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Optimism in the construction sector

The future of the island’s construction sector is optimistic, but repeating the illegal and short-sighted practices of the past will have extremely negative consequences on everyone.

Optimism in the Cyprus construction sectorFOLLOWING a crushing crisis in recent years, the land-development and construction sector shows signs of strong growth, sparking optimism for the future, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.

Addressing the annual general assembly of the land-development and construction business association, Anastasiades said the property market is performing satisfactorily “at all levels”.

“Both in sales and number of building permits, we note that property sales have bounced back to pre-crisis levels, with even brighter prospects,” he said.

The president added that this has an important social dimension, since it directly impacts employment in the construction sector.

“The particularly encouraging results recorded in your sector are the result of your ingenuity and entrepreneurship, and the strong mobilisation the construction businessmen have shown,” Anastasiades said.

In addition, government-sponsored measures also contributed substantially, he claimed.

“Today, a large part of economic activity in our country is owed to new investments, either with domestic or foreign funds,” Anastasiades said.

Incentives offered by the government included zoning regulations and taxation on new developments, the president noted, have helped spur growth, although there is still a long way to go in simplifying procedures, expediting licensing projects, and making it easier to do business.

Land-development and construction business association chairman Pantelis Leptos said the sector has “proven its resilience and strength”.

According to association and government estimates, foreign investment in the property market over the last three years has exceeded €4 billion.

Cyprus investment promotion agency chief Christodoulos Angastiniotis urged caution on the issue of citizenship-for-investment schemes, noting that attracting foreign investment is of paramount importance.

“I warmly urge all association members and everyone else involved in the sector to promote these schemes strictly within the laws and regulations,” he said.

“Because if we lose these schemes as Cyprus due to poor handling and short-sighted practices, the consequences on all of us – not just your sector – will be extremely negative.”

Readers' comments

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  • MartynG says:

    I agree with all the above – nothing has changed – except the – already under close surveillance! – Citizenship – for – Investment! Scheme which when that collapses the same old problems will still be there – plus a load of new properties – empty or part built and the Same old Problems remain!!

    Ed: According to the latest report Cyprus received €4 billion by selling passports over the past year, which accounts for 25% of its GDP.

  • Bob Ellis says:

    The presidents word will fall on deaf ears as the same people are still in control of the developers, banks and the arch villains the lawyers. Badly built overpriced properties are still being thrown up to attract foreigners with EU citizenship and passports.

    Nothing has actually changed in terms of the economy, culture or poor reputation of Cyprus and articles like this really show how desperate the politicians, and ultimately the population are to ignore the truth.

    At this point the President should not be flogging the same dead horse all the presidents flogged; he should be looking to reform the developers, banks and lawyers (including law enforcement) to actually give Cyprus a chance at a future.

    Ed: I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  • andrewm says:

    So a president quite rightly should be giving out positive statements about the future of his country, but he should not give false information about sales figures now being at pre crises levels. That’s a bit of a fundamental error to make unless this is the data he is being fed.

    No harm in looking at the facts and statistics and quoting many encouraging signs in them and still being truthful.

    Ed: It also undermines his credibility.

  • andrewm says:

    Sales are back to pre crises levels?

    I remember reading something recently that even though sales have picked in the last few years up they are still way low before the crisis.
    So, what year is he referring to as the pre crises?
    Plus are these total combined sales he is talking about i.e land, commercial and private property?

    Ed: I assume the president was talking about all property sales – and sales are nowhere near what they were before the crisis. (They are still below the levels achieved in 2000. Look in my Property Sales section.)

  • CostasApacket says:

    TD the elephant, is still in the room, however, the Cypriots continue choosing to ignore him.

    There has to be a major reason or a mind-set issue for them to continue ignoring a situation that allows such illegality, crookedness and artful practices to flourish unhindered.

  • Carol says:

    What happened to the sorting out of the Deeds problem that he was going to do.

    Ed: See my earlier reply to Pippa.

  • Pippa says:

    Does all this optimism include title deeds at the point of sale?

    Ed: Unfortunately not – Title Deeds remain a major stumbling block. As noted in the European Commission’s post-programme surveillance report:

    The currently dysfunctional Title Deeds issuance and transfer system is deterring potential investors and thus, weighing on the liquidity of the property market. Although some measures were taken to streamline the issuance of Title Deeds for new properties, no new measure was announced to provide for a sustainable system of transfer of Title Deeds.

    (In any event the earliest that Title Deeds could be made available would be on the delivery of a property – or a few days after – as in the UK and many other countries.)

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