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Price falls continue as uncertainty grows

Property prices in Cyprus continued to fall during the fourth quarter of 2012 according to the RICS Cyprus Property Price Index amid the worsening state of the economy and growing uncertainty.

THE THIRTEENTH edition of the RICS Cyprus Property Price Index, which is produced in conjunction with the Association of Quantity Surveyors and Construction Economists, shows continued falls in property prices across the island.

Over the quarter, prices of residential apartments and houses fell by an average of 3.1% and 1.4% respectively.

Apartment prices in Paralimni/Famagusta fell 7.0% over the quarter, followed by Limassol (-5.0%), Nicosia (-2.5%), Paphos (-1.5%) and Larnaca (-0.3%).

House prices in the Paphos and Paralimni/Famagusta areas remained steady. But prices Larnaca fell 4.6%, followed by Nicosia (-1.3%) and Limassol (-1.1%).

RICS Cyprus commentary

During the fourth quarter of 2012 the Cyprus economy bore the consequences of the slowdown in the economy (year-on-year GDP contraction of 3.3%), the increase in unemployment (year-end at 14.7%), the on-going turbulence in the banking and financial sector, and the political uncertainty caused by the lack of a Memorandum to bailout the country.

The worsening state of the Cyprus economy and the growing political and economic uncertainty, led to a pronounced slowdown in mortgage and corporate lending and a further rise in the rate of unemployment.

There has been a dearth of investment transactions during the second half of 2012. Property, both commercial and residential, is viewed as a risky asset and one with negative prospects in the near to medium term. Local buyers in particular were the most discerning as the increase in unemployment and the worsening prospects of the local economy led to a sharp reduction in interest.

Price changes over the past year

Compared to Q4 2011, the average price of a residential apartment has fallen by 7.9%, while the price of an average house has fallen 5.7%.

Prices for commercial property have also fallen, with the price of retail units falling by 15.5%, while the prices of offices and warehouses have fallen by 10.0% and 9.3% respectively.

Gross rental yields

Yields are a useful tool showing the relationship between rent and property prices. At the end of Q4 2012 average gross yields stood at 3.8% for apartments, 2.0% for houses, 6.0% for retail, 4.7% for warehouses, and 4.6% for offices.

Derived from the RICS Cyprus Property Price Index for Q4 2012

Derived from the RICS Cyprus Property Price Index for Q4 2012

The parallel reduction in capital values and rents is keeping investment yields relatively stable and at very low levels (compared to yields overseas). This suggests that there is still room for re-pricing of capital values to take place.

Some pundits predict that there will be double-digit price falls in property prices in some areas of the island in the wake of the 10-billion euro rescue deal reached between Cyprus and the European Union last Monday.

Outline of properties used to calculate the index

Apartments: Residential, two bedroom, 85sqm, Medium quality.
Houses: Residential, three bedroom with garden, Semi-detached, 250sqm, Medium quality.
Retail: High-street retail, 100sqm ground floor area with 50sqm mezzanine.
Warehouse: Light industrial area, 2,000sqm, which includes 200sqm office space.
Office: Grade A, City centre location, 200sqm

(All property types used to calculate the index are: freehold, have all licences and permits in place, have their Title Deeds, are subject to VAT and are in a good state of repair).

Methodology

The methodology underpinning the RICS Cyprus Property Price Index was developed by the University of Reading UK and may be viewed by clicking here.

Readers' comments

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  • Ttooulos says:

    I read the methodology that RICS is using in compiling this data and it is not clear why they choose to issue their report based on gross yield as opposed to NNN as it is the right way of reporting returns on real estate investments. Given the high prices of real estate in Cyprus and the high carrying costs (which will be going higher) the NNN yields are substantially lower than reported and very unattractive to any investor with common sense.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Spirit of OJB, glad to see you’re barbarous wit at work once again! I take your point about what the banks may do with recovering cash from delinquent NPLs. This is,no doubt, what they would like to do – go after the fattened calfs i.e. those buyers who have already paid a lot in and have most to lose. However, will the Euro Group technocrats parachuted in to supervise and monitor the bailout implementation and ‘sitting with the NPL Nellies’ in the banks allow that? There could be a huge political price for their Euro bosses and the EU if they do, as well as little hope of rebuilding the shattered trust and confidence not only in the Cyprus banks but the whole European banking system. Will the Cypriot authoties and banks themselves, desperate to rebuild their strength, reputation and image, risk the increasing mobilization and wrath of all the ‘action groups’, the APPG, court actions in London, ECHR actions etc etc and the international media and on-line publicity that always goes with it? If former minister Sylikiotis felt impacted enough to complain about the adverse international publicity on this matter several years ago, it would be a lot, lot worse for the current regime having landed an EU bailout and then having the arrogance and cheek to chase innocent foreign buyers for the debts of Cyprus developers and Cyprus banks. Cyprus does not need to inflict another property scandal on itself, on top of the existing one. I hope that Prof Pissarides who heads the new government’s advisory Economic Policy Committee, and his chums in the Eleftheria (Freedom) Movement who normally talk a lot of sense, will duly advise the new Finance Minister not to take the wrong path on this.

