A slump in Cyprus’ property market eased slightly in the fourth quarter, an industry survey showed on Wednesday, though while prices on much of the island looked to be bottoming out, they fell more rapidly in the capital Nicosia.
The slump began in 2009 with the bursting of a real estate bubble that had been stoked by cheap credit and foreign demand after the island joined the European Union in 2004 and all restrictions on property ownership by foreigners were eased.
Market demand has been sapped by a liquidity squeeze since the island took a 10 billion euro international bailout in 2013 and its banks suffered billions in losses from their exposure to fellow bailout recipient Greece.
Falling prices have left a significant proportion of homeowners with debts exceeding the value of their property, and the rate of non-performing loans in the island’s banking sector is above 50 per cent.
“Other cities are progressively bottoming out,” it said in a statement.