FIGURES published by the Department of Lands and Surveys yesterday reveal that a total of 354 contracts of sale for the purchase of property were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus last month; a fall of 13 per cent compared with the 408 deposited during July last year.
Of those 354 contracts, which include sales of residential, business and commercial property and land, 71% (251) were deposited on behalf of domestic buyers, while 29% (103) were deposited in favour of overseas buyers.
With the exception of the business centres of Nicosia and Limassol, where sales increased by 8%, sales in the coastal areas of Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos fell by 70%, 38% and 4% respectively compared to July last year.
During the seven months of 2013 a total of 2,133 properties were sold, down 48% compared with the 4,118 sold during the same period in 2012.
Domestic sales in July fell 26% compared with July 2012, with sales falling in all districts.
Sales in Famagusta fell 71%, while those in Paphos fell by 46%. Sales in Larnaca, Limassol and Nicosia were down 40%, 7% and 3% respectively compared to July last year.
During the first seven months of 2013 a total of 1,529 properties were sold to domestic market compared with the 3,249 during the same period last year; a fall of 53%.
This downward trend in local demand is expected to continue while the downturn in the island’s economy persists.
Overseas sales received a welcome boost in July with overall sales increasing by 49% compared with July last year.
Although sales to overseas investors in Famagusta and Larnaca fell 67% and 35% respectively, other districts recorded an increase in sales.
Sales in the commercial centres of Nicosia and Limassol saw sales increase by 150% and 88% respectively, while Paphos, the favoured destination for Chinese investors, saw sales increased by 110%.
Encouraging though these numbers may be, they are still a small fraction of the numbers sold during the boom years before the property bubble burst in 2008.
During the first seven months of 2013 a total of 604 properties were purchased by overseas investors compared with the 869 they bought over the same period last year; a fall of 31%.
The Civil Registry and Migration Department has reported that it has received 445 applications from Chinese nationals seeking permanent residency in Cyprus this year compared with the 29 it received during the whole of 2012.
Speaking to the Cyprus Mail Huali Che, the president of the Chinese friendship association in Cyprus, said that more than 1,000 Chinese nationals have bought properties on the island with some 80% of them setting up home in Paphos.
Meanwhile, the University of Cyprus has plans – tentatively pencilled in for the end of 2014 – to open a Confucius Institute, promoting Chinese language and culture.