We are writing this article because there is a big confusion regarding what property owners of beach properties actually own. The seaside plots may be affected by the seashore protection zone. This zone, which is indicated on the official plans, sets a distance from the seashore line (approximately 300 metres) within which you cannot erect any structure.The word structure, includes items such as a pool, a kiosk, pavements, patios, fencing etc etc. It is an area of land which belongs to you, you can use the building density in the remaining unaffected plot, but it is an area which can be used only as a garden. If the plot/affect of the seashore zone is such, that you cannot exploit your ownership to its full extent, then you might apply for a relaxation to the local planning authority. If the authority is in agreement, then you will need the permit of the Council of Ministers. It is a difficult and lengthy process (it takes 2-3 years) and you must have a very good reason for the authorities to be persuaded to grand such a relaxation. It is certain that a relaxation will not be given for a pool, nor underground structure and not even a car patio (within the seashore zone).
Another item to consider is the area between the beach house plot boundaries and the seaside. This area, which you might use as “your” garden, in fact it is not in your ownership. In addition to the area affected by the seashore protection zone, the remaining area (towards the beach) may have been ceded from the privately owned plot, as a public green. If you buy a beach property, make sure that this public green area is not included in the deal, because we know that unaware buyers experience otherwise. This illegal inclusion of public green, as part of one’s garden, is more evidently seen in the Larnaca coastal line. We have noted one developer who includes in the square meterage of the plot for sale, the public green area which he himself has signed off for the public use!!
For these reasons when you buy a beach house/building plot, make sure that you clear the situation and do not adopt that what you see on the ground is/will be yours. The question remains however, whether the public green which is usually in front of one’s property, it can be used by the authorities to build something. The answer is that since the area falls within the seashore protection zone, then nothing can be built. It has become quite common, however, for the authorities to build a seaside walkway, placing benches etc, but nothing more. We have noted that in Limassol, for example, a number of kiosks has been erected, which we expect that they will become (illegally) into small cafes in the future. In this particular example in Limassol, these structures do not block anyone’s view and one could even argue that this is an improvement. If it happens under other circumstances however, bear in mind that the Government cannot do what it does not allow for its citizens (European Court decision).
Seaside house prices have shot through the roof over the recent years. Limassol prices are in the region of £7.000/m² (apartments, new, around £2.500/m².), Larnaca around £2.500/m². and for the Protaras area £3.000/m². Paphos has no seaside properties from which we can provide you with an indication, but should anything appears in the market we expect no less from £4.000-£5.000/m²ts. The prices quoted refer to new properties within the development areas and within the urban development locations. Remote beach areas have a much lower value and depending on the beach quality it will vary from anything between £1.500-£2.000/m² – all prices depend on quality and facilities provided. This trend of high prices has been caused primarily by the foreign market, since locals do not have the financial ability nor the inclination (being a holiday home) to pay a price which amounts to a “large” fortune. This situation is expected to get worse with prices moving upwards, be it not at the same fast rate as it was in the past and it will very much depend on the availability of the foreign demand. It is certain that Cyprus’ coastal line becomes shorter and shorter as development takes place, creating, thus, an increasingly monopolistic element of value.
By Antonis Loizou, FRICS – December 2006