The number of property transactions in Cyprus rose an annual 43 per cent in 2016 to 7,063, the highest since 2010, after they more than doubled in December to 1,134 as buyers rushed to take advantage of phasing out tax-breaks, the Department of Lands and Surveys said.
The increase in transactions last year came mainly from Limassol where the number of properties that changed hands rose an annual 59 per cent to 2,496, after rising in December alone 156 per cent to 432, the department said in a statement on its website. In Nicosia, they rose 38 per cent in 2016 and 167 per cent in December to 1,031 and 144 respectively.
The number of transactions in Paphos rose last year 40 per cent to 1,740 compared to 2015 while in December they increased 137 per cent compared to the respective month of 2015, the department said.
In Larnaca and Famagusta districts, property transactions rose 27 per cent and 35 per cent in 2016 to 1,360 and 436 respectively, the department said. In December, they rose in Larnaca and Famagusta 137 per cent to 318 and 107 per cent to 87 respectively.
In December, an exemption of property buyers from capital gains tax and a temporary reduction of transfer fees to 50 per cent expired, which the parliament passed in mid-2015 aiming at helping the real estate market recover. Last year’s figures also include assets acquired by banks in the context of loan restructurings. The department declined to provide comment.