ACCORDING to figures released by the Department of Lands and Surveys, 127 contracts of sale in favour of overseas buyers were deposited at Land Registries throughout Cyprus during August compared to the 167 deposited during July 2010 and 93 in August 2009.
Foreign demand for property over the first eight months of the year has been ‘disappointing’ with 1,222 properties being sold compared to the 1,190 sold during the first eight months of last year. This increase of 2.7% is very small considering last year’s exceptionally low sales figures. Some pundits hoped for a recovery in sales during the summer months, but these have been dashed.
The largest increase in sales to non-Cypriot buyers has been in Nicosia, where sales have risen by almost 55%. But Nicosia has been an exception with the once popular seaside towns showing smaller increases and falls in property sales.
Chairman of the Estate Agents Association of Cyprus, Solomon Kourouklides, said “The negative economic condition in the United Kingdom, Cyprus’ main market, does not allow the purchase of properties by the British, while the drop in the property prices in the UK contributes negatively too”.
According to Mr Kourouklides, the figures stress the need to find new markets for Cyprus apart from the UK and Russia, such as China, the Arabic countries and Iran.
Once a destination of choice for British overseas home buyers, Cyprus has fallen from grace as overseas property investors have virtually deserted the island in search of safer places to invest their money.
Mr Kourouklides blames the fall in British buyers on the economic situation in the UK and the fall in UK property prices. But he fails to mention the Title Deed fiasco, developers abusing the island’s antiquated property laws, the ludicrously high mortgage interest rates in Cyprus, and the Island’s tarnished reputation amongst the overseas property buying community.
Furthermore, the case of Ken and Mary Hudson reported a few days ago casts serious doubts on Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis’ statement on Title Deeds last year in which he reported that “the property market in Cyprus is stable and secure”.
Is it any wonder that the Brits are looking elsewhere?