ACCORDING to the Department of Lands & Surveys’ figures published earlier today, the number of property contracts deposited at Land Registries throughout Cyprus in April was 542 compared with the 675 deposited in April last year; a fall of nearly 20%.
During the first quarter of 2011 property sales have fallen by more than 16% compared to last year and are just 4% higher than the number sold during the first quarter of 2009 (which was the poorest year for sales since 2002).
Sales during the first quarter were down in all areas. The areas worst affected by the downturn are Larnaca and Famagusta, where sales are down 35% and 22% respectively compared to last year. Sales in Paphos fell by 14%; in Limassol they fell by 11% and in Nicosia, the capital, they fell by 10%.
The level of unemployment and the fact that home loans in Cyprus are amongst the highest in the eurozone have contributed to the downturn in domestic sales.
However, from the figures published by the Department of Lands & Surveys, it is the domestic demand for property that is faltering; foreign demand for property Island-wide is steadily increasing.
Property sales to foreign buyers increased in April with a total of 151 contacts in favour of foreigners being deposited compared with 127 in April 2010; up by 19%. Famagusta fared particularly well with sales to foreign buyers during the month rocketing 175%!
Unlike domestic demand, foreign demand for property continues to improve, perhaps encouraged by government statements that the recently amended laws will provide additional protection for consumers.
Over the first quarter of 2011, total sales to foreign buyers have increased by more than 16% compared to last year – and sales are up in all areas.
Larnaca leads the way with sales up 43%; followed by Nicosia (+21%), Paphos (+12%) , Famagusta (+10%) and finally Limassol (+4%).
As we reported on Monday, BuySell Cyprus’ sales manager Chris Hadjikyriakos said that Russian buyers accounted for 60% of the company’s total sales compared with no more than 10% just three years ago.