Buying Property in Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean with a population of 1.21 million in 2020. Nicosia is the capital city. The four cities of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos account for more than a third of the island’s population.

The island country gained independence from Great Britain in 1960. It became a member of the Commonwealth in 1961. Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004 and switched to the euro in 2008. Greek and Turkish are the official languages ​​in Cyprus. English is also widely spoken.

According to the French travel insurance company Insurly, Cyprus was the 5th safest country in the world for 2020. It is also the world’s 40th most popular destination for tourists. A minimum of 4 million tourists visit the country every year. Cyprus also has the 6th best per capita income.

The island’s international airports are located at Paphos and Larnaca. Tourism is booming because of easy access from all over Europe.

With an average of 325 days of sunshine a year and beautiful beaches, it is no surprise that Cyprus is a popular holiday destination and a place where many like to stay permanently. Life is easy and laid-back here. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy, like water sports, golf, leisurely walks along the coast, and al fresco dining.

Buying Property in Cyprus

Market Trends and Forecasts

The covid pandemic has affected property prices in many places. How has it affected Cyprus and what is expected to happen in the near future? Will demand increase? Should we expect a decrease in the cost per square meter, or will the price go up?

You will get detailed information on this and much more in this review of the Cyprus real estate market for 2021, prepared by CyprusVillas.com.

Some experts predicted a decline in property values ​​at the end of 2020. However, the housing sector ended the year positively. Both property demand and prices increased. In 2021, house prices in Cyprus will continue to rise. The prices of resort properties on the sea have also gone up in 2021 because of two reasons –

  • Many Europeans and even the locals are looking for a profitable way to invest their money.
  • The supply of resort-quality housing is limited, which means, high-quality housing can be sold at a higher price.

The demand and cost of apartments with a terrace and also private houses in gated communities in a picturesque area by the sea has gone up, despite the pandemic. Apparently, last year’s strict quarantine has prompted many Cypriots to buy a second home, closer to nature.

Distance transactions have increased from Europe, countries like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, are also purchasing a property on the island. The Russian investors are not only selling real estate, many of them are also actively buying.

Many experts are optimistic about the future of real estate in Cyprus. They predict a gradual increase in the prices, both in the urban and resort areas. There are several reasons for this optimism – high demand, low mortgage rates, and EU membership.

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Cyprus?

All foreigners can buy property in Cyprus. There are no restrictions, provided documentation is done correctly and the applicant has no criminal record. Buying property in Cyprus is relatively simple compared to other European countries.

All non-Cypriots must apply to the Council of Ministers for permission to buy real estate. The permission will surely be granted if they meet the following criteria.

There are no restrictions on living in newly purchased homes until a permit is obtained. Also remember, permission to purchase real estate in Cyprus is only granted for personal use. This means, you cannot rent it out for commercial gains.

  • EU citizens can purchase property in Cyprus without any restrictions if they commit to reside in the country for the next 5 years.
  • EU citizens who are permanent residents of the country do NOT need to apply for a permit to buy real estate.
  • EU citizens not residing in Cyprus REQUIRE prior permission from the Council of Ministers.
  • Non-EU citizens can purchase up to 4014 sq. meters of land or one house or apartment.
  • Offshore companies can purchase premises for their business operations or homes for their foreign employees.
  • EU legal entities headquartered and registered in Cyprus do NOT need permission to purchase real estate.
  • Cyprus legal entities controlled by EU citizens outside the country are REQUIRED to seek permission from the Council of Ministers.

The Buying Process

The process of acquiring real estate in Cyprus is simpler than most other places in the EU. However, there are still some unique aspects.

  • 1st Stage – Make the important financial decisions. Do you need credit funds? If so, check whether the developer is offering a bank guarantee. When buying a holiday home, you can get 60% of the housing cost on credit. It is 50% for commercial real estate. The loan term varies from 10 to 30 years, depending on the lender and the buyer’s requirements. However, in recent years, the banks in Cyprus have become more reluctant in issuing housing loans.
  • 2nd Stage – You can choose the real estate directly. You can find it on the Internet. But we recommend that you go and see the apartment or house on the spot before buying. An under-construction house can be a profitable investment. Here, you will have to make a phased payment.
  • 3rd Stage – You will have to book it after deciding on the property you want to buy. For this, you have to pay a reservation fee, which is usually 5,000-10,000 euros. This is included in the price of the property. However, remember to check the seller’s document carefully before transferring the deposit. The registration, preparation of the purchase and sale agreement will start only after this payment has been made.
  • 4th Stage – You must sign a contract at this stage. Make sure that the sales contract is in English. You have to make the payment for the remaining amount according to the conditions specified in the contract. The property ownership will be transferred after this.

There are 2 main categories of real estate in Cyprus.

  • Properties with their own title deeds at the time of purchase.
  • Properties without individual documents.

Individual title deeds are issued by the Land Office only when the project is completed. Those with title deeds can be easily transferred to the buyer's name. You will just need the permission from the district government, which is given on priority. There is no need for this permission, if it is a land purchase by a European.

