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Home sales continue slide despite incentives

Despite cuts in VAT and transfer taxes, and revised laws designed to improve consumer protection, the number of properties being sold in Cyprus is continuing to decline according to government figures.

FIGURES released on Friday by the Department of Lands and Surveys show that the number of properties being sold in Cyprus is continuing to fall despite tax incentives introduced by the government late last year.

A total of 563 contracts for the sale of property were deposited at Land Registries across Cyprus in March compared with the 625 deposited in March 2011; a fall of 9.9% – and a drop of more than 70% on the 1,903 contracts deposited in March during the boom year of 2007.

In January sales climbed 54%, hitting an 18-month high, as people waiting to deposit their contracts of sale until after tax reductions had been introduced by the government. But with the exception of January, sales have continued to slide following a brief recovery during the first half of 2010.

Uncertainty in the market, liquidity problems and record levels of unemployment continue to push sales down. Local commentators believe that crunch time will come in July, when the bank’s recapitalisation projects will be completed. Until then the market will progressively slow down and there will be very little activity.

Source: Department of Lands and Surveys

Readers' comments

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  • Ben Cooper says:

    Following on from Andrew’s comments regarding outstanding title deeds (and not wishing to further discourage property buyers), may I state that I have been waiting 30 years for the title deeds for my house purchased on October 1982! Is this a record -why not create a league table, island wide to highlight the iniquity of the system existing in this small corner of the EU?

  • George says:

    Larnaca is up!! Larnaca is the future of Cyprus if the Chinese are really going ahead with their planned duty free trading zone/shopping centre/ Chinese product wholesalers etc.

    Buy now while you have the chance because soon there will be thousands of Chinese traders driving round Larnaca in their BMWs etc. Lucky they don’t tend to be so tall so they can squeeze nicely into a lot of the holiday apps built or half built.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    @Nigel, Thank you for the links.

    I think it would be very useful for anyone purchasing a property in Cyprus to have a simple document showing the timeline/steps involved and the various costs and charges they will need to pay along the way.

    It seems to me that a lot of purchasers just find out about these previously unknown charges as they go along, not knowing what is coming around the corner next!

  • Costas Apacket says:

    @Andrew, – you are absolutely correct, but in addition to this, if the Government really wants people to come forwards and declare irregularities or be more forthcoming in paying for their Title Deeds when they are available, then the Government should reduce the ridiculous amount of transfer tax that is levied on property Title Deeds which is totally disproportionate.

    Another cost that many people are never made aware of is that when you finally get your Title Deeds for a property on which you have a mortgage, the mortgage has to be registered with the Land Registry at a cost of 1% of 110% of the mortgage.

    So if your mortgage is, for example, €100,000, then you have to pay 1% of €110,000, (€1,100), just to register the mortgage with the Land Registry!

    On top of this there is also a fee for Mortgage stamps: which is 0.15% for the first €170,860 of your mortgage, and 0.20% for any amount of mortgage above this!

    Is anyone else unaware of this?

    If so speak to your Bank before you get the same surprise as me!

  • @Costas Apacket and everyone else – information on various taxes and charges raised in connection with the acquisition and sale of property by the Inland Revenue Department and the Department of Lands & Surveys can be found listed in:

    Tax Facts & Figures – published by PwC and

    The Citizen’s Charter – published by the Department of Lands & Surveys.

    Note that the Stamp Duty on contracts, listed on page 48 of the PwC publication, applies to contracts relating to the sale/purchase of property.

  • Andrew says:

    It is not a tax incentive that is needed.

    Give people their full, clean Title Deeds at the point of sale on all new build property and then watch sales steadily increase.

    Why should buyers have to wait for years hoping to receive what is rightfully theirs and not knowing if their developer has mortgaged or remortgaged their land?

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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