dairy products are far dearer due to the fact there are very few cows on the island.

Cyprus’s cost of living is 24 per cent cheaper than its UK equivalent, with rent at 61per cent lower and average property prices 65 per cent less than in the UK. The 2013 financial crisis hit Cyprus harder than most other European expat destinations, causing its banking system to literally shut down for a brief period of time. Expat savers had their bank accounts raided by the government due to its huge debts, but the bailout programme was cancelled in 2016 as the country no longer needs EU financial support.

The economy is now growing again, unemployment has reduced significantly and property sales are on the increase although prices are still very low. The Cyprus healthcare system includes both public and private facilities, with most medical professionals competent in the English language. Until Brexit kicks in, the European Health Card is still useable, although there’s now a small charge on top for citizens and permanent expat residents. What will happen after Brexit is anyone’s guess, but private healthcare insurance may well be an unaffordable luxury for a good number of UK expats.
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