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    Dear Janner,

    Looking at this from a bankers’ perspective, this is what I think is going to happen:

    No specific references or proper plan is in place for the NPLs related to property, so it’s every bank for itself re: how it treats its mortgagors.

    However, if the life-line of NPLs going into a “bad bank”, is offered, I’m pretty sure that virtually all banks will take it. The job of the “bad bank” will be to get as much money out of its portfolio as possible, in order to reduce the losses to the organisation that is bankrolling it (the Cyprus State, probably) before being wound down.

    So, if I were running the bad bank, what would I do?

    Selling individual properties is a MAJOR PAIN, even if they are nice and fat with lots of (developer debt excluded) equity. NO BANK WANTS TO DO THIS.

    Many have said that their banks do not want to repossess as they don’t want to be stuck with thousands of developer debt-ridden properties on their books with NO MARKET VALUE. My fall-back position would be to eventually sell off as a package all the stuff no End User would touch (stuff unfinished, in need of repair, uncompliant and UNSOLD) for a pittance to a Distressed Property Fund, a la Florida, just before winding the bank down. Paradoxically, I believe that the people with a majority holding in these DPFs will be largely those who developed the properties in the first place…

    In the meantime though, rich pickings could be had from the SOLD property. I would threaten the buyers with eviction and racket up charges for all sorts of fabricated nonsense, so as to squeeze every last penny out of the people determined to hold onto their property in the sun, come Hell or high-water. Or those who simply have no choice as they cannot sell.

    At some point, they will simply refuse to pay any more. This is when I will have GOT THEM!

    It will be difficult to make any of the false charges stick, but if they stop paying their mortgages, then I will have legitimate grounds to go after the assets that they have in other EU jurisdictions that DO have value. We’ve already seen that these cases will be held in Cyprus courts and we all know how that will end…

    The homeowner will BAULK at the prospect of having say his UK property taken away and will eventually cough up whatever the Cyprus Bad Bank are trying to extort from him. He will eventually realise that his Cyprus property will never be his as no-one has the money to meet all his developer’s debts and the developers are not being held liable. At this point, he will leave Cyprus with nothing.

    I may be wrong and the deafening silence from the EU is just them, er, “thinking”, but, as said earlier, from listening to the teacher…

    So, even though it may be extremely painful to keep on paying the mortgage in order to reduce the debts – fattening yourself up for slaughter – NOT to do it would be a major mistake that the bankers WILL SEIZE ON!

    This is a trap: a nasty, dastardly, sneaky trap. Please do not fall for it!

    I strongly believe that the only possible out is if the WHOLE regime were to change, which will only come from the outside.

    WRT (catchy, catchy) Richard, WOW! I mean, DOUBLE WOW! It is not possible to take offence (as you lost me at the “I had no choice not to sell”. Oh, and the “bimbling”), but I’m sure you know what you mean… However, when you light your Woodbine, make sure it lights on the first couple of times…

  • Janner says:

    @SoOJB. Regarding this entire situation, the leaked MOU and the non performing loans. Do you think the banks will be forced to take back the land (and all properties sat on it, mortgaged or not) to sell it all to try and recover the developers NPL?

    My concern is that they will try and sell any property they can turn a profit on but wait for those with too high a mortgage to become profitable before taking it and selling it. So basically, a purchaser could chip away at their mortgage only to reach that tipping point where the bank can make a profit and they will take it and sell it.

    If the Developers NPL’s are not dealt with then the title deeds cannot be issued. In my opinion something has to give. Either the bank cover the developers NPL (don’t know how as they are skint) in order to issue the deeds or they take the land and properties in order to sell and try and cover the developers bankruptcy at the bank in affect.

    If this is the case then there seems little point in making any mortgage payments. Also, if the banks do take back the land (and my property sat on it) then I won’t have a property to pay a mortgage on and what will happen there.

    In the leaked MOU there doesn’t appear to be specific mention of non performing loans!

  • Richard says:

    @SOJB.

    W.R.T “My advice was sell out and that window closed in 2011”. First off – not as simple for many folks as you may imagine. I think some of your perspectives are probably taken in the same vein as dear old bimbling Mr Duncan-Smith this morning – telling the nation he can live on £53 a week. Perhaps he should have talked to Matthew Parris – who already tried the equivalent in the 1980’s – and failed. Sometimes what is ‘sound advice’ to those proffering it – is seen as “you haven’t a clue mate” to someone else.

