By Stelios Orphanides
The number of property transactions in Cyprus rose 37 per cent in October, to 634, compared to the respective month of 2015, as demand from foreign buyers remains strong, the Department of Lands and Surveys said.
The increase in transactions mainly concerned Limassol, with the number of properties changing owners in October rising an annual 63 per cent, to 270, the department said in a statement on its website on Thursday. In Paphos, which reported 126 transactions, the second largest number after Limassol, the increase was 8 per cent, the lowest island wide.
The number of property transfers in October rose 25 per cent, to 80, in Nicosia, 28 per cent, to 111 in Larnaca, and 62 per cent, to 47, in Famagusta, the department added.
In January to October, the total number of property transactions rose an annual 32 per cent, to 5,278, which also includes properties acquired by banks as part of loan restructuring agreements.
The overall increase is also partly due to various tax incentives offered to property buyers, including an exemption from capital gains tax, slashed transfer fees, and the reduction of immovable property tax this year.
Other incentives to foreign buyers, including the Cypriot pass or a permanent residence permit for non-European Union nationals, contributed to a 6.2 per cent annual rise in the number of properties bought by non-Cypriots, to 69 in October.
In the first 10 months of the year, the total number of properties sold to non-Cypriots rose 55 per cent, to 739. Foreigners bought properties mainly in Paphos, Limassol, and Larnaca, where their number rose an annual 68 per cent, 67 per cent, and 27 per cent, to 225, 214, and 37 respectively.
The highest rise in foreign demand though was in Nicosia, where non-Cypriots acquired 129 properties in January to October, which is 93 per cent more, compared to the respective period last year, the department said.