WE understand that a bill concerning an amnesty for property owners who have committed urban planning violations will be submitted to the Cyprus Parliament before the end of the year.
Speaking to Parliament, Interior MInister Neoclis Silikiotis said: “It’s not an issue of urban amnesty only, but it is about mortgages to banks or other urban planning violations. We try to clarify all this with laws. The victim in this case is the buyer, who was not aware of these problems”.
The Interior Ministry’s budget for 2009 has been increased to help facilitate the computerisation of public services and the simplification of the Urban Planning and Land Registry procedures. (We understand that Cyprus currently ranks last in the EU in the sector of electronic governance).
IN a separate development, the Urban Planning Department is proposing to allow the construction of smaller apartments in higher blocks and introduce measures against land owners who refuse to release their land for development.
It seems that the Department wants to reduce the minimum area for one-bedroom apartments. Currently, the minimum size for a one-bedroom unit is 55m2, but the Department may look to reduce this to 45m2 or even 40m2. This will have the effect of pushing values down.
The Department is also proposing the granting of permits for the construction of 25 storey blocks of apartments.
In an interview with StockWatch, Urban Planning Manager Mr. Christodoulos Ktorides said: “I would say that prices will return to normal levels. The current property prices are not real and must return to their normal level. There will be a fairer and mass offer; it will be a form of super market of economic sale and production of flats”.
Concerning the construction of high-rise apartment blocks, he said: “We will select areas where development will not cause traffic and environmental problems and we will offer increased building ratio and more floors. We won’t go on with proposals to impress but with feasible proposals”.
And with regard to the proposed measures land owners refusing to release their land for development: “If someone has a mature land ready for development and fails to divide it, he will be punished for not allowing development. We will give counter-incentives so that they are enforced to develop it the soonest possible. We will start with incentives and we will end up with serious counter-incentives”.