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Sales to non-Cypriots down 75 per cent

Cyprus saw a 75% drop in the number of properties bought by non-Cypriots from the number sold during the same period last year, according to reports published on Tuesday.

FIGURES published by the Land Registry Department reveal that the number of properties sold to foreign nationals during the seven months to July fell to just below 1,100 from the 4,552 sold during the same period in 2008.

Worst hit areas are Larnaca and Famagusta, where sales to non-Cypriots have fallen by 80%.

This year, house prices have fallen for the first time since 2005. The average cost of a home fell by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Home Price Index produced on behalf of BuySell by MAP S. Platis. (The BuySell Home Price Index for the second quarter of 2009 has yet to be published).

The Land Registry Department has predicted that prices will fall further during the second half of the year. Last month it said that the lack of property sales together with the large debts owed by developers to the banks will result in house prices starting to fall noticeably from September.

In the first half of the year, developers tried to attract buyers with gifts such as free air-conditioning etc. In the second half, they couldn’t bear the pressure of the economic crisis and decided to cut property prices,” said Chairman of the Association of Real Estate Agents Solomon Kourouklides.

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