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The 20% building density increase and its side effects
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
This Government, a few months ago, in order to introduce a simple procedure to cover illegalities relating to the building extent and referring to houses/apts, has introduced a new regulation which allows the owners/buyers to increase the building density prevailing at the time of construction by 20% or up to a minimum of 60 sq. mts (applications are accepted if submitted by the 31.12.2019).
Black money is helping the Cyprus real estate market?
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
Undeclared income, a sudden upsurge a business for some services and limited places to deposit one’s income, are driving some investors towards real estate investment. To this end the somewhat uncertain future of some of the local financiers, the difficulty in exporting one’s money abroad (with questions asked) and low deposit rates, have directed the attention of some cash rich individuals and firms towards local real estate investment.
An unexplored wealth - Department of Lands & Surveys
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
The Department of Lands & Surveys is the recipient of a lot of information regarding sales and other matters relating to real estate. Since the publication of the basic statistics a few years ago, no attempt has been made to expand the information received, with the only information given is the number of transactions per district and if local buyers or foreign. Useful as it may be such a statistic it could be misleading in many respects.
We have real estate options
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
For those brave people who want to invest in real estate with particular reference to houses, now is “their time” to get a good deal, as opposed to that of the previous years. Building land/plots prices are on a downward scale as are building costs and professional fees. Depending on location and district, building land has been reduced in prices by around 25%-35% (from their 2008 levels), whereas building costs are either stable (since 2009) or even showing signs of a reduction (by approximately 10%) but now (2017) they are stabilized. So should you wish to buy a plot and build your own home now is the time. Having said that and unless you want something particular, reflecting your own location, style and want, you must first examine the alternatives in terms of buying a ready home. Ready homes can be acquired from developers whose prices have dropped by around 30%-40% over the last years or choose a resale whose prices are around 40%-50% less than before (the banks assets for sale in addition). The choice is there with numerous properties for sale to accommodate all sorts of budgets and locations.
Returns on Real Estate in Cyprus
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
The returns (yields) on real estate in Cyprus has always being at the lower end. Returns (yields) is the income of a property let in the open market (i.e. the rent) as a proportion of the prevailing market value. The returns are historically low since prior to the 2008 real estate crisis there was a healthy capital appreciation for most properties amounting to 5%-7% p.a. These yields at the time (2008) compared with the deposit rates at approximately 5% showed a return of 4%-5% on real estate and it was reasonable if one adds on top the capital appreciation.
Chinese Buyers & Others
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
It is a fact that part of the foreign buyers of real estate in Cyprus comes from China. China is such a huge country that one cannot pin point the particular locality that demand comes from. The Chinese are mainly interested for the visa acquisition (not so much for the passport measure) at the lower end budget. They are after the minimum €300.000 residential units and by tradition they direct their interest towards Pafos and to a far lesser extent to other areas. Having said this, there are Chinese Cos who showed interest in large scale investments and developments. At Larnaca two hotels are under development by a joint venture with Chinese, whereas another 5 star hotel is also under way in Sotira village with Chinese involvement. These developments by themselves are encouraging for the building industry, but long term though, hopefully, the introduction of the Chinese market will project Cyprus to China to attract tourists.
Time for Real Estate Funds in Cyprus?
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
There are the parameters nowadays, which show that the time is ripe, at least for an initial examination, for the creation of real estate funds in Cyprus.
A velvet revolution for Famagusta planning zones?
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
The Famagusta region, especially the beach areas (Paralimni - Ayia Napa - Sotira) seem to have been left behind in terms of planning zones and densities adopted. The region which attracts the most tourists (local and foreign) does not have demanding Municipalities which can promote the region’s interest, whereas the technocrats in the Government must think “they are villagers what do they know”!! The prevailing building density adopted for near the beach housing is now 20% (used to be 40%) and for hotels from the originally 70% to now 40%.
A new generation of apartments
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
Notwithstanding the prevailing economic situation in Cyprus and notwithstanding the ample supply in the market for apartments, both from the forced sale procedures, as well as the private market, there appears under creation an emerging market for quality units.
Worries for overdoing it?
Antonis Loizou, FRICS
You must be aware of the numerous large scale projects that are under construction and others on the pipeline. These projects including the marinas and golf developments, target mainly foreign buyers who are after the permanent residency visas and passports, which based on the Ministry of Interior reports over the last 3 years approximately €1.7 bil. housing and other units have been sold to this market source.

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