    W.R.T “people don’t want advice – just affirmation their actions are the right ones”. The elephant in the room (see above) is poor advice. Usually – most of the advice is NOT impartial – and that created (again for many) a climate of fear and entrenchment in non-action. Paralysis of trust – if you prefer. Troops won’t move if the general is a fool and the chain of command is a mess (e.g.: Dunkirk).

    The whole global fiscal landscape is now a total mess. Over my lifetime I’ve been successful and unsuccessful – and I’m now beginning to realise that most of that was down to being on the right table with the right chips or on the wrong table with the wrong chips – all with imperfect knowledge of the horror that is now emerging.

    The level of world debt is now absolutely out of control and if you look at the system that created that (just Google Prof David Harvey) it’s unsustainable – as it requires you to print more money to service the debt or extend credit to create more debt. Cyprus is the first highly visible example of where all the factors involved just come crashing down because all the usual BS ‘ringfencing’ the whole silly circus are not in place.

    The key question that should be asked is: “who is the final room full of suits we all owe a trillion squillion $/£/€ to”? Isn’t that the ONLY really important question now? Maybe if we identify them – you can enter negotiations – unless the cynical plan is everybody kills each other down to the last 1bn people on the planet – and then this whole silly crap can re-set and start again – probably with the same corrupt vile individuals (and all their lick-spittles) running the shop. Personally – even though I’m not a spring chicken – I’m not so old and set in my ways that I don’t think a better way is impossible.

    Which leads onto…

    W.R.T ‘glass half full’ vs ‘glass half empty’ – that’s a conundrum. If ‘glass half full’ deliberately leads people into trouble – no, of course it’s not good. If glass half full leads people to affirm a belief system physically and mentally that better things are possible – absolutely it’s good. Our thoughts are probably the only thing our increasingly Orwellian western world can’t police (though they are trying).

    With that – I must get on. And next time I hear the tiresome tinny drone of you above me – I’ll light up a woodbine and read something rather than look up.

    ‘Das Kapital’ perhaps?

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    Janner is right again (if I’m to be Finance Minister, with your skills in diplomacy, will you be President?) Arguments between the Air Force and The Infantry are old hat (still running with the analogy as I like very much!) but we just need to remember that we ARE on the same side here (with one or two notable exceptions) despite different vantage points.

    I have no vested interest in any of this. I dispensed with any Cyprus assets I had, plus abandoned the idea of any further investment, based purely on the facts (yes, I AM a Liverpool fan…) over a year ago. I thus base ALL judgement on facts (without sometimes, I admit, considering the feelings of the people involved. Hey, I did say I was a git….).

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, here is my view (before I fly off back to base since, as I no longer have any assets here, Richard is completely correct in his ultimately Panglossian assertion – for once – that none of this is my problem any longer. So, with regards to what happens next, the view from the skies is really not a good one (was going to post all the relevant links but got bored). So here goes…

    Firstly though, in order to understand my world, there is an extremely important maxim (no, not the WWI fighter guns kind!) that one needs to employ to “guess” the future (apart from astral projection and psychic intuition, obviously): “From listening to the teacher, once gains an education”.

    What this means is that you learn from not only what the teacher says, but what they quite deliberately omit. Bearing this in mind, let’s press ahead.

    1) There is NO upward pressure on property prices. The Chinese saviours malarkey, like the Russian saviours before them, was always a gross exaggeration. Indeed, the Russians who sought “security and sunshine” now have only the sunshine. The “scorched earth” policy advocated at least 2 years ago by OJB (i.e. publicise the property problems like mad so as to starve the regime of money and precipitate its collapse – would you believe that the VAST majority of Cypriots, and some well-meaning but frighteningly erroneous foreigners are blaming the monetary collapse on exposure to Greece?!) have probably had less effect than the financial implosion of the State as a result of those problems. Irrespective, Cyprus is now an international no-go area re: investment for the whole world, as we, INFANTRY AND AIR FORCE, intended

    2) With indefinite currency control, any money brought into Cyprus CANNOT GET OUT. The very reason cc’s are introduced is because of the fear that all money will flee asap. Which is probably correct. Thus, NO MONEY WILL COME IN (hence no new buyers)! So, even if you sell at rock-bottom prices (and in a few years, I’ll be back with a “distressed property fund”), as stated by other chaps on this forum, you can’t be guaranteed of getting all the money, so you simply won’t sell. You’ll sit tight and hope for a new dawn. Which won’t come soon (see below)

