ACCORDING to the latest figures from the Department of Lands and Surveys, property sales were up in April by 11% compared to last year and by 25% over the first four months of this year compared to last.
These latest figures indicate a slowdown in the market’s recovery reported last month; March figures showed sales had increased by 37% over the previous year and the year-to-date figures showed that sales had increased by 31% during the first three months of the year.
Throughout the first four months of 2010 the number of contracts of sale deposited at Land Registries throughout Cyprus amounted to 2,741 compared to 2,741 during the same period last year; an increase of 25%.
The slowdown may be as the result of Cyprus’ worsening economic situation or perhaps the opportunities highlighted by Solomon Kourouklides a couple of months ago have been exhausted (see ‘Latest property sale figures for Cyprus’ )
On a brighter note, the growth in property sales to foreign buyers reported last month has been maintained with the overall year-to-date growth standing at 3%. However, sales are still down by more than 60% compared to the number sold during the same period in 2008.
There are a number of factors that may be affecting the market in both directions:
- The UK is slowly emerging from recession and Sterling has strengthened considerably against the Euro, mainly as a result of the financial crisis in Greece and the possible result of the general election being held in the UK tomorrow (property sales in some parts of Spain are reportedly up by 200% this year). But for some reason, the Cyprus real estate market does not appear to be benefitting from the improving economic situation in the UK, the strengthening of Sterling or improving investor confidence in overseas property markets.
- The bad news stories about the Cyprus property market continue to make headlines in the UK. Most recently the writ against Denis O’Hare by property developer Leptos resulting in the closure of the Cyprus Property Action Group website, the Leptos Property Action Group ‘Title Deed’ protest in Paphos and Conor O’Dwyer’s protest outside ‘A Place in the Sun’ overseas property exhibition in London have all been reported in the UK media.
- During April the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud resulted in the cancellation of many flights in and out of the UK and other European counties, starving Cyprus of tourists – some of whom would have been potential property buyers.