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Escape to Limassol

Escape to the Continent returned to Cyprus in October last year to help David and Yiola, a retired couple from Cornwall, hunt for houses in the Limassol region of Cyprus for a permanent home.

Limassol village house Anogyra EPISODE 12 of the BBC 2 series ‘Escape to the Continent’ broadcast last evening featured a couple from Cornwall considering a permanent move to the west of Limassol.

The presenter, Nicki Chapman, explained that the average price of a 3-bedroom detached property in the Limassol area was just over £200,000 (October 2013); £50,000 cheaper than the average price of a similar property in the UK. She explained that as the Cyprus housing market was still weak, buyers were in a strong position.

David and Yiola, have retired from their careers in banking and are currently living in Cornwall in a converted farm house. Having visited Cyprus more than fifty times over the past 30 years, both were looking for a completely fresh start and consider Cyprus could be an ideal place for the next phase in their lives.

With a maximum budget of £450,000, David & Yiola were looking for a detached property with at least three bedrooms, a kitchen diner, good storage, outside space for their pets (three dogs and a cat), good views and set in a village location.

Nicki talked about a number of practical considerations worth noting:

“It is strongly recommended to find independent legal advice for any financial transactions undertaken.

“A lawyer should make sure that a property’s Title Deeds are made available as proof of ownership can be an issue on the island.

“A search should be carried out for any pre-existing mortgages on the property or land.

“Various additional costs will include legal, transfer and agent’s fees which are calculated on a sliding scale and can vary between 7% and 16% of the property’s purchase price.

“Finally, as inheritance laws are different to those of the UK, it’s worth considering writing a separate Will for any Cyprus-based assets”.

David and Yiola stayed in a rented house and visited the Apesia Hills Donkey Safari and Tracey’s Cookery School at Akrounta, where Tracey taught Yiola how to make spanakopita (???????????).

Meanwhile, Nicki visited the carob museum in Anogyra, where they make pastelli from carob ‘honey’ – and carob syrup, where she ate with the family and sampled their products.

David and Yiola viewed two properties in Pissouri, a house in Pachna, and finally a ‘mystery house’ – a 200 year old stone village house in the village of Anogyra.

Although they were impressed by all the properties they viewed, none of them offered sufficient outside space for their pets. Yiola said “if we didn’t have the animals the move would be very, very simple… we would have put in an offer on the mystery house.” – and David wanted to visit one of the houses in Pissouri again.

In an ideal world they would like to be living in Cyprus by October 2014.

The BBC programme below runs for 58 minutes.

 
For further details and photographs about the 200 year old stone ‘mystery house’ in Anogyra and to contact the owners, visit Magnolia Property.

Readers' comments

Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

  • JustSomeone says:

    @Peter Howard. We do agree. Unfortunately, this website appears on the very first search results though. Prospective purchasers must be warned, however, all this negativism will have an impact on them. This is because there are many good developers and lawyers out there (the vast majority) and there are 100s of properties with good standing.

    The very least we could do is avoid the ‘You must be mad to buy a home in Cyprus’ type of articles. It’s over the limit damn it! :) It’s so simple.

  • Peter Howard says:

    Hi JustSomeone. I appreciate your comments and in general agree with them but you have to understand that this is a forum where people come to air their grievances and problems – happy property buyers do not bother to visit to a forum like this.

    I am a reputable estate agent and visit this forum regularly and I think that Nigel Howarth does a wonderful job of providing update to date information on what is happening in the property market, but I get frustrated by some of the extreme attitudes that are sometimes shown – and not particularly helpful. Of course there are many problems that people have to deal with but we need a sense of perspective. For example one regular contributor on this forum is a big campaigner for Title Deeds – he obtained the deeds for his property one year ago, but has not mentioned it on this forum.

    Many people on this forum have financial problems because they cannot sell their property – but if Nigel says that property sales and prices have dropped – generally there is great excitement on this forum – with wild predictions of even greater price drops and lack of sales – to me this is madness and not helpful !

    For me property sales and enquirers are much better than they have been for 5 years, but because of the publicity generated most buyers insist on Title Deeds and even if we can show that there are no developer mortgages – still no interest. I would say that the Title Deeds situation is improving quickly but mainly with the larger reputable and long established developers. The biggest problem is with the developers who worked with the ‘inspection flight’ high pressure marketeers and at the other end of the scale the small builders who became overnight ‘developers’.