    3) The assaults on deposits was a bit of a crossing of the Rubicon moment. Read this: http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/french-news/hollande-says-eu-bank-deposit-guarantees-should-be-sacrosanct_262098.html, which is basically an appeal from a country in need, France, for a guarantee that European deposits should be guaranteed to be safe. Then read this: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/30/uk-eurozone-schaeuble-idUKBRE92T02F20130330, which is basically a statement from a “giver” country that deposits are safe. We have to ask ourselves, Q: Why did Schaeuble even mention this? A: Because he was asked! But also because he knows there will be pressure on +€100k depositors to move their money from the eurozone. Q2: Why did he not give a guarantee that they will be protected? A2: Cos they won’t be. As previously stated, in order to stop a deposit haemorrhage from Germany and thus a failure of its banks, expect a guarantee from German banks PDS

    4) What will happen to Cyprus banks? Will the “Bad bank” be able to shift all crap lending to it, ring fence it, thus allowing the solvent banks to continue to trade and lend?

    One has to understand what a “bad bank” is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_bank

    It is NOT a miracle solution but merely the taking over of crap lending by another institution (i.e. the Cyprus government, who, in themselves, are not exactly covered in glory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_bank).

    Irrespective as to how well it performs (and my view is, once you’ve read the link, none of the criteria are in place for it to perform successfully in the 1 year window it will need to), it will take at the very least 5 – 6 YEARS before it can be wound down (i.e. get rid of all the crap lending). THERE CAN THUS NOT BE ANY UPWARD PRESSURE ON PROPERTY PRICES UNTIL THE BAD BANK IS WOUND DOWN.

    5) Should Cyprus leave the Euro?

    Please read:

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/economics/how-to-leave-the-euro/

    In short, it cannot!

    6) Which is the ONLY country that can, and is making steps to, leave the Euro and set up a two-tier European currency?

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/is-germany-actually-preparing-to-leave-the-euro

    According to this very forum there already IS a two-tier currency: https://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2013/03/30/big-depositors-in-cyprus-to-lose-far-more-than-feared/id=0014479. The countries in need will also be treated to this “template” and so join the second class Euro

    7) What will happen to Cyprus in this event?

    I don’t think there is anything more I can say on this than what was written by OJB on May 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    “It’s impossible to say exactly what would happen, but this article gives a good general idea: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/20/us-greece-newdrachma-idUSBRE84J03Q20120520.

    In summary: the Greek government would have no money, nor be able to borrow any and would not be able to pay its public workers, who will likely strike, then riot. Basic public services will grind to a halt. Many businesses would go bankrupt and unemployment would soar to incredibly high levels. The government wouldn’t be able to pay any employment benefits (firstly, cos they’d have no money and secondly, they’d have no currency to pay them in!) and people will turn to crime in order to survive. Note this bit: WESTERN EXPATS WOULD BE ATTACKED (at the moment, random German-looking like people are being attacked on the streets of Greece, as they are regarded as having caused the crisis). NB. THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING IN CYPRUS!!. Any new currency would initially be forged (as no money to pay the people who would be printing it, so it would be crude and initially at least very forgeable) and any assets in Greece, which would now be denominated in the new currency, would be worthless. All banks would collapse or at least, suspend all operations. Eventually, the Greeks would find a balance, they’d get a currency that they could trade in and start producing goods again, initially for the domestic market but eventually for the outside world. Confidence would eventually come back and over time, new, initially state-owned Greek banks would gain access to international markets. Don’t know how long this would take (please google: “Argentina default” for a clue). Situation in Cyprus would be similar, but with the added complication of the British military areas (SBAs). It’s likely, as has happened before and some may say is already happening now, the Cyprus government will openly flirt with Russia (for bailout funds this time) in order to avoid the riots and anarchy that will happen to its Hellenic cousins. Knowing Christofias, he will take it too far and incur the wrath of his fellow Nato members, and some form of military action is BOUND to take place to prevent Cyprus being sold to Russia. Watch this space. Specifically for you though, and this sounds extremely harsh but is given with all the best intentions in the world: your property is worthless (with or without title deeds), get your money out of Cyprus Popular Bank THIS VERY MORNING and make sure your UK pension is paid in £ Sterling, preferably to a UK bank with cash machines available in Cyprus. Personally though, I believe that the above won’t happen quite in this way as Greece will not leave (well, not yet anyway). Germany is MUCH more likely to leave first (for reasons described on this forum many times before) and Greece (and many of the other eurozone countries) will be left with a valueless currency.”

    There are further implications too, of a geo-political nature, as well as Russian Mafia retaliation to the great Cyprus bank swindle, but I don’t want to go into them too much as “wacky peripheral” is a term that makes me want to load up the old Vickers just one more time before returning to base…

    Anyway, over the next few months when new developments occur, please feel free to refer back to all the points raised above.

