ACCORDING to Land Registry figures published today, the number of property contracts deposited at Land Registries throughout Cyprus in June was 589 compared with the 864 deposited in the same period last year; a fall of almost 19% and the biggest monthly drop for more than two years.
During the first half of 2011, property sales have fallen 20% to 3,577 from the 4,408 sold during the first half of 2010.
But even more worrying for the real estate industry is the fact that property sales in 2011 are worse than those of 2008; the year the market crashed, when just 3,848 properties were sold in the first half of the year.
During June, sales fell in all areas. Worst hit was Larnaca, where sales tumbled 46% compared with June last year. Larnaca was followed by Paphos (-41%), Famagusta (-39%), Nicosia (-34%) and Limassol (-7%).
Property valuer Polys Kourousides said that "prices must be cut to increase sales" and last week the Cyprus Land & Building Developers' Association proposed a series of measures that the government should take to help stimulate the property industry.
The banks have tightened their lending criteria making home loans (mortgages) more difficult to obtain and high interest rates must also be a contributory factor in the drop in sales along with the general unease about the state of the Island's economy.
Property sales to foreign buyers also fell in June with a total of 169 contacts in favour of foreigners being deposited compared with 238 in June 2010; a fall of 29%.
Although property sales in Larnaca were up 36%, they fell in all other areas. In Famagusta, sales plunged 48% compared with June last year. Famagusta was followed by Paphos (-44%), Limassol (-35%) and Nicosia (-13%).
Although tourist arrivals are up by 11% this year and revenue attributed to tourism is up by more than 19%, it seems that few tourists are showing an interest in buying property.