Legal Formalities to Purchase Immovable Property

  1. Buying a completed property when you sign the contract. You will have to pay the stamp duty and registration cost.

Stamp duty is calculated as follows –

€ 2.56 for the first € 170,860.00 and € 3.417 for any amount exceeding this. You will also need to pay the attorney fees, which are usually around 1% of the purchase price.

There will also be a fee for translating the documents in your name. It is calculated on the purchase price and the number of names for which the property must be registered. You have to pay this amount when the documents are actually transferred to your name.

  1. While taking possession (transfer of ownership)

At this stage, you have to pay for the connection of utilities.

  1. During transfer of ownership, once you get permission from the Council of Ministers (you don’t need this permission if you are buying a land plot). If the property has its own title deed, then the transfer takes place immediately after the permit is issued. You have to pay the transfer tax at this stage.

Transfer the title deed in your name (s).

The formula for calculating payment based on ownership is as follows:

  • For the first 170,000 euros — 1.5%
  • For the next 170,000 euros — 2.5%
  • Over 340,000 euros — 4%

For example, for a property worth 200,000 euros, the fees will be 3,300 euros.

Remember, when buying real estate in Cyprus, you must use an attorney to legally secure the sale.

  • Get the signature of the property owner on a valid sale and purchase agreement. There shouldn’t be any legal or financial impediment.
  • Sign, stamp, and register the contract with the Land Office. When you do this, the builder cannot resell or mortgage.
  • You will have the right of ownership regardless of when the transfer occurs. You can additionally secure the property status.
  • Inheritance laws will protect your rights from the moment the contract is signed. So, if something happens to you, before or after the completion of the procedures, your share will be transferred to the property beneficiaries, either by will or by law.

Real Estate Prices in EU Countries in 2021

The residential property prices in Cyprus have come down by 5.8% between January and March 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. At the same time, prices in the rest of the EU rose.

The average growth rate in the region is 6.1%. Housing price statistics are provided by Eurostat, which takes into account the value of housing contracts concluded in the European Union.

  • If we compare prices for the first quarter of 2021 with the first quarter of 2020, then the largest price increases were in Luxembourg, Denmark and Lithuania. Spain witnessed the smallest growth – only 0.9%.

Cyprus was the only EU country where house prices fell ‘year over year’ and compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. Switzerland, Slovakia and Malta also saw a slight drop in prices at the end of the first quarter of 2021. But the fall did not affect the annual rise in prices in these countries.

Property Prices in the EU

Country 2020 2021
Bulgaria +3.2% +7.5%
Slovenia +3.1% +7.2%
Sweden +3.1% +7.2%
Cyprus -5.8% -5.8%
Poland +2% +7.2%
EU +1.7% +6.1%
Belgium +0.9% +6.7%
Estonia +6.6% +6.6%
France +0.7% +5.5%

How Much Does Housing in Cyprus Cost in 2021?

The per square meter price of real estate in Cyprus ranges from 1600 to 3400 euros. It depends on the type of property and its location.

  • The most expensive place to buy an apartment is in Limassol. The average price per square meter here is 2,762 euros.

The Central Bank of Cyprus monitors housing prices in the country. It publishes quarterly reports, where it takes into account the property type and region. The report also compares current and past prices.

Housing price dynamics: Q1 2021 to Q4 2020

Region Apartments Houses
Nicosia +0.5 % +0.4 %
Limassol +1.1% +1.6%
Larnaca +1.9% +0.3%
Pathos +2.2% -1.5%
Famagusta +3% -0.6%

The Cyprus Home Price Index is also compiled by Wire, an independent consulting company that evaluates the property markets in Cyprus and Greece. The company’s analysts have noted a slight increase in apartment prices in Nicosia and Limassol from April to June 2021. But overall, home prices have either dropped or stayed flat in the first quarter of 2021.

Housing price dynamics: Q2 to Q1 2021

Region Resort Area Country Houses
Nicosia +1.9 % +0.79
Limassol +0.97% +2.44%
Larnaca 0% 0%
Pathos -3.54% -3.8%
Famagusta 0% 0%

Top Places to Buy in Cyprus

Wherever you live in Cyprus, you will never be far from the sea. Of course, there are many other attractions on the island, such as beautiful small towns, hills, and traditional villages. Many people like to stay away from the beach area to avoid the crowds and prefer the peace and serenity of a mountain village or a town with better amenities.

Below we list some of the most popular destinations with foreign buyers.

Nicosia

Nicosia is the capital of the Republic of Cyprus. 50 kilometers from the coast, it is a modern cosmopolitan and lively city of about 300,000 inhabitants. Part of the city juts out into the Turkish part of Cyprus, the area is known as North Nicosia. Nicosia is a business and administrative city, but it is also known for its sports, culture, concerts, and museums. You will find many people living in high-rise buildings here.

Nicosia offers a huge variety of properties. There is something for every buyer, whether you want to live in the city or want to invest in rental properties. In the suburbs, an upmarket luxury villa will cost more than £ 500,000, while a modest apartment within the town will just be £ 60,000. Most of the housing in the area is around £ 120,000.

