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Increasing transparency in the Cyprus property market

The Cyprus Economic Intelligence (CEI), which provides a centralised databank that collects, analyses and displays information on the island’s property market, has been launched.

Increasing transparency in the Cyprus property marketTHE MAIN obstacle to investing in the Cyprus property market is the limited transparency of the property market, which is coupled by the lack of clarity regarding processes and procedures.

The lack of reliable market data, combined with the on-going economic turbulence and the complications caused by the lack of title deeds on individual properties, continue to significantly hamper inward overseas investment as they heighten uncertainty regarding specific actions, projects, or assets.

Three years in the making, Cyprus Economic Intelligence (CEI) is a centralised databank that collects, analyses, and displays information on the Cyprus property market. CEI has cleaned and filtered all transactions recorded by the Cyprus Land Registry from 2006 onwards – more than 145,000 transactions – and provides aggregate data up to the municipality or community level. Users are able to break down transaction volume by property type or price band, comparing different geographies or sub-sectors of the island over time.

Breaking down transaction volume by property type and by price band, shows that out of 144,784 properties were sold in Cyprus from 2006 up to Q2 2014 57,480 (circa 40%) were apartments. This is hardly surprising, given the type of developments that were constructed during 2004-2008 or the nature of housing in urban areas, especially in Nicosia and Limassol.

Out of the apartments transacted, 6,527 (circa 11%) were in Famagusta district, with a median price of €114,476. The transaction volume shows that the majority of apartment units transacted were mainly in the other districts, with apartments in Famagusta having a relatively lower price. The latter is understandable, given the density of the district, with most high-density real estate being located near Paralimni rather than closer to the beach.

In terms of the liquidity profile of these apartments it is important to note that during Q2 2014 31 units transacted, having a price of between €100,000-€150,000. This indicates both the rate of sale of a new development, and the liquidity profile of assets given current demand dynamics in terms of transaction volume (rate of sale) and price (demand varies by price band).

Transaction Volume of Apartments in Famagusta District (2014 Q1 & Q2)

Transaction Volume of Apartments in Famagusta District (2014 Q1 & Q2)
Source: Cyprus Economic Intelligence www.cei.com.cy

Transaction Volume by Property Type (2006-2014) Source: Cyprus Economic Intelligence www.cei.com.cy

Transaction Volume by Property Type (2006-2014)
Source: Cyprus Economic Intelligence www.cei.com.cy

Readers' comments

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  • Richard says:

    Interesting comment Alan. On top of all of what we know (and don’t love) about the Republic and the E.U – there is another threat looming – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    I’m hugely cynical about TTIP – mainly because even if we found a way to reasonably arbitrate a solution in Cyprus – if TTIP goes through – there is nothing then stopping people in the Republic selling all of the debt pile off to an American concern for X cents in the $ for them to ‘leverage’ all E.U governments to recover Z cents in the $ using whatever strong-arm capabilities TTIP will give them.

    Very soon – the predictions of George Orwell will be very chillingly real indeed.

    Something for everyone to think about perhaps…?

  • Alan Waring says:

    @Richard. I’m afraid you are right. In a chapter on the Mari-Vassilikos disaster of 11 July 2011 in my book Corporate Risk and Governance (2013, Gower ISBN 978-1-4094-4836-5) this was my comment in the concluding section:

    “In line with Government policy of ‘no transparency’, there have been no public statements or reports (official or unofficial) providing any details of any remedial action by the Cyprus authorities to prevent a recurrence [at Mari or a similar occurrence elsewhere]…..Sovereign corruption mixed with ineptitude and political expediency is a toxic combination that cannot co-exist safely with the effective control of [major hazards]”.

    Apart from the obvious question ‘Well, how about the new Vassilikos Energy complex, then?’, by changing a few words (see bits in square brackets), the above statement applies equally to the Cyprus Property Scandal.

  • Richard says:

    Care must be taken over these ‘transparent’ developments. Right now – the Republic is under the cosh from the E.U. Such measures as these need to be arbitrated by an independent 3rd party to make sure this isn’t a ‘tricky’ Dicky Nixon “whitewash at the Whitehouse” manoeuvre.

    Several years of dealing with the Republic has made me realise they use the E.U rule book when it suits them – and then use it as a doorstop for the remaining 95% of the time. Think naughty dog – muzzle – VERY short lead in one hand – heavy cuffing object at the ready in the other.

    The power base in the Republic has an extremely long way to go before I would even vaguely trust their ‘transparency’.

  • @Andreas D. Symeou on 2014/11/23 at 6:57 pm – I suspect that the veil of secrecy can only be lifted by the government – it currently results in much suspicion, resentment and frustration.

    Even properly formulated Management Committees cannot get the names and addresses of the owners of properties on their developments, making it impossible to bill those owners for management fees or chase them for payment. It’s ridiculous!

  • Andreas D. Symeou says:

    This is very good news! The lack of transparency is one of the major diseases of the Cyprus property market, but also of the whole administrative system of the island. The only drawback is the rather high cost for the user. Actually this sort of services should be provided by the Department of Lands and Surveys at a low cost or even for free.

  • Kufrahdog says:

    Increasing Transparency? You must be joking!

    I’ll believe it when I see:

    1) enshrined in law a proper property conveyancing system that conforms with European norms;

    2) the Cyprus Bar Association prosecute its crooked lawyer members;

    3) crooked developers and civil servants behind bars for the criminal and civil crimes they have committed; and

    4) when the methodology of how the Lands Office calculated the 1980 and 2014 values of properties is revealed to the general public.

    These are just a few of the many ‘transparencies’ required before this wretched country can call itself civilised. KD.

  • Mike says:

    With apologies to my compatriots but isn’t “Cyprus Economic Intelligence” an obvious contradiction of terms given the situation we are in and why?

    On a more serious note, on first reading I got the distinct impression this press release was designed to only employ further NGO staff and produce statistics which are obvious and at the same time talk up or re-inforce the price property is hoped would be at. Interisting to note that the issue of title deeds is not considered part of the main obstacle for not investing in the Cyprus property market.

    To state that, of transactions conducted, 11% of apartments were in Famagusta district and then point out that the majority were therefore in other districts is insulting even my 7 year old grandaughters intelligence. Even she could work that one out.

    If this press release is the result of what an organisation 3 years in the making can produce then my first sentence is justified and proven. I live in hope that the important (intelligent) detail has been lost in translation.

  • @Peter Davis on 2014/11/23 at 7:50 am – There is no need to to pay for an assessor – and it could well be that your neighbour’s property has been valued incorrectly, which would result in their value being revised.

  • Peter Davis says:

    The only transparency I want is the calculation in the working out of the IPT.

    How is it that some of my neighbours with a larger house are valued at less than half of mine? The other I can’t see their IPT. No transparency.

    I know I can appeal, but that will cost me personally €150 plus the cost of an assessor. And I will still have to pay the IPT, making an appeal not worth doing.

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