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Wednesday 30th September 2020
Home Property Sales Foreign property sales take a big hit

Foreign property sales take a big hit

AS REPORTED last Friday, sales of property in Cyprus suffered a significant downturn in March as coronavirus fears hit house buyers. The Department of Lands & Surveys has recently released details of how each segment of the Cyprus real estate market has been affected.

Overseas property sales

Not surprisingly the greatest downturn in foreign sales occurred in Paphos, the most popular place for foreigners buying property, where sales fell by 65%. Foreign sales in Larnaca fell by 30%, while sales in Limassol, Famagusta and Nicosia fell by 29%, 14% and 6% respectively.

Total Overseas Property Sale Contracts – 2019/2020 Comparison

District Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia 2019 34 30 16 32 45 24 21 13 23 20 21 26
2020 19 23 15
Famagusta 2019 21 29 29 38 42 18 47 17 24 17 35 38
2020 40 29 25
Larnaca 2019 60 43 71 67 90 60 67 40 35 79 53 74
2020 71 54 50
Limassol 2019 85 104 95 137 217 81 109 62 64 84 86 72
2020 82 89 67
Paphos 2019 157 180 157 155 229 136 176 112 139 126 169 151
2020 113 142 55
Totals 2019 357 386 368 429 623 319 420 244 285 326 364 361
2020 325 337 212

During the first quarter of 2020 the total number of foreign sales amounted to 575 compared with 750 over the first quarter of 2019; a decline of 21%.

Sales to EU nationals

Looking at the foreign sales figures in more detail, we can see that property sales to EU nationals fell by 47%, with sales in all districts falling (with the exception of Nicosia where they remained steady.)

Sales in Paphos fell by 59%, while sales in Larnaca fell 48%. Sales in Limassol and Famagusta fell by 45% and 29% respectively.

Foreign (EU) Property Sale Contracts – 2019/2020 Comparison

District Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia 2019 14 14 9 19 20 16 13 5 8 10 15 14
2020 9 12 9
Famagusta 2019 9 6 14 17 10 8 17 14 10 5 9 23
2020 6 14 10
Larnaca 2019 12 12 21 18 20 11 16 13 6 23 14 23
2020 21 13 11
Limassol 2019 16 25 20 21 28 26 27 17 25 30 26 25
2020 28 30 11
Paphos 2019 56 72 61 48 69 59 73 58 61 95 61 72
2020 40 60 25
Totals 2019 107 129 125 123 147 120 146 107 110 133 125 157
2020 104 129 66

During the first quarter of 2020 the total number of sales to EU citizens stood at 299 compared with 361 over the first quarter of 2019; a fall of 17%.

Sales to non-EU nationals

The number of sales to non-EU nationals fell by 40% in March compared to March 2019, with sales falling in all districts (with the exception of Famagusta where they remained steady.) The two most favoured areas of the island were hit hardest.

Paphos saw sales falling by 69%, followed by Limassol where they fell by 25%. Meanwhile sales in Larnaca and Nicosia fell 22% and 14% respectively.

Foreign (Non-EU) Property Sale Contracts – 2019/2020 Comparison

District Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia 2019 20 17 7 13 25 8 8 8 15 10 6 12
2020 10 11 6
Famagusta 2019 12 23 15 21 32 10 30 3 14 12 26 15
2020 34 15 15
Larnaca 2019 48 31 50 49 70 49 51 27 29 56 39 51
2020 50 41 39
Limassol 2019 69 79 75 116 189 55 82 45 39 54 60 47
2020 54 59 56
Paphos 2019 101 108 96 107 160 77 103 54 78 61 108 79
2020 73 82 30
Totals 2019 250 257 243 306 476 199 274 137 175 193 239 204
2020 221 208 146

During the first quarter of 2020 the total number of sales to non-EU citizens stood at 575 compared with 750 over the first quarter of 2019; a fall of 23%.

But we must remember that property sales to non-EU nationals has been declining since the government introduced stricter criteria for foreign investors seeking Cypriot citizenship.

Domestic property sales

Sales to the domestic market, which accounted for 58% of all sales in March, fell by 25% compared to March 2019.

Although sales in Larnaca and Nicosia rose by 19% and 8% respectively – and sales in Famagusta remained steady, falls of 60% in Limassol and 7% in Paphos more than wiped out the gains.

Domestic Property Sale Contracts – 2019/2020 Comparison

District Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Nicosia 2019 127 164 115 137 168 121 153 90 114 163 187 154
2020 178 155 124
Famagusta 2019 32 19 16 58 45 25 2 13 16 33 13 26
2020 10 18 16
Larnaca 2019 54 82 47 73 83 42 90 53 67 81 69 88
2020 76 64 56
Limassol 2019 166 152 192 291 329 138 177 134 176 144 210 212
2020 98 136 76
Paphos 2019 30 31 28 69 175 69 54 54 34 66 64 69
2020 55 29 26
Totals 2019 409 448 398 628 800 395 476 344 407 487 543 549
2020 417 402 298

During the first quarter of 2020 the total number of sales to Cypriot citizens stood at 1117 compared with 1255 over the first quarter of 2019; a fall of 11%.

Analysis of property sales since 2000

Cyprus Property Sale Contracts 2000 – 2020

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
20181 4,367 4,875 47.3% 9,242
2019
4,482 5,884 43.2% 10,366
2020 (Mar)
874 1,117 43,9% 1,991
Totals
70,747 159,391 30.7% 230,138

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).

The future

With a lockdown in place and blanket ban on passenger flights, property sales will continue to fall until the restrictive measures are eased. Then it will take several months for things to return to any semblance of normality.

One of Cyprus’ other main sources of foreign income is tourism, which is facing a disastrous year. Cyprus tour operators say they are facing the worst crisis in their history after waves of holiday cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Cyprus Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has said that the economy is heading for a recession and could contract by 5% after five years of growth.

1 COMMENT

  1. We have a sale & purchase pending but due to the current lockdown and Municipality of Paphos closed or refusing to make appointments with lawyers both are stalling.

    Lawyers are working hard to keep the market going but bureaucracy is the problem. Tax officers are working by appointment why not Municipality officers?

    Ed: There are thousands of public servants being paid to stay at home on full salaries with very little work to do.

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