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Is the Cyprus property market softening? (Update)

There was a marginal fall in the number of Cyprus property sales during March compared to March 2018 according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.

Is the Cyprus property market softening?DURING March 2019, the number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry office across the Republic of Cyprus stood at 766 compared with the 768 deposited in March 2018 according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.

Of those 766 contracts, 398 (52%) were deposited by Cypriots and the remaining 368 (48%) by non-Cypriots – 125 of whom were EU citizens and 243 non-EU citizens.

Apart from a 48% fall in sales in December 2018 due to the rush to buy land in December 2017 before the government introduced VAT on land sales, the number of property sales had increased for the past 23 months.

Although property sales rose by 13% in Famagusta, 8% in Paphos, 4% in Nicosia and 2% in Larnaca, a fall in sales of 9% in Limassol completely wiped out the rises in the other four districts.

Total Property Sale Contracts – 2018/2019 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia20181469612611715314617691118145161131
2019161194131
Famagusta2018485240527961615045574748
2019534845
Larnaca2018112991168311313311294121116143103
2019114125118
Limassol2018225256314246282338314262251289344290
2019251256287
Paphos2018164163172157201180233156152204230230
2019187211185
Totals2018695666768655828858896653687811925800
2019766834766

Property sales – year to date

Sales during the first quarter of 2019 rose 11% compared to the same period last year. Total sales until the end of March stood at 2366 up from 2129 last year.

Sales in Nicosia rose 32% followed by Paphos, where sales rose by 17%. Meanwhile sales in Larnaca and Famagusta rose by 9% and 4% respectively, while the total number of sales in Limassol over the quarter fell by one.

Domestic sales

Domestic sales fell 8% in March 2019 compared with the same period last year, with sales falling in all districts with the exception of Nicosia, where they rose by 11%.

Sales in Paphos, Larnaca and Famagusta fell by 35%, 30% and 11% respectively and sales in Limassol fell by 4%.

During the first quarter of 2019 sales to the domestic market rose 20% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Domestic Property Sale Contracts – 2018/2019 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201812684104931351231558497126141108
2019127164115
Famagusta2018-31818123427182921361429
2019321916
Larnaca2018604467415561414760468252
2019548247
Limassol2018107152199162169207194174175176196201
2019166152192
Paphos201818843214355624832246460
2019303128
Totals2018308306431329436473470382385408497450
2019409448398

Overseas sales

Property sales to the overseas (non-Cypriot) market during March 2019 rose by 9% compared to the same month last year with 368 contracts of sale deposited compared with 337 in March 2017.

Although sales in Nicosia and Limassol fell by 27% and 17% respectively, they rose in the remaining three districts.

Sales in Larnaca rose by 45%, sales in Famagusta rose 32% and sales in Paphos rose by 22%.

During the first quarter of 2019 sales to the overseas market rose 11% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Total Overseas Property Sale Contracts – 2018/2019 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201820122224182321721192023
2019343016
Famagusta2018513422404534432124213317
2019212929
Larnaca2018525549425872714761706151
2019604371
Limassol201811810411584113131120887611314889
20198510495
Paphos2018146155129136158125171108120180166170
2019157180157
Totals2018387360337326392385426271302403428350
2019357386368

Sales to EU nationals

Property sales to EU nationals rose 11% in March compared with the same month last year.

Sales in Limassol fell by 38% and they remained static in Nicosia. However, sales in Larnaca rose 133%, while sales in Famagusta and Paphos rose by 75% and 11% respectively.

During the first quarter of 2019 sales to EU nationals have risen 13% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Foreign (EU) Property Sale Contracts – 2018/2019 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201810881098115108715
201914149
Famagusta20181524812191620907136
20199614
Larnaca20189996920151115131119
2019121221
Limassol2018151732171922252411273820
2019162520
Paphos2018415855497060795549917473
2019567261
Totals2018901161139412612615010485146143135
2019107129125

Sales to non-EU nationals

Sales to non-EU nationals in March rose 8% compared with March 2018.

Although sales in Nicosia and Limassol fell by 46% and 10% respectively, these falls were more than compensated by increases in Paphos (+30%), Larnaca (+25%) and Famagusta (+12%).

During the first quarter of 2019 sales to non-EU nationals have declined 2% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

While sales in Nicosia doubled and sales in Larnaca rose by 12%, they fell in all the other districts.

Sales in Famagusta fell by 67%, while sales in Limassol and Paphos fell by 33% and 4% respectively.

Foreign (Non-EU) Property Sale Contracts – 2018/2019 Comparison

DistrictYearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Nicosia201810413149151021111138
201920177
Famagusta201836101428261823122414209
2019122315
Larnaca2018434640364952563646575032
2019483150
Limassol2018103878367941099564658711069
2019697975
Paphos20181059774878865925371899297
201910110896
Totals2018297244224232266259276167217257285215
2019250257243

Analysis of property sales since 2000

Cyprus Property Sale Contracts 2000 – 2019

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
201814,3674,87547.3%9,242
2019 (March)
1,1111,25547.0%2,366
Totals
66,502153,64530.2%220,147

1 The Department of Lands & Surveys has advised that overseas sales in 2018 and subsequent year should not be compared to sales in previous years due to changes in the methodology used to classify ‘Aliens’ (foreigners).

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