    8) Further advice? I’m afraid there is nothing positive. Restrict spending as much as you can (no, this wasn’t actually intended to be funny) and don’t fall for any, “We can get you your title deeds/ money out of the country/ quick sale of your property for a good price” scams, as that’s all they will be since, unfortunately, the window of opportunity has passed.

    And finally, before returning to HQ, I have to hold my hands up and say that the Air Force are always regarded as big-headed gits. They think they are superior and determine the course of the war and are often impervious to the travails of the troops on the ground. So, an APOLOGY to Richard if I seemed a little bit too up my own posterior, but, (and if you know any investment bankers, you’ll understand), it’s difficult to not be when you think you have ALL the answers. Which clearly they don’t as they’re the ones who caused this whole global financial mess in the first place!

    Tootle pip! Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast! Woof!!!

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    When the locust swarm has just swooped again for the nth time in several years (or did they ever really go away?), there will always be the odd optimist who will swear blind they have spotted some new green shoots. The rest of us will take some convincing.

    OJB and Spirit thereof can be insufferable at times but his many core warnings over recent years have been pretty accurate. Some of his wackier peripheral stuff is more debatable but, hey, who cares if his important messages have persuaded enough people to protect their interests better.

  • Peter Howard says:

    I am indeed an estate agent – happy to be so – and proud of the reputation that I have achieved over the last 8 years. To my knowledge all buyers through us are still extremely happy and with no problems – we always believe that a good lawyer is the most important person in any real estate transaction. On several occasions we have abandoned a sale because of outstanding developer loans or unpaid taxes – but a thorough check with Land Registry should confirm the precise situation.

    I still believe that many of today’s problems were caused by large marketing companies offering high pressure Inspection trips – people got off a plane enjoyed the sunshine and wild promises of big capital appreciation or big rental returns and succumbed to pressure. Many of these companies had close relationships with certain developers and their pet lawyers – these are the same developers with large complexes and now have large outstanding loans, not much chance of Title Deeds, and many buyers with Swiss franc mortgages. One of these developers recently told me that they did not bother with Europeans any more – the future was selling property to the Chinese and Russians !!!

    As to the future, like many people I have watched events unfolding with alarm, and as I have business interests in other countries I did consider whether I would have to relocate, but have decided to stay as I love the country and the people and still think that Cyprus has a good future !! I have tried to be realistic and not through rose tinted glasses – as this is my future.

    Obviously there will be a big knock on effect from the recent events and I would certainly not want to own a Mercedes dealership but I am fairly happy to still be in the property business. Property sales and tourism will certainly be depressed over the next few months but will recover – but at the low level of sales seen in the last couple of years.

    The early part of this year was the busiest for 5 years but it appears that a two tier market is developing – good quality villas are selling well especially if they have Title Deeds – apartments on large complexes in Paphos are almost impossible to sell – and totally price driven. We expect this to continue.The price quoted above of 390,513 for an average 3 bedroom villa in Paphos is plainly ridiculous.

    A lawyer in Paphos has told me that they have found a law that confirms that all money in a clients account is ‘ringfenced’ and safe. Any money from a property sale being sent to another country needs to be cleared with the government but should be straightforward.

    One of the purposes of a ‘bad’ bank is to clear up outstanding developer loans which looks as if they are in default – this should certainly help the Title Deed situation which slowly seems to be improving. This government seems to be committed to sorting out the situation, but due to the lack of new building on the island – it will improve anyway.

    I do not expect a great drop in property prices, as many people with loans cannot afford to go lower, very few new builds, and already many people are withdrawing their property from the market place and waiting for prices to improve in the future. This all means less properties for sale so realistic priced properties will continue to sell.

    Overall I am positive for the future, the 2,000 Chines buyers predicted may not materialize now !! Some Russians will still be buying as they like the security and sunshine – not all of them are money laundering. Scandinavians still see Cyprus property as cheap and people in London can still sell a one bedroom apartment and buy a villa in Cyprus.

    I am sure that in a couple of years Cyprus will leave the euro and all of the problems that this will entail, but this government now has 2 years to get its finances and property market in order.

  • Janner says:

    @SoOJB. I do appreciate your comments and those of other forum members. C’mom guys, lets not be concerned with who has done what for a living, but rather focus on dealing with the facts as they are. Lets work together to try and inform one another of what can be done in the future for the benefit of those involved. These are unprecedented times with a lot of uncertainty.

    No one really seems to know what will happen as we don’t know what the final MOU/bailout contract will be. In the meantime, if you hear anything useful or know anything that can assist, pass it on!

    No more squabbles otherwise Headmaster Mr Howarth will put you all in detention!

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    Ouch.

    Drivel? (i.e. silly nonsense).

    Double ouch.

