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Impressive growth in Cyprus property sales

The impressive growth in Cyprus property sales continued in March with the number of properties sold rising in all districts (with the exception of Famagusta) according to the Department of Lands and Surveys.

Cyprus property sales - impressive growthTHE NUMBER of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across the Republic of Cyprus during March 2018 rose 23 per cent compared to March 2017 according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.

This follows increases of 46% in February, 64% in January and 36% in December.

During March a total of 768 contracts or the sale of residential and commercial properties and land (building plots and fields) were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus, compared with the 626 deposited in March 2017.

The figures show a continuing improvement in the economic conditions, coupled with government measures (such as the citizenship by investment scheme) – and although banks remained burdened with very high levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) they are now in a better position to grant loans to those buying property.

Of the 768 contracts deposited, 431 (49%) were for properties purchased by Cypriots, while the remaining 337 (51%) were for properties purchased by non-Cypriots.

Although sales in Famagusta remained the same as last year, they increased in all the other districts.

In percentage terms Nicosia led the way with sales rising by 59% followed by Limassol, where sales rose by 35%. Meanwhile sales in Paphos and Larnaca rose by 6% and 3% respectively.

Total Property Sale Contracts – 2017/2018 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201772
73
79
801181621247687117170306
2018146 96
126
Famagusta201721
1940
29
3846
5947575152169
201848 52
40
Larnaca2017102
100113
69
11996
10388107 111151181
2018112 99
116
Limassol2017132
177232
192
298304
289201203306321532
2018225 256
314
Paphos201796
87162
136
183235
184160148183212349
2018164 163
172
Totals2017423
456626
506
756843
739572 602 768906 1537
2018695 666768

During the first quarter of 2018 the number of contracts for the sale of property deposited at Land Registry offices has risen 41% to 2,129 compared to the 1,505 deposited during the first quarter of 2017.

The highest rise of 75%, was recorded in Famagusta, followed by Nicosia (the capital) with a 64% increase. Rises of 47%, 45% and 4% were recorded in Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca respectively.

Domestic property sales

Sales of property to the domestic market in March were disappointing, falling by 2% compared to March 2017. Although sales in Nicosia and Limassol rose by 46% and 13% respectively, they fell by 48% in Paphos, 25% in Famagusta and 21% in Larnaca.

Domestic Property Sale Contracts – 2017/2018 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201763
69
71
621031501097072100154270
2018126 84 104
Famagusta2017201724
23
27313025432835149
2018-3 18 18
Larnaca2017778085
49
767062637372115134
201860 44 67
Limassol201797130176
152
202227194160153197241428
2018107 152 199
Paphos2017734782
93
881579381100105142209
201818 8 43
Totals2017330343438
379
496
636
488399 441 502687 1190
2018308 306 431

During the first quarter of 2018, property sales to the domestic market have fallen 6% compared with the first quarter of 2017. Over the first quarter of the year Limassol is the most popular district achieving 458 sales followed by Nicosia with 314, Larnaca with 171, Paphos with 69 and Famagusta with just 33 sales.

Sales to the overseas market

For the first time that I can recall, the number property sales to the overseas market during March exceeded the number of domestic sales, accounting for 51% of total sales.

But it is still unclear how the Department of Lands & Surveys has improved the methodology it uses to calculate the figures; most annoying!

The Land Registry figures reveal that a total of 337 sale contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots during March 2018. Of those 113 were deposited by EU nationals and the remaining 224 by non-EU nationals, but we cannot quantify the number of non-EU citizens who bought property with a view to applying for citizenship.

Paphos recorded the largest number of overseas sales at 129. Limassol recorded 83, Larnaca 49, while Nicosia and Famagusta each recorded 22 sales.

Overseas Property Sale Contracts – 2018

DistrictSourceJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
NicosiaEU10 8 9
Non-EU10 413
Total201222
FamagustaEU15 248
Non-EU36 1014
Total513422
LarnacaEU9 99
Non-EU43 4640
Total525549
LimassolEU15 1732
Non-EU103 8783
Total118104115
PaphosEU41 5855
Non-EU105 9774
Total146155129
TotalsEU90 116113
Non-EU 297 244224
TOTAL387360337

During the first quarter of 2018, a total of 1,084 properties have been bought by overseas buyers.

Paphos remains the most popular spot for non-Cypriot buyers with sales reaching 430. Limassol is in second place with 337, followed by Larnaca with 156, Famagusta with 107 and Nicosia with 54.

Property sales 2000 – 2018

Cyprus Property Sale Contracts 2000 – 2018

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
2017
2,4066,32827.5%8,734
2018 (Mar)
1,084 1,045 50.9% 2,129
Totals
62,108148,56029.5%210,668

 

Readers' comments

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  • Kath says:

    I would be interested to know how many sales have been made on properties without Title Deeds at bargain basement prices.

    Listening to what you have already said I expect that is not possible to find out or even if it is possible to find out if mainly new builds are being being sold.

    Ed: Unfortunately the number of properties sold without Title Deeds isn’t reported. But the number of contracts deposited may give an indication as if a property has a Title Deed it’s not necessary to deposit a contract for specific performance as the purchase and transfer can take place at the same time.

  • Richard says:

    Ed: One thing that concerns me greatly is the fact that the number of contracts deposited by non-Cypriots in January the Land Registry office in Famagusta exceed the total number of contracts deposited at that office. Hopefully it’s simply be a clerical error.

    A clerical error? In Cyprus? Surely not?!
    That’s the danger of only employing someone because they are someone else’s cousin.

    Whilst we are as excited as anyone about possible useful upward trends – we remain cynically sceptical of all data on that island. Any ‘interesting developments” need triangulating from a variety of sources as relying on one source is dangerous (especially if it’s from a state department where they operate at three speeds – dead slow, stop and reverse).

    Ed: There is only one source of the data – the Department of Lands & Surveys.

  • Richard says:

    “Ed: In the first quarter of 2008 a total of 1,759 sales contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots – and we still don’t know how the 2018 figures are being calculated.”

    That last point is critical to understand – and please keep pushing on the issue despite the commentary you’d had back (a lot of which draw somewhat irrelevant parallels with all manner of (in)/comparable data sources within the UK.)

    When we see a proper hard-data supported trend emerging – some of the problems people face with the banks may perhaps get a little easier to resolve.

    Ed: One thing that concerns me greatly is the fact that the number of contracts deposited by non-Cypriots in January the Land Registry office in Famagusta exceed the total number of contracts deposited at that office. Hopefully it’s simply be a clerical error.

  • Martyn says:

    Why is Famagusta included in the sales figs I thought that part of the island was under Turkish control and desolate.

    Ed: Not all of the Famagusta district is under the control of the Turkish occupying forces.

  • MartynG says:

    The %age of Overseas sales in the 1st 1/4 of 2018 look encouraging, short-term only so far but nudging up towards 2006-8 zones. There’s certainly greater buoyancy in and around Limassol, very probably boosted by further €500k + sales……But we have also noticed considerably improved interest and sales in some of the near coastal ‘traditional villages’.

    ‘Very cautious Optimism’ seems to be re-emerging!

    Ed: In the first quarter of 2008 a total of 1,759 sales contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots – and we still don’t know how the 2018 figures are being calculated.

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