    Cyprus is a wonderful country and there is no doubt that the property market is improving, despite the fact that there are a lot of problems to be resolved. Unlike other countries illegal properties do not get knocked down !

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @JustSomeone. While mindless rant certainly would be damaging, this is not the case here. What is damaging is to imply that some kind of moral equivalence exists between victims trying to obtain redress and publicity and perpetrators trying to pretend everything is normal and wholesome in the Cyprus property market.

    An equal number of ‘nice’ PR pieces about how marvellous the Cyprus market is as counterpoint to those saying the opposite would serve only to dilute any constructive criticism and encourage yet more wrongdoing.

  • JustSomeone says:

    @andyp

    I believe that andyp did not understand my rhetorical questions at the end of my previous comment.

  • JustSomeone says:

    My comments have been extremely crystal clear. Such websites are needed, warnings are needed, criticism is needed.

    What is not needed is an article sabotaging the property market. Such as the one I have referred to numerous times. We have to be very careful. The website appears first in the search engine results. That article is misinforming and sabotaging. It completely thrashes the property market to pieces, unnecessarily. That article is superfluous, it’s a pleonasm!

    If you do not agree with me then what else can I say.

    Go ahead and destroy the market.

  • B.Whiffen says:

    A more condemning program shown in the UK this week was “Cowboy builders abroad“, admittedly the original developer was a Brit bit it showed all the usual developer mentality including lawyers having the payee changed on cheques, building without permits, poor building practice etc, so let us remember not all the bent developers are Cypriot but as we know most are.

    Warning those about to spend their entire savings on purchasing in Cyprus is a must, OK in the short term it may further damage the market, BUT due to a failing industry it eventually sinks into the thick heads in government perhaps they will sort out the construction/estate agent/lawyer/bank conspiracy to defraud [for that is what it is] and gives to all owners without deeds their titles then the market will return.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    @JustSomeone. You make some fair points, but even you must admit that until the Cyprus Government completely overhauls the current unsafe and unfit system for purchasing property in Cyprus all we are doing is saving up more bad publicity for the future.

    Until the Legal Title for a property is transferred into the name of the purchaser at the point of sale or on the date of transfer of ownership then abuses by the powerful determined and collusive cabal of property market leeches will continue to negatively colour the Cypriot Property Market for years to come.

    You have also got to ask yourself, given that the Government is trying to attract foreign investment to the Island, is investing large amounts of your capital into something which you then do not legally own for many years conducive to such efforts?

    Worse still, what if you invest your capital, only to find out that, not only do you not legally own your fully paid for property, but that it may be taken off you without recompense to repay another loan, taken out by one of the leeches who sold it to you, which you were not made aware of by your ‘so called’ legal advisor who you also paid for the privilege of being kept in the dark with no semblance of due diligence or duty of care in sight?

    Would you say that this is conducive to much needed inward investment or making positive comments about such a flawed and unsafe product?

    I suppose, to some people, even a cess pit has its positive attractions?

  • andyp says:

    I have to agree with JustSomeone.

    There is absolutely no need for all this. Information sites such as this, help and support groups such as CPAG, PICAS, MRI and Swiss Franc factions are all there serving no purpose and those running them are simply choosing to waste their lives doing charitable work when in reality there is no one needing their assistance.

    Let’s take the recent readers poll. 48% bought developer mortgaged property. 23% did not and 29% do not know. Good on the 23% but I wonder what the numbers would be if sites such as this which provides facts and information did not exist.

    I know I had a list of requirements when I bought my house in 2005, including:-

    Quiet location.
    Detached 3 bed,3 bath.
    Large pool.
    Nice views.
    64,000CYP developer mortgage.

    Nope. Everything is hunky dory with the Cyprus property market.

  • Alan Waring says:

    @JustSomeone. Having followed this website for many years, I can say with confidence that it always has put up an array of articles, including those putting a very positive spin on the Cyprus Property Market. The administrator has even indulged a few ranters from time to time – including those arguing that the market and the developers are paragons of virtue and foreign buyers who complain are just a bunch of whingers who should be grateful for having had the opportunity to come here and get ripped off.

