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Property sales soar (update)

The number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registries across Cyprus in December was the highest recorded since September 2008 according to official figures from the Department of Lands & Surveys.

Cyprus property sales

THE DEPARTMENT of Land and Surveys reported an almost unbelievable 121 per cent rise in the number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus during December compared with December 2015.

This 121% rise follows a 46% rise in November, a 37% increase in October and a 50% increase in September bringing the annual increase to 43%; the largest year-on-year rise for the past decade.

Of the 1,134 contracts, 780 (69%) were deposited by domestic (Cypriot) purchasers, while 31% (354) were deposited by overseas (non-Cypriot) purchasers.

Part of the increase is probably accounted for by those taking advantage of the concession introduced in 2015 exempting those who bought property by 31st December 2016 from paying Capital Gains Tax regardless of when they sold the property.

However, we also know that an unknown number of these property sales contracts relate to ‘non-sale’ agreements such as loan restructurings, recoveries and debt-to-asset swaps agreed between the banks and defaulting borrowers.

As the Department of Lands & Surveys does not record these ‘non-sale’ agreements separately, the figures presented do not accurately reflect the real number of property sales.

We can only hope that the Department of Lands & Surveys will amend its statistics to separate actual sale contracts from ‘non-sale’ agreements so that an accurate picture can be presented, which will benefit both the property industry and those who may be considering buying property on the island.

Sales rose in all district compared with December 2015. In percentage terms Nicosia led the way with sales up 156%, followed by Limassol, where sales rose by 156%. Meanwhile, sales in Paphos, Famagusta and Larnaca rose by 137%, 107% and 18% respectively.

Total Property Sale Transactions – 2015/2016 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia2015464583888661603765646054
201654
79
82
79829810264818086144
Famagusta2015162717172133451430293342
201622
3533
35
2434
2741 32 471987
Larnaca2015907198676811195758587111114
201678
108121
127
103120
12381 121 111114153
Limassol2015959716011513513515687114166137169
201692
179197
166
145222
220129 195 270249432
Paphos201574859494951241408891117105134
201681
100106
107
120183
153136127  126183318
Totals
2015321325452381405464496301385463446513
2016327
501539
514
474657
625451  556 634651 1134

Annual performance

During 2016 sales rose by 43% compared with 2015, with sales increasing in all districts. In percentage terms sales in Limassol over the year rose by 59% and in Paphos they rose by 40%. Meanwhile sales in Nicosia, Famagusta and Larnaca rose by 38%, 35% and 27% respectively.

Domestic property sales

Property sales to the domestic (Cypriot) market in December rose 106% compared to December 2015, with sale (and ‘non-sale’) agreements reaching 780 compared with 378 in the same month last year.

Domestic sales rose in all district compared with December 2015. In percentage terms Nicosia led the way with sales up 164%, followed by Limassol, where sales rose by 150%. Meanwhile, sales in Paphos, Famagusta and Larnaca rose by 92%, 76% and 41% respectively.

Domestic Property Sale Transactions – 2015/2016 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia2015393671747458563655605044
201643
70
10
6968929458757073116
Famagusta2015921616930281425242441
2016203121
33
24 71932 22 379 72
Larnaca2015774991404582606253598181
2016689685
91
93 759167 90 8174 114
Limassol201571771479086100123658112782123
201668158145
122
126 162156101 142 202196 307
Paphos2015393886643463836447927189
2016617259
65
105 1267488 98 83111 171
Totals
2015235202411284248333350241261352308378
2016260427382
380
416
462
434346  427 473463  780

Annual performance

During 2016 domestic sales rose 46% compared with 2015, with sales increasing in all districts. In percentage terms sales in Limassol over the year rose by 61% and in Paphos they rose by 46%. Meanwhile sales in Nicosia, Famagusta and Larnaca rose by 38%, 37% and 31% respectively.

Overseas property sales

Property sales to the overseas (non-Cypriot) market, which are unaffected by ‘non-sale’ agreements during December rose 162% compared with December 2015 with 354 properties sold compared with 135 in the same month last year.

Overseas sales rose in all district compared with December 2015. In percentage terms Famagusta led the way with sales up 1400% (having sold just one property in December 2015) followed by Paphos, where sales rose by 227%. Meanwhile, sales in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca rose by 180%, 172% and 18% respectively.

Overseas Property Sale Transactions – 2015/2016 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia2015791214123411041010
201611
9
10
10 14686 6101328
Famagusta2015725111231705591
20162 412
2
0
27
89 10 10 10 15
Larnaca201513227272329351332283033
201610 1236
36
10
45
3214 31 30 40 39
Limassol2015242013254935332233395546
201624 2152
44
19
60
6428 53 68 53 125
Paphos201535478306161572444353445
201620 2847
42
15
577948 29 43 72 147
Totals
201586123419715713114660124111138135
201667 74157
134
58
195
191105  129 161 188 354

Year to date performance

During 2016 sales to the overseas (non-Cypriot) market were up 34% compared with  2015, with sales reaching 1,813 compared with 1,349.

Sales since 2000

Sales in 2007, immediately before the property bubble burst, reached 21,245. In 2013 sales reached their lowest on record at 3,767. In 2014 sales rose 20% to reach 4,527 and in 2015 they rose 9% to reach 4,952.

In 2016 combined sales and ‘non-sales’’ reached 7,073, slightly more than 2011.

Cyprus Property Sale Transactions 2000 – 2016

YearOverseas SalesDomestic SalesPercentage
Overseas Sales
Total
Sales
200045012,2143.6%12,664
20011,20712,8498.6%14,056
20022,54814,11115.3%16,659
20033,98115,29420.7%19,275
20045,38411,94731.1%17,331
20056,48510,10639.1%16,591
20068,3558,59849.3%16,953
200711,2819,96453.1%21,245
20086,6368,03145.2%14,667
20091,7616,40921.6%8,170
20102,0306,56823.6%8,598
20111,6525,36623.5%7,018
20121,4764,79323.5%6,269
20131,0172,75027.0%3,767
20141,1933,33426.4%4,527
20151,3493,60327.2%4,952
2016
1,8135,25025.7%7,063
Totals
58,618141,18729.3%199,805

It appears that a recovery in the property market is underway. But there is still a long way to go before sales reach 12,664; the number sold in the year 2000.

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