    However, before responding, dear Peter (quote from June 21, 2011 at 11:46 am, “ I have to admit to being one of the ‘evil’ people – a real estate agent !!!” so hardly a vested interest there then…) let’s do a silly nonsense check:

    On June 21, 2011 at 11:46 am, Peter Howard wrote, “i have to say that in many situations the buyers are to blame – they get off the aeroplane and lose their brains !!”

    So, it’s our fault for being ripped off by a well orchestrated scam. Right…

    April 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm “Reputable agents like us spend a great deal of money promoting properties in the UK and elsewhere”. Not a hint of “self-promotion” there either!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm “I think that the property market is improving and will continue to … over the coming 3 years …. The EU bailout, if it happens, will be a very positive boost to the island – … banks will be recapitalized and start lending to credit worthy clients, and the EU has already acknowledged that the Title Deed problem needs to be addressed and dealt with – all very positive.”

    February 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm “I can see a bright light at the end of the tunnel !! The January figures for sales of property in the Paphos area were at their highest level for one year”

    July 7, 2011 at 11:02 am “the main problem (with the Cyprus Property Market) is the UK economy. “

    Peter, my man, please check everything OJB or SoOJB have said and, even if you don’t like the humour, it would be very difficult to disagree with one single “prediction”. So, if our drivel monitors are set to “Detect”, I reckon who’d win this contest…

    However, I agree completely with Janner. We’re not here to bicker, but to try to be of some help. I like to think that, due to my experience, I see things from “the other side of the fence” and so can interpret what’s happened and happening in a slightly different way and thus possibly advise on the best strategy to adopt, going forward (and not seeing things through rose-tinted glasses because I’ve got a failing estate agency business to promote).

    The reason there is no longer an OJB is because I didn’t want to do the “I told you so’s” that I knew he would (c’mon guys, being an ex-banker and all that, “pompous” takes a long time to die down…).

    I genuinely do hope that people reading stuff that I’ve written find it useful. If not, I can always just go away (again). Sniff…

    Lastly, I’d much rather be an Investment Banker than an Estate Agent: just as many lies, but A LOT more money!

  • Janner says:

    I, and I’m sure other right minded people, accept that prices go up and down. This is not the point. The point is that the vast majority of us do not own the bloody (excuse my language) thing. It is being treated unfairly as part of a massive large scale fraud that angers so many.

    Rather than get into personal forum squabbles we need to pull together and focus on what needs to be done to try and put this sorry mess right for us. We cannot change the politics or mentality of Cyprus but we can tell it how it is.

    The NPLs are the crux of the problem and we all know the reasons why and why the title deeds are not issued at point of sale. It’s all been said many times.

    Lets just keep lobbying our MPs, MEPs and joining groups to ensure the scandal remains the focus. It is too important to be ignored forever. Very soon someone official is going to ask why there are so many NPLs and it will, hopefully, start the ball rolling to finding a solution. We don’t know how the government are going to deal with it yet. To issue the outstanding title deeds they will need to clear the developer loans but there is no more gravy train money left to do this. They could take back the land (including our homes) and sell this as it was used for collateral for the now NPL.

    They could go after the developers assets to try and recover some of the NPL. Who knows. But what I am sure about is that the denial of this problem cannot be hidden for much longer and, hopefully, this means we can move to a solution.

  • Peter Howard says:

    RICHARD – well said !! Most people on this forum are well intentioned people with problems that they wish to discuss and usually with grateful assistance from Nigel. They do not want a lot of drivel from Odd Job Bob and Spirit of Odd Job Bob telling everybody how clever he is – the fact that he was originally an investment banker – probably says it all !!

    The facts are that most people living happily here in Cyprus, do not visit a forum like this – but as we all know many people have serious problems and concerns about the way that they have been treated and cheated by some developers and lawyers, and it is good that there is a forum like this for serious debate and discussion – not for jovial self promotion.

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    Hi again Richard!

    Love your WWI Fighter Ace analogy! I knew that if we both kept posting on here, we’d soon find something to agree on!

    I’ll answer all your points (in brief, as to not take up too much of your trench-time) on this holy of weekends…

    Re: info available on Google circa 2006: No, I had not posted anything at all re: Cyprus at that point (as was too busy doing other things) and didn’t move to Cyprus until 2008. OJB only started posting as of 2010, but if you see from his earliest posts, he was stating quite openly that the levels of corruption discovered and their financial consequences would sink the Cyprus (Hy Brasil and all that). His very clear ADVICE was sell up while you still could for a half decent price. I believe the window of opportunity closed in about spring 2011. If you paid no heed to what was being said – and everything OJB wrote was supported by evidence – then, as other contributors to this forum who either took the advice or simply had come to their own, similar conclusions have openly stated, you’ve got to take some responsibility for your current stinky trench predicament.