    Perhaps I may be permitted to put ‘the problem’ in a perspective. My book Corporate Risk & Governance published last year included a chapter on Immovable Property Fraud, especially focused on the EU. It included case material on Cyprus. Here is a relevant quotation: “With such a welter of bad cases, a false impression could be gained that the small country of Cyprus is awash with fraudsters. The fact is that the vast majority of the population are law-abiding and do not go around defrauding people. The country has, however, become cursed by the activities of a hard-core minority sub-culture of greedy and unscrupulous developers, property agents, lawyers and bankers who, individually, severally and in concert, have succeeded in destroying a once buoyant market and a good reputation. Their adverse impact is out of all proportion to their numbers. Not all lawyers and developers are crooks but the good get tarred with the same brush as the bad.”

    Regrettably, the supine attitude of the CBA and other relevant representative bodies in the property industry on these matters indicates that they do not want to clean up the bad practices for which, through inaction, they bear a major responsibility. They could and should have done it years ago.”

  • JustSomeone says:

    @Alan Waring. You are absolutely correct. The ‘bad experiences’ ‘reviews’ always have greater impact and coverage.

    However, this does not stop us from some positive promotion of the island. I have in no way stated that we should pretend and focus on positive news and experiences and simply ignore the negatives. As I have said, negative criticism is necessary and much welcome and accepted in all Democratic Republics.

    I am sure you are all aware of the famous daily TV program on ΜΕGA at 2 o clock and its purpose. Freedom of expression is also necessary but within reasonable limits. Otherwise, there would be no slander,defamation etc.

    And if anyone is denying the fact that the article ‘You must be mad to buy a holiday home in Cyprus’ is somewhat ‘sabotaging’ then what can I say?? I am surprised that the administrators post such articles! The author would be put to shame if confronted by a well informed person!!

    This is a property website about Cyprus that has one of the best ‘search ranking results’. So imagine a prospective purchaser googling cyprus property and landing on such article.

    HENCE, the administrators should be more careful with the handling of the website. If you genuinely love this island, you should not cross the line with such utterly stupid, misinforming articles.

    PEOPLE SHOULD BE MADE AWARE when purchasing property as the system is indeed flawed. But the way the website is carrying this out crosses the line.

    Is this Website a movement to destroy the Cyprus Property Market? Or an informative website attempting to make aware prospective purchasers and provide all the useful information?

  • Alan Waring says:

    @JustSomeone. There are indeed good experiences ‘out there’. The problem is that they have become overwhelmed by a veritable tsunami of bad experiences, ranging from lesser gripes of poor quality building and long-winded delivery of Title Deeds up to major cases of double-selling and other kinds of fraud.

    The desired state of good experiences, good quality building, Title Deeds promptly and no fraud is the benchmark of normality and, as in all current affairs and news, normality is uninteresting. For that reason alone, ‘bad experiences’ will always get the headlines and news coverage.

    However, perhaps more importantly, it is the causes of bad experiences, not normality, which need remedy. Simply pretending that by focusing on news of good experiences somehow the causes of bad experiences can be ignored or will correct themselves is being in denial.

    Ten years on, nothing of substance has been fixed so naturally the bad news stories continue to prevail.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Vlachos the Impaler.

    There are still a great many among our number who subscribe to the “My country, right or wrong” school of thought. They feign self-righteous indignation and defend Cypriot ‘honour’ and, as you rightly point out, direct their venom towards those who dare to speak out and not against those who perpetrate proven acts of criminality viz. developers, lawyers and lending institutions and successive governments which sit idly by.

    Furthermore, they also trot out the well worn suggestion that a one way ticket out of Cyprus is the option for those who don’t go along with ‘artful ways’ aka thieving and lying. Pathetic and predictable.

    This feeble fall-back position aims to give a veneer of patriotic fervour, something which the philosopher Johnson has so aptly rubbished: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” And ‘scoundrels’ are what they are.

  • JustSomeone says:

    I am not selling properties and even if I did, my comments are very very truthful. What would one gather by reading through this website? Yes, the comments below articles may not be shared by the site administrators but an article posted on the website with a title ‘You must be mad to buy a holiday home in Cyprus’ by Philip Beardwood Bsc Est Man FRICS ??? This is unheard of. A comparison and/or analogy between Cyprus and Wallsend first of all. And this :

    ”Much of what is available for sale, not only doesn’t have title, but if it does, it is old and needs refitting. Or frankly, it is crap: poorly located or positioned, densely developed and with neglected, overgrown, run down common areas”.

    The above is its in entirety absolutely false. If I could I would characterise it with the ‘b’ word.

    Criticism is a must, noone can and should deny all the wrongdoings and flaws of the Property System in Cyprus. However, there is a very very thin line between criticism and bad publicity and most importantly sabotaging! Because that article is sabotaging the Cyprus Property Market. Or is it not??

