By Antonis Loizou FRICS
AYIA NAPA is a very small municipality with approximately 2,700 locals and approximately 500,000 tourists during the summer season. While the source of these tourists has changed over the years, the reputation of the resort as drink fueled party place is now being turned around.
Less than a third of the tourists who visit the island head to the Famagusta district and of those that do 60 per cent stay in Ayia Napaa.
A new mayor was recently elected George Karoussos, a young man with several new ideas. Some examples are the following:
l Outstanding Municipality debts have been substantially paid off and are on track for the balance.
l Saved money from the economies were/are directed towards the local infrastructure.
l Certain “crazy” ideas came up and it is interesting to record some of them since they are unique, catchy and low cost.
(i) A sculpture park was set up along a footpath between the village/Marina hotel for approximately 1km on a straight line, with various young mainly artists expressing their art (subsidised by the Municipality/hotels) which is still expanding.
(ii) The Bridge of Love was constructed two years ago which is a novel and romantic idea. A wooden bridge over a Byzantine water viaduct was constructed and the Municipality provides a lock with the lovers’ initials on who lock it on the bridge “locking thus their love for ever”!!
(iii) A cactus garden is underway near the sculpture open for hoever wants to contribute their plants.
(iv) An underwater theme park will be constructed at shallow depth so that children and others can have access from top with googles etc based on Greek mythology.
(v) The placing of boards along the high streets with “recommended” prices regarding water, coffee sale prices etc, so tourists are not cheated by local restaurateurs, taxi drivers and others
l Attempt was made for the beach facilities to be run by the Municipality – excellent results since from the initial income of €300,000pa the municipality now is getting around €2m!
l Lastly the Ayia Napa Marina seems to be on track. The local investor (Karamondanis) has managed to attract €200m in foreign investment to carry out this imaginative project.
l New hotel projects and renovating existing ones are evident everywhere.
We refer to this and other similar ideas and the anxiety of the mayors of the area to help themselves for the public/local benefit which at the end will help the local and by projection the Cyprus real estate. The Municipalities of Ayia Napa/Sotira/ Paralimni was up to recently (2009) a most popular holiday home resort mainly by the British and local market (Nicosia town’s people) and more recently by the Russian market.
Regarding the real estate market and following the recession of the years 2013-2016, the market is fast improving and demand is forthcoming both from locals (mainly Nicosia) and from abroad. The British market is no longer with us and forms a small part of the market. Demand has reached a stage that the market is running out of stock, whereas it is notable the participation of foreign investors in developments.
Available beach houses are few and far between and prices are in the range of €7,000-€8,000/m², whereas near the beach units are around €3,000/m². Resale apartments away from the beach at €1,200/m². Villas to let are now in top demand, ideally 3 bedroom with a pool with a letting rate of €2,000 per week can provide good rentals with an occupancy rate of 60%(+).