IF THE problem with the title deeds is not resolved soon, Cyprus will suffer irreparable damages both on a local and an international scale, chartered surveyor and property appraiser Antonis Loizou warned yesterday.
Loizou was speaking after a meeting of the House Commerce Committee, which discussed the difficulties faced by house buyers.
The property appraiser said the main problem in Cyprus was the non-availability of land, and the time-consuming proceedings to obtain building permits.
“In order to construct a new building, you need at least 12 licences,” said Loizou, adding: “It takes seven to eight months for each licence to be issued. And then it takes four to five years after it is built to obtain its title deeds.”
The lengthy delays in obtaining title deeds have reached such dimensions, not just with locals but with foreigners who have bought land on the island, that it will soon be broadcast in a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4, something Loizou warned could be a blow for economy.
“Cyprus receives around £700 million a year from foreign property buyers. If this problem continues, foreigners will be put off,” he said.
And the Turkish Cypriot side may take advantage of this weakness, he added.
“Turkish Cypriots will now say: ‘You have problems over there with your title deeds? Then come over here’.”
Referring to the problems faced by the average family to purchase a new home, Committee Chairman Lefteris Christoforou of DISY said it was the state’s obligation to offer a solution to the problem.
“The prices are unattractive and 28 to 30 per cent of the costs to build new buildings go to the state. I believe the state should collaborate with Parliament and implement a directive, simplifying all the procedures needed to obtain licensing.”
He added that it was unacceptable for Cypriots and foreigners to have to go through such time-consuming procedures in order to obtain their title deeds.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2006