    Why don’t you have a section with good property deals and encumbrance free properties which can include some kind of promotion to the island? There are thousands of properties with good standing and title deeds! On the contrary, you are focused upon all the mischievings.

    I do not care if people are Brits,Cypriots, Chinese etc. I just commented that the website is dominated by angry brits. Is it not? Don’t get me wrong, they should be angry with the mess they have been involved into but the website encourages this. It passess a message that everything and everyone is flawed and corrupt! This is what the average reader would think. THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH!

    Where are articles such as ‘Cyprus is still a great place to buy property despite the flaws?’ Because it is. You can buy a great home with no issues whatsoever and you as administrators are sufficiently educated and you do have the perception to understand the point that I am attempting to pass here.

  • Vlachos the Impaler says:

    JustSomeone sounds more like JustSomeoneSellingCyprusProperties. He or she should turn their indignant frustration on the villains, not the victims. The lead editorial from Financial Mirror this week, for example (see Fly in the Ointment on this website) can hardly be attributed to ‘angry Brits’. Most of the Cypriots I know are far angrier than the foreigners here about the damage done to the Cyprus property market and the general economy by the cabal of unscrupulous developers, bankers, lawyers and agents.

  • @JustSomeone – Thank you for your comments. Please don’t shoot the messenger – I merely report the news, I don’t make it up.

    As you will see, the article ‘You must be mad to buy a holiday home in Cyprus’ was first published in the Cyprus Mail on April 13th – Certifiably insane to buy a holiday home in Cyprus – what information do you consider incorrect?

    As for positive news stories, there are recent articles about the increase in property sales, the two BBC programmes focussing on homes in Paphos and Limassol, the planned mortgage-to-rent scheme, etc.

    I know there are many people who have bought holiday homes here and have had a trouble-free purchase, but as you can see from numerous comments, many have been deceived by unscrupulous lawyers and property developers – far more Cypriots than British I may add.

    I vet all comments and those that do not conform to the guidelines do not get published; anyone is free to comment. (And I would point out that although the majority of those commenting are British, quite a number are Cypriot).

    The only people who have harmed the Cyprus property market are the nefarious developers and their lawyer chums. Had they acted honestly and built to a professional standard the property market wouldn’t be in the state it’s in; people would be flocking here in their droves and everyone would be happy.

  • JustSomeone says:

    Having read numerous articles I have come to one conclusion. This a website dominated by angry Brits who righteously attempt to sort out the mess with their property. We are all aware of the flaws of the property system in Cyprus and the issues of the numerous foreign buyers. HOWEVER, 90% of the articles and 99% of the comments are negative with regards the Cyprus Property Market.

    Nigel Howarth and the rest of the administrators, what is your wish and aim really? To assist the property market and Cyprus in general? I have read one article – ‘You must be mad to buy a holiday home in Cyprus’. The information on that article was incorrect. Furthermore, there are numerous beautiful properties at a very low price with title deeds outside of Protaras, Ayia Napa.

    YOU ARE MISINFORMING a lot of people. With a competent lawyer and a good estate agent you can have a dream holiday home in Cyprus. Certainly, you will not find any happy holiday home owners on this Website. And there are thousands.. Such a shame. What is your aim? Criticism is a must in order for the property system to change to the better but you are harming the Cyprus Property Market.

    Imagine a foreigner googling Cyprus Property and coming across such article such as the one I mentioned above which is utterly stupid and with inaccurate information. I expect a reply please. You should attempt and promote some positives from time to time if you love this island.

    Otherwise, a plane ticket back home is just a click away. Thank you

  • Kwacka says:

    A warning about title deeds WAS made in the programme alongside the advice about independent legal advice and outstanding mortgages.

  • MollieMoo says:

    Costas is absolutely right. Where are all the warnings and examples of what can so easily go wrong?

    The more truthful (or bad) international publicity Cyprus gets, the more they might, just might, take notice and realise that they have to up their game and sort the property market out.

    Programmes like this don’t actually help IMO.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that programmes like this are made with no reference whatsoever to the circa 130,000 outstanding Title Deeds, and the fact that the Troika had to include a section in the MoU to encourage the Cypriot Government to get its finger out and get these issued.

    In addition no mention was made of the potentially unsafe situation for depositing large sums of ones life savings in the rickety Cypriot banking system where a second trip to the barbers may be on the cards anytime soon.

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