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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

District Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia 2017 72
73
79
80 118 162 124 76 87 117 170 306
2018 146 96
126
117
153
146
176
91
118
145
161 131
Famagusta 2017 21
19 40
29
38 46
59 47 57 51 52 169
2018 48 52
40
52 79
61
61
50
45 57 47 46
Larnaca 2017 102
100 113
69
119 96
103 88 107 111 151 181
2018 112 99
116
83 113
133
112
94
121 116 143 103
Limassol 2017 132
177 232
192
298 304
289 201 203 306 321 532
2018 225 256
314
246 282
338
314
262
251 289 344 290
Paphos 2017 96
87 162
136
183 235
184 160 148 183 212 349
2018 164 163
172
157 201
180
233
156
152 204 230 230
Totals 2017 423
456 626
506
756 843
739 572 602 768 906 1537
2018 695 666 768 655 828 858 896 653 687 811 925 800

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

District Source Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia EU 10 8 9 10 9 8 11 5 10 8 7 15
Non-EU 10 4 13 14 9 15
10 2 11 11 13 8
Total 20 12 22 24 18 23 21 7 21 19 20 23
Famagusta EU 15 24 8 12 19 16 20 9 0 7 13 8
Non-EU 36 10 14 28 26 18 23 12 24 14 20 9
Total 51 34 22 40 45 34 43 21 24 21 33 17
Larnaca EU 9 9 9 6 9 20 15 11 15 13 11 19
Non-EU 43 46 40 36 49 52 56 36 46 57 50 32
Total 52 55 49 42 58 72 71 47 61 70 61 51
Limassol EU 15 17 32 17 19 22 25 24 11 27 38 20
Non-EU 103 87 83 67 94 109 95 64 65 86 110 69
Total 118 104 115 84 113 131 120 88 76 113 148 89
Paphos EU 41 58 55 49 70 60 79 55 49 91 74 73
Non-EU 105 97 74 87 88 65 92 53 71 89 92 97
Total 146 155 129 136 158 125 171 108 120 180 166 170
Totals EU 90 116 113 94 126 126 150 104 85 146 143 135
Non-EU 297 244 224 232 266 259 276 167 217 257 285 215
TOTAL 387 360 337 326 392 385 426 271 302 403 428 350

Cyprus Property Sale Contracts 2000 – 2018

Year Overseas Sales Domestic Sales Percentage
Overseas Sales
Total
Sales
2000 450 12,214 3.6% 12,664
2001 1,207 12,849 8.6% 14,056
2002 2,548 14,111 15.3% 16,659
2003 3,981 15,294 20.7% 19,275
2004 5,384 11,947 31.1% 17,331
2005 6,485 10,106 39.1% 16,591
2006 8,355 8,598 49.3% 16,953
2007 11,281 9,964 53.1% 21,245
2008 6,636 8,031 45.2% 14,667
2009 1,761 6,409 21.6% 8,170
2010 2,030 6,568 23.6% 8,598
2011 1,652 5,366 23.5% 7,018
2012 1,476 4,793 23.5% 6,269
2013 1,017 2,750 27.0% 3,767
2014 1,193 3,334 26.4% 4,527
2015 1,349 3,603 27.2% 4,952
2016
1,813 5,250 25.7% 7,063
2017
2,406 6,328 27.5% 8,734
2018
4,367 4,875 47.3% 9,242
Totals
65,391 152,390 30.0% 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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