Expat buyers rush for properties in Cyprus

Published:  27 Sep at 6 PM
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The Cypriot property market’s surprise recovery is being led by foreign buyers and is showing a significant increase in sales over the past months.

Although interest from Cypriot buyers is still at an all-time low due to difficulties in getting loans, foreign buyers have stepped in and are behind a huge improvement in the island’s real estate market. Local estate agents believe the present time is the best for those investing in property, as prices are still comparatively stable and there’s a good choice of homes available.

Incentives offered by the Cyprus government to foreign investors in property are partially responsible for the turnaround in the market, with Russians, Arabs and the Chinese all interested in houses in the island’s cities. Russian clients head for Limassol and Paphos, whilst Arabs and Chinese buyers seem to prefer Larnaca. The island’s capital, Nicosia, hasn’t generated much interest to date.

Improving sales figures are impressive, with August’s numbers up by 50 per cent on last year and, over the past eight months, sales in general rose by 30 per cent. Even so, estate agents aren’t predicting a return of a property price bubble, as previous circumstances, including Cyprus’s EU entry, are unlikely to be repeated in the future.

Cypriot banks are showing caution as regards any aspect of property purchase, whether by foreigners or locals, again causing real estate agents to discount the possibility of a bubble, although gradual price rises are expected to occur. Lending to Cypriot nationals is at a standstill due to its complicated procedures, and locals are hesitant to purchase due to memories of the recent financial crisis.

Even expats who bring money from their home countries are finding difficulties in opening accounts with Cypriot banks. Foreigners wishing to purchase a home or make other investments are being advised to use a foreign bank operating within the island as money transfers are far easier.
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