THE BRITISH House of Lords is seeking answers as to why UK home buyers in Cyprus are still waiting for their title deeds and wants to know whether the British government intends to pressure Nicosia on the issue.
Answers to the two questions tabled by Lord Jones of Cheltenham are expected in the coming week.
The development is a victory for British home buyers in bringing attention to the plight of those who have not yet received the title deeds to their properties.
The average wait for title deeds in Cyprus is 10-15 years, and there are around 100,000 home owners still waiting, 30,000 of whom are foreigners.
British buyers in Cyprus recently began a campaign, writing directly to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and to their MPs expressing their worries.
And, the global crisis has added extra urgency to the issue. Home buyers are now worried sick over what might happen if property developers are unable to withstand the crisis.
Cypriot buyers are also worried, they say and plan to take their long-standing but less vociferous campaign up a notch in view of what is happening globally.
“The current climate increases the possibility that some developers may go under,” he said. “I can’t imagine the repercussions,” said George Strovolides, president of the Cyprus Land and Property Owners’ Association, known as KSIA.
According to Denis O’Hare who leads the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) developers in Cyprus currently have record mortgages of over €4 billion using their clients’ homes as collateral.
O’Hare said people had a right to know what would happen to them in a worst-case scenario.
“Stating that it has not happened in the past has no bearing whatsoever on these real risks,” he said. “If the vendor has a mortgage on the property, the lending institution has rights which supersede the buyer’s.”
Cypriot property developers said last week that going public about the possibility of companies collapsing was alarmist.
But Lakis Tofarides, the chairman of the Land and Building Developers Association did admit that over the past 10 months, there had been a “discernible and worsening” fall in demand for real estate.
That real estate was holding its own despite the credit crunch was down to a set of circumstances particular to Cyprus, “which nevertheless should not be taken for granted” he said.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008