Life is good in Nicosia. Residents enjoy all the benefits of living on a Mediterranean island, as well as modern infrastructure, good schools, many shops and restaurants. Nicosia itself is not a tourist destination. But the city is well linked with the rest of the island.

Limassol

This is the second largest city in Cyprus. Historic Limassol is an old port city with a medieval castle and a charming and quirky old quarter that is filled with taverns and bars. However, far from the old quarter, Limassol is also a modern city with contemporary architecture in its hotels, business centers, and water parks. The city also has several miles of golden beaches along the clear blue Mediterranean Sea.

Coastal Limassol has a mild subtropical climate. A villa along the coast will set you back around 250,000 euros. You will also find luxury properties that are more expensive. One new project that is coming up has housing in the region of 30 million euros. On the other hand, a beautiful apartment here will cost between 50,000 and 70,000 euros.

Paphos

Paphos is located on the southwest coast of Cyprus. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paphos has been popular for a long time both with tourists and the Brits who want to relocate here. Paphos is a great choice if you want to stay close to the beach, ancient ruins, and yet want good infrastructure, including many shops, restaurants and bars.

This city is perfect, whether you are planning to retire to Cyprus or moving there with your family for a better work-life balance. The popular city has a prestigious international school, shopping centers, a new hospital, and a charming historic center. In 2017, Paphos was recognized as the Cultural Capital of Europe along with Aarhus in Denmark. The city also has an international airport, one of the two main airports serving Cyprus.

Property prices in Paphos are slightly higher than other places on the island as it is such a coveted location. You can get a house with a pool from € 100,000. Luxury seaside villas can be worth millions of dollars. The rental price for an apartment or small house is 500 euros per month. It is always a good idea to stay in a rental property for a while so you can personally see the homes you are thinking of buying before deciding.

Larnaca

There is a popular phrase in Cyprus – siga, siga. This means “slow, slow”. Nowhere is this more appropriate than Larnaca. The city has a palm-lined waterfront, quiet streets, ancient churches, and ruins. It is popular with artists and those seeking solitude. A stay in Larnaca can sometimes feel like a step back in time, although much of it is modern and cosmopolitan. It is popular with tourists in the summer. You can have coffee in an outdoor café in the city’s old Turkish quarter.

A bungalow in the city will cost about 150,000 euros. An apartment will be between 55,000 and 150,000 euros. You will also find larger houses and villas. The cost begins around 160,000 euros.

Peyia

Peyia is located in the west coast of Cyprus, in the hills overlooking Coral Bay. Like Paphos, Peyia too is popular with British expats and tourists. The city is a kind of mixing pot. You will find Brits, Cypriots, Russians, and more recently even the Chinese people staying here.

Hill walking and golfing are popular activities in Peyia. You can also visit the nearby Turtle Bay Wildlife Refuge. The city is close to the forests of western Cyprus, which makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Are you interested in buying property in Peyia? Townhouses start at around 100,000 euros, but you will find apartments at half of this price. Most luxury villas are on the nearby hills. Prices start at 180,000 euros.

Is It Worth Investing in Cyprus Real Estate Now

The cost of housing in Cyprus is sure to rise. That is why we recommend that you buy property now, while you can still get it at a lower price. And then, when the price rise, you can sell off at a profit.

The construction business in Cyprus is growing frantically. In the first five months of 2021 alone, the country issued 3,157 building permits, which is 30% more than 2020. Home sales are also growing.

  • By July 2021, the realty market returned to the 2018 pre-crisis level.
  • The growth is mainly driven by home purchases by the locals.

71% of the country’s citizens and residents are satisfied with the quality of life and affordability of housing. The government also provides incentives to acquire basic housing.

Demand from non-EU countries is falling. Between January and July 2021, foreigners bought 902 residential properties in Cyprus, which is 15% less than the same period in 2020.

Those who can afford it, like to own accommodation on the island so they can come and relax whenever they want.

  • It is rented out at other times of the year. The rental income ranges from 4.7% to 5.6% per annum. The average rental price for a three-bedroom apartment is 963 euros per month.

The Residency by Investment Program

As an investor, you can also get permanent residency by purchasing a home on the island. The property must be worth at least € 300,000. Residents of Cyprus have the right to live, do business, and study in the country without restrictions. You can even apply for citizenship if you have lived in the country for five years. You will then have the freedom to visit 176 countries without visa, including the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

How Has COVID Affected Cyprus Real Estate?

Here’s what has happened since the pandemic…

  • Tourist arrivals have decreased by 85%
  • Unexpected termination of the Cyprus passport program
  • Many hotels have closed down
  • Tourism business revenues have plummeted
  • Uncertainty has scared off many inexperienced buyers.
  • Real estate sales have gone down by 23%
  • Foreign buyers fell to 40% in 2020, down from 80% in 2017

The Paphos coast still attracts the majority of foreign buyers. 42% of the investments are made here.

RICS house price indicators have showed a 0.1% gain for apartments. The sale of houses, warehouses, and offices have all gone down by 0.1%, 4.3%, and 5.5% respectively. Rental prices have gone up slightly overall. Apartments have increased by 0.5%, homes and offices by 0.8%. However, the rental price for retail is down by 1.2% and warehouses by 0.8%.




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