There’s a lot to whine about and I’m generally pretty good at it, so here goes: decent housing is largely unaffordable.
Students renting in the north, changing demographics, the passport scandal, rising interest rates and cultural shifts – the surging costs in the real estate and rental market has it all.
It’s a story which captures the changes in Cypriot society quite neatly and some of its challenges, with seemingly no solutions being seriously considered.
What’s telling is that the housing pressures faced by many haven’t even really featured in the presidential election campaigns. A cynic might say that the voting body is not demanding change as they don’t really need it: many are simply given houses or apartments by the family, while others are doing well off higher rental prices which yield higher returns on their investments.
Perhaps it’s mainly an issue impacting the younger – those less likely to vote – generation.
Most of the experts I’ve spoken to say that the higher prices are simply down to supply and demand, the core underlying principle of determining house prices.
First up, the housing demand side
Despite the natural birth rate in Cyrus – projected to be 1.3 this year – being below that of replacement, 2.1, the population in the government-controlled areas risen almost ten per cent in ten years.
Also interesting is the number of residents with foreign citizenship who make-up of the population which has risen from 4.2 per cent in 1992 to 21 per cent in 2021 – with foreign nationals now numbering 193,300.
Notably, those preliminary results of the census were published in May and do not fully factor in the significant influx of refugees from Ukraine and those who relocated from Russia, Belarus and other nations in the region.
There is scant information available on this year’s arrivals of those seeking safety or simply those scouring sunnier shores, but coffeeshops from Paphos to Limassol are now frequented by tech-savvy professionals earning handsome salaries while remote working.
For them, some of whom have been priced out from Limassol, villas with swi