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Cyprus property trends: Does Google hold the key?

EARLIER today I was speaking with a journalist from one of the local newspapers. Needless to say, our conversation was on the subject of property, including the interest being shown by foreign buyers. As the earlier article “Cyprus property: should we fear a slump?” by Stefanos Evripidou reported, there are many conflicting views by various […]

EARLIER today I was speaking with a journalist from one of the local newspapers. Needless to say, our conversation was on the subject of property, including the interest being shown by foreign buyers.

As the earlier article “Cyprus property: should we fear a slump?” by Stefanos Evripidou reported, there are many conflicting views by various ‘interested’ parties and it is extremely difficult to get an accurate picture of the situation.

As far as I’m aware, the only ‘accurate’ source of information on the number of properties being sold in Cyprus and the prices they are achieving is the Land Registry. Virtually all Contracts of Sale for property are deposited there, and so it should be a relatively straightforward process for the Land Registry to analyse their database to provide this information.

Indeed, earlier this month the Land Registry produced figures showing that 29,949 non-Cypriot buyers were waiting for their Title Deeds and that in the last three and a half years, 4,400 property Titles had been transferred to non-Cypriots. These figures immediately scotched the widely reported assessment that it takes between five and eight years to get Title Deeds. A bit of simple arithmetic shows that the average time to get Title Deeds is more like twelve years, if past performance is anything to go by!

Does Google hold the key?

After we’d finished our conversation, I thought some more about his question. It occurred to me that Google may hold the key to answering at least some of his questions about the Cyprus property market.

Google Trends is a tool from Google Labs that shows the popularly of Internet searches from the beginning of 2004 to now. By simply visiting Google Trends and typing ‘Cyprus property’ the amount of interest being shown by Internet users using Google to search for Cyprus property over the last four years is displayed as a graph. This is what I discovered:

As you can see from the graph below, the index peaked at around 1.75 in the middle of 2004. At the present time, the index is on a downward trend around 0.5. So we could say that interest in those looking for Cyprus property has dropped by somewhere in the region of 70%.

Google trends for Cyprus property - all regions

Looking at the results of Google searches emanating from the UK below, the situation is marginally worse. From a peak of around 1.8 in July 2004, the index is now hovering around the 0.5 mark.

Google trends for Cyprus property - UK region

OK, this isn’t a very scientific method of finding out what’s happening in the Cyprus property market. But Google does paint a worrying picture for those trying to sell property here.

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