RECENTLY, the Cyprus Land Registry has come under attack over its valuation of state-owned land in Nicosia.
One piece of prime real estate in central Nicosia, which was valued at €70 million in 2014, was recently re-valued at €5 million.
Another plot in Nicosia, which was set to be sold to Qatari interests in 2012 but the deal fell through, was valued at €143 million in 2010. In 2013 the Land Registry valued the same plot at €92.5 million and €70 million in 2014 and finally €5.3 million earlier this year. AKEL MP Irini Charalambidou asked a surveyor to value the plot; he came back with a valuation of at least €40 million.
However, the Land Registry subsequently admitted it may have made a ‘mistake’ in its valuation of the land that was set to be sold to Qatari interests.
It also notes that its valuations, which are used for taxation purposes and fees, do not reflect a property’s market value. It has also said that properties were valued in collaboration with private surveyors with sales in recent years being taken into account in the assessment.
Not isolated cases
But these ‘strange valuations’ are not isolated cases. When the Land Registry re-assessed the value of 1,634,946 parcels of land and dwellings in 2013, they were valued at €202.6 billion around €24 million. But when it revalued the properties again in 2018 they were valued at €178.7 billion; a fall of around €24 million.
Indeed, the value of my house fell 30% in 2018, from its value in 2013.
Unfortunately, as the Land Registry has not published the methodology it employs for assessing property values.
While (according to the Land Registry) property values have been fallen since 2013, the Cyprus Central Bank, the Cyprus Statistical Service, RICS Cyprus and Eurostat all report that real estate prices have generally been rising annually since the end of 2013.
Where does this leave Joe public?
Mystified, bemused, bewildered, frustrated and angry; particularly as the Land Registry invariably calculates Property Transfer Fees higher than the purchaser actually paid for the property, when by its own assessment, property values have fallen.