    Your wise person with regards to his advice on helping or shutting up is partially correct. He’s omitted to mention that one should only offer help if one has the slightest clue what one was talking about. Well-meaning, BS flannel masquerading as “positive glass half full” advice is significantly worse than silence. What the present developer scam needs in order to perpetuate is a constant stream of VICTIMS. If your (ahem) well-meaning comments help to entice more victims onto the barbed wire of Cyprus property investment, whilst mine serve to keep them OUT of the trenches, who do you think is doing more good?

    I would apologise for the perceived condescension, but as you’ve probably noticed, OJB is a GEEK. He only said he was right when he was right. When wrong, he would have (Gawd rest his soul) been the first to admit it and be more educated as a result. What he, and any true geek, absolutely can’t stand is confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. People “saying stuff about which they know virtually nothing, but if it were true, would serve their own ends” gets under his skin (if he still had any) SO MUCH so that to attack it, with the full force of his Vickers’ guns, is the only option.

    Penultimately: Odd Job Bob never thought he was a hero. You may have an inside track on the “feelings from the trenches” of ordinary folk, but from comments on this very forum, you’ll see that there are many who actually feel that OJB HAS helped, as well as hopefully entertained with his “schoolboy humour”. Long ago, when he was an Investment Banker, he realised a sacred truth: most people do not WANT advice, they just want confirmation that their chosen path is the correct one. Scores of people have lost pots of money by listening patiently to expert advice, then ignored it completely and did exactly what they wanted to do all along, listening to the “glass half full” brigade as it meant they didn’t have to change a damn thing. Being right was and never is popular and GEEKS, if they sought popularity, wouldn’t be geeks.

    And lastly, the average life expectancy of a WWI flying ace was no more than several weeks and at one point, only 65 hours flying time. Like the Mayfly (or any cynosure worth its salt) you only get to shine for a short period of time, but boy, what a time! In a similar way to the Tommies in the trenches (who, unlike you, did NOT have a choice to be there) you may despise OJB doing his loop the loops, but you still look up….

  • Richard says:

    @SOOJB – well I dared. I’m sorry – but I’m going to have to ask for more clarity as to precisely where in the soup of various posts are the crystallised pearls of wisdom that could, would and should have been clearly picked up by those searching Google in 2006?

    I’m sure we’re all very happy for your poo loads of wealth garnered from less unjust environments.

    A wise person once told me – you either offer help or keep quiet.

    The cheeky schoolboy humour and at times witheringly condescending correspondence to the rest of us ‘mere mortals’ (who aren’t underpinned by poo loads of money) and were stupid enough to get tangled up in the unjust scam in the unjust regime is kind of grating chap.

    Unless you can offer help – practical useful help – under the disguise of science or however else you define it – it’s probably best if you stop telling others how to act in this situation – as it’s none of your business how they choose to deal with it.

    It’s about as welcome as the rakish WW1 flying ace doing loop-the-loops over the stinking trenches full of dying, wounded infantrymen – his white silk scarf billowing out from underneath a row of Colgate white teeth. You may think you are a hero up there – but that’s certainly not how your are being spoken about at ground level! But you knew that….

  • John Swift says:

    Many people talk of when will the housing market pick up regarding prices, as someone else posted they will probably fall another 20-30%, in other words to the realistic prices of 2000-2003 and not the grossly inflated of more recent years where prices actually overtook UK prices.

  • MarkD says:

    My 2 bedroom apartment 10 minutes from paphos sold for 72000 euros! It was on the market for 18 months only 2 viewings!!! It was brand new and unlived in. That was 6 months ago. I just don’t know who would buy in Cyprus right now??? It’s gonna take a long time to restore this market to its former glory days.

  • David says:

    As per other comments. We have always wanted to buy a place to live permanently in the Paphos area.!!!.

    We no longer even consider:

    1) new build or

    2) properties that have not got Title Deeds.

    So options are getting less and less. Have followed the Cyprus market for many years prior to retiring 4 years ago.We anticipate that real prices will fall by another 30% to 50% over the coming years.

    For what it’s worth… my opinion is that it could be another 5 years before a turn round in the Cyprus housing market is seen. British buyers are also being put off by the apparent leaning by Government/developers toward Russian, East Europeans and Chinese investors/buyers. I suspect that these potential new property buyers will not be so interested in Cyprus now that the banks are being “cleaned up”. Maybe when UK house prices start to recover more Brits will consider Cyprus again. We are sad that the above is what we now believe.

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    Oh Richard, just as well OJB is no longer with us as I’m sure he’d disagree with you about no-one getting all aspects of Cyprus investment etc 100% spot on (please type Odd Job Bob into the search engine! I dare you. I double dare you!). Maybe not pin-point accuracy with regards to every tiny intermediary step, but certainly with regards to all the conclusions, outcomes etc. Most importantly of all though, with regards to best investment strategy to adopt.

