By Antonis Loizou FRICS
The Department of Lands & Surveys is the recipient of much information regarding sales and other matters relating to real estate. Since the publication of basic statistics a few years ago, no attempt has been made to expand the information received, with the only information given the number of transactions per district and if buyers are local or foreign. Useful as it may be, such a statistic could be misleading in many respects.
Our opinion is that such information could be utilised for the benefit of the building industry which would also provide marketing guidance for developers and others. This is very important since misleading information can lead to wrong decisions in business. Since the data is there, we could suggest that the statistics given should be expanded to include:
- Number of sales per district
- Number of sales per town/parish
- Nature of property sold (e.g. field, flat, shop, office)
- Value of the property sold as is so recorded, now, a hotel sale is classed as one sale and a studio sale is also classed as one sale
- l The value of sale could also be classed by foreign (and by nationality) and local buyers. This is most important since the industry will learn from where and at what level demand comes.
These sort of statistics will help financiers study finance applications more carefully based on actual demand as opposed to the speculative expectations by all sorts of businesspeople.
Living in our own small world it seems we do not learn from the mistakes of the past. And now that the market is showing some signs of a recovery, there is a surge for new development projects which reflects a rather dangerous competition between developers over “who will build the highest and most impressive building”.
This real estate improvement is not Cyprus wide however, but very much localised and restricted to certain areas, primarily beach locations. The visas/passports measure is all the best, but the warning signs from the EU (and including the proposal to harmonise the tax system in the EU) are there.
We also have to keep an eye on the financiers whose investors are more of a short term nature, which might lead them to take decisions for their investors’ benefits (why not?) and not for the benefit of the economy as a whole.
For these reasons we need to use all available data that we have to protect the business of real estate from the known and unknown reasons that affect our economy. It is a great shame having all this information in hand and not using it. If money is the problem we suggest that the Lands Office sets up a site which will accept contributors to finance the project and the information is sold to businesses.