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December property sales crash

Following nineteen consecutive months of rising property sales in Cyprus, December 2018 sales saw a crash in their number according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.

Cyprus property sales crashACCORDING to the Department of Lands and Surveys the number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices in the Republic during December 2018 fell 48 per cent compared to December 2017.

The fall follows nineteen consecutive months of increasing sales.

During December a total of 800 contracts were deposited at Land Registry offices for the sale of commercial and residential properties and land compared with 1,537 in December 2017; a fall of 48 per cent.

However, this fall may not be as significant as it may first appear. In December 2017 there was a spike in sales of building land  following the decision by Parliament in November 2017 to introduce 19% VAT on land sales from 2nd January 2018.

Of those 800 contracts, 450 (43.8%) were for properties purchased by Cypriots and 350 (56.3%) were for properties purchased by non-Cypriots; 135 by EU citizens and 215 by third country nationals.

Sales fell in all districts. In percentage terms, Famagusta saw sales fall by 73%, Nicosia fell 57%, while sales in Limassol fell 45%. Meanwhile Paphos and Larnaca saw sales falling by 43% and 34% respectively.

Total Property Sale Contracts – 2017/2018 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201772
73
79
801181621247687117170306
2018146 96
126
117
153
146
176
91
118
145
161131
Famagusta201721
1940
29
3846
5947575152169
201848 52
40
5279
61
61
50
45 574746
Larnaca2017102
100113
69
11996
10388107 111151181
2018112 99
116
83113
133
112
94
121 116143103
Limassol2017132
177232
192
298304
289201203306321532
2018225 256
314
246282
338
314
262
251 289344290
Paphos201796
87162
136
183235
184160148183212349
2018164 163
172
157201
180
233
156
152 204230230
Totals2017423
456626
506
756843
739572 602 768906 1537
2018695 666768 655828858896653687811925800

Annual 2018 property sales figures

Despite the crash in December, the total number of sales during 2018 were the highest on record since 2008, when 14,667 properties were sold.

With the exception of Larnaca, where sales remained steady, they rose in all the other districts. Nicosia, the island’s capital and major business centre, saw sales rise by 10%, while sales in Limassol, a commercial centre and port, rose 8%. Annual sales in Paphos and Famagusta rose 5% and 2% respectively.

Overseas property sales

According to the Department’s statistics, a total of 350 property sale contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots during December 2018 of which 135 (38.6%) were deposited by EU citizens and the remaining 215 (61.4%) by non-EU citizens.

Paphos remains the most popular district with the overseas market with the number of property sales contracts deposited during reaching 170, while Limassol recorded 89, Larnaca 51, Nicosia 23 and Famagusta 17.

Over the course of 2018 a total of 4,367 contracts for the sale of property to overseas buyers were deposited of which 1,428 were deposited by EU citizens and the remaining 2,939 by non-EU citizens.

Overseas Property Sale Contracts – 2018

DistrictSourceJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
NicosiaEU10 8 91098115108715
Non-EU10 41314915
1021111138
Total20122224182321721192023
FamagustaEU15 24812191620907138
Non-EU36 101428261823122414209
Total513422404534432124213317
LarnacaEU9 996920151115131119
Non-EU43 4640364952563646575032
Total525549425872714761706151
LimassolEU15 1732171922252411273820
Non-EU103 878367941099564658611069
Total11810411584113131120887611314889
PaphosEU41 5855497060795549917473
Non-EU105 9774878865925371899297
Total146155129136158125171108120180166170
TotalsEU90 1161139412612615010485146143135
Non-EU297244224232266259276167217257285215
TOTAL387360337326392385426271302403428350

Cyprus Property Sale Contracts 2000 – 2018

YearOverseas SalesDomestic SalesPercentage
Overseas Sales
Total
Sales
200045012,2143.6%12,664
20011,20712,8498.6%14,056
20022,54814,11115.3%16,659
20033,98115,29420.7%19,275
20045,38411,94731.1%17,331
20056,48510,10639.1%16,591
20068,3558,59849.3%16,953
200711,2819,96453.1%21,245
20086,6368,03145.2%14,667
20091,7616,40921.6%8,170
20102,0306,56823.6%8,598
20111,6525,36623.5%7,018
20121,4764,79323.5%6,269
20131,0172,75027.0%3,767
20141,1933,33426.4%4,527
20151,3493,60327.2%4,952
2016
1,8135,25025.7%7,063
2017
2,4066,32827.5%8,734
2018
4,3674,87547.3%9,242
Totals
65,391152,39030.0%217,781

Note: Last year the Department of Lands & Surveys published a notice on its website advising that the sales statistics presented for foreign buyers had been modified following improvements to the method of coding. As a consequence, readers must not compare the number of properties sold to foreigners in 2018 with sales figures published for previous years. ((Unfortunately the Department of Lands and Surveys has not made available details of these modifications.)

Readers' comments

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  • LT says:

    Editor, do we have any info how many of these sales are repossessions or deals with the bank?

    Ed: Unfortunately the Department of Lands & Surveys doesn’t publish the number of bank repossessions. But it’s been reported that the Bank of Cyprus’ Real Estate Management Unit (REMU) increased the real estate under management by 1,057 during the first nine months of 2018.

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