PROPERTY sales in March fell by a third compared to March 2019 as coronavirus fears caused house buyers and sellers to reassess their plans.
On March 21 Cyprus airports went into a virtual lockdown with a blanket ban on all passenger flights for 14 days as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. And just yesterday a government decree extended the ban for a further 14 days; according to the Cyprus Mail, air traffic in March fell by 91.6%.
What’s most notable in the figures published by the Department of Lands & Surveys is that the highest downturn in sales is in the districts most popular with overseas buyers, while in the least popular district (Nicosia) the number of property sales actually rose.
It seems certain that overseas property sales will have plummeted as a result of the ban on passenger flights.
With so many developers focussing on building properties for well-heeled investors wishing to obtain citizenship under the Cyprus government’s ‘Cyprus Investment Programme‘, they must be worried how long they will be able to stay in business.
And as Philip Beardwood Bsc Est Man FRICS wrote in an article a few years ago “If I were a bank, I think that I should be spending quite a lot of time in the toilet.”
March property sales
March saw a total of 510 property sale contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across the island compared to the 766 deposited in March last year; a fall of 33%.
Although sales in Nicosia, the capital, rose by 6%, they fell in the remaining four districts:
Hardest hit was Paphos, the most popular hot-spot with foreign investors, with sales falling by 56%.
The second most popular hot-spot with foreigners (Limassol) saw sales fall by 50%
Meanwhile sales in Larnaca and Famagusta fell by 10% and 9% respectively.
Total Property Sale Contracts – 2019/2020 Comparison
In the first quarter of 2020, Limassol remains the most popular with those buying property followed by Nicosia (the capital), Paphos, Larnaca and Famagusta. The only two districts to record a rise in sales in the first quarter are Nicosia Larnaca.