CYPRUS property sales weakened in August, according to official statistics from the Department of Lands & Surveys, with the number of properties sold in August falling 10 per cent compared with the same month last year.
During August a total of 301 contracts for the sale of commercial and residential properties and plots of land were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus, compared with the 335 contracts deposited in August 2014.
Of those 301 contracts 80% (241) were deposited on behalf of domestic buyers, while 20% (60) were deposited in favour of overseas buyers.
Although sales in Larnaca and Paphos increased by 39% and 16% respectively, these increases were more than offset by falls in the other districts. Sales in Famagusta fell 44%, while those in Limassol fell by 32% and those in Nicosia by 30%.
Sales during the first eight months of 2015 are up 6% compared with the same period last year with sales reaching 3,145 compared to 2,955.
While property sales in Nicosia and Famagusta have fallen over the period, they have risen in all other districts – with Limassol proving the most popular achieving 980 sales.
Industry pundits anticipate an improvement following the government moves to reduce Property Transfer Fees, new planning incentives and the approval of the ‘hidden mortgage’ bill by parliament that should resolve the issue of ‘trapped’ property buyers who are unable to obtain Title Deeds due to their developer’s debts.
Domestic demand should also be stimulated following a reduction in interest rates for new mortgages.
Property sales to the domestic market in August fell 3% compared to August 2014, falling to 301 from 335 last year.
Although sales in Paphos increased by 205% and those in Larnaca by 38%, they fell in all the other districts. Sales in Limassol fell 40%, while those in Famagusta and Nicosia fell by 39% and 29% respectively.
Domestic sales during the first eight months of 2015 are up 6% compared with the same period last year with sales reaching 2,304 compared to last year’s figure of 2,176.
Sales to the overseas market in August slumped 30% compared with August 2014. While sales in Larnaca and Limassol rose 44% and 22% respectively, they fell in all other districts.
Surprisingly no properties were sold in Famagusta and only one was sold in Nicosia, while sales in Paphos fell 56% compared to August last year.
During the eight months of 2015, sales to the overseas market have risen 8% compared with the first eight months of 2014, increasing to 841 from last year’s total of 779.
Cyprus has made changes to the law to provide those buying property with more protection, including the ‘hidden’ mortgage law referred to earlier. However Cyprus has to do much more to restore its tarnished reputation and instil confidence in foreigners looking to invest in its property market.