    Just like in rugby, the only people who say, “Run straight!” are the slow ones. Those who know they are fast enough to run round people can run in whatever direction they like! Similarly with investment “predictions”; the only people who say “no-one can predict anything” are normally the ones who cannot predict stuff for themselves. (Secret tip: it’s not really prediction, it’s just a question of amassing as much information as possible from as many reliable sources as possible and extrapolating).

    I hate to disagree with you re: your philosophy (as each to their own etc), but tiny, baby steps may get you where you want (eventually), but by then, you’ll probably be dead (and I know a thing about that…). And, as told to me by my history teacher many years ago, “One man’s science is another man’s miracle”. For every thousand people who believe good things happen by chance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult), there are others who are working away bloody hard (after doing loads of research, loads of calculations, then putting in the hours trying and testing and grafting) to make it happen.

    Lastly, where was OJB in 2006? Making poo-loads of money from property predictions in other far less corrupt jurisdictions!

    What the island needs is honesty and realism to restore credibility, not flannel.

  • steve says:

    I have a 3 bedroom villa with a pool and with a Paphos postcode which is 7 years old. It is 20 min drive from Paphos and 10 min from the airport. If I did have the title deeds I would let it go for 175 thousand euro. The tables above show that a house in Paphos is worth in excess of 300 thousand euro. Where do they get these figures. I would have let it go for less if the Swiss Franc mortgage attached to the property had have performed better.

  • Richard says:

    And the real truth is…….

    ..no-one knows. I mean – off all the predictions (mine included), reports, pundits, ‘expert opinion’ etc who (with pin-point- accuracy) got all aspects of Cyprus 100% spot on? And if you were that person – where were you in 2006 Prof Hindsight?

    The way things are shaping up across the entire globe – anything can happen and probably will.

    The best philosophy is for people to focus clearly on what they want – and then take tiny, baby steps towards it every day.

    Be open to believing in miracles is also advantageous..

  • Saidia says:

    Been hoping to buy property in Cyprus for years and have been following all the crises. I think property is still overpriced (according to the table above) and look forward to significant falls.

  • Spirit of Odd Job Bob says:

    So Ron, I take it you’re emptying your coffers to buy property in Cyprus then?

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, (wooh), ha, ha!!!

  • Martyn says:

    Ron, what makes you think Cyprus property is ‘on the bottom’? Yes, one day, maybe 2-3 years down the road, when austerity and regulatory measures are having an impact and when maybe MedGas starts to look a reality, a true ‘bottom’ may be reached but the Report above was for the Final Quarter of 2012 and for sure values will have dropped further- plummeted probably – over the last few weeks.

    Another further across-the-board fall can be expected as the island and communities start to come to terms with the full horror of all this, lets not forget the country’s Image in International Property markets was already well-and- truly tainted, mis-selling, legal, banking scandals, 130,000, some say,Title Deeds still not issued. Banks now under severe pressure, and having to Act, swiftly now with Defaulting Developer Mortgages, often over-riding ‘Owner’ mortgages and basic Consumer Rights.

    The entire image of Cyprus, not only as a Financial Centre but as a ‘safe’ place to own Holiday, Retirement and Investment properties is now in tatters. Worse, it hit the entire global news, Big Time, for well over a fortnight, this amazingly small and perceived ‘safe’ country quickly became a Worldwide thing, ‘scandal’, many say, that will, sadly, affect the Island state for ‘many a long year’.

    After listing just some of the major problems now impacting – Make that 3-5 years, I reckon!

  • Mike says:

    ron makes the point that there is a lot of property on the market at bargain prices. A house in Cyprus in excess of €300K. Who is kidding who here. Agreed we have witnessed a large drop in many areas but remember this was from a vastly overinflated level the type of which made square meter-age prices comparable to those in the more affluent cities of the world. Totally unsustainable.

    We must feel for those foolhardy enough to have bought when prices were at their peak but the market can only drop further. It may even turn out that that common mode of transport, the Mercedes, is traded back for the pick up. Only time will tell but look at Cyprus a few short years ago pre EU, compare prices then to those banded about now. Totally ridiculous and a recipe for disaster and tears.

    Realism must rear its head at some point so I fear there are further larger falls to come. A good thing in my humble opinion as it will prepare the people for the eventual default and exit from the Euro, despite the rhetoric affirming otherwise.

  • ron richardson says:

    Ok. so where do we go from here. I think the people of Cyprus have had enough doom and gloom. Normally when your on the bottom the only way is up. so they say. If there’s a lot of property on the market at bargain prices, fill your boots. Today’s not the best times for sellers. But is for buyers. The cycle starts again…

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