By Antonis Loizou FRICS
If one looks back at the foreign nationals who have bought real estate (mainly holiday homes) in Cyprus it is possible to see a certain pattern of demand. Since the 1960s the main foreign market source was the British, with their main initial interest being Kyrenia which after the invasion moved to Limassol and Paphos.
In the 1970s interest appeared from Lebanon (due to their civil war) and the Gulf countries. This lasted up to the 1990s.
During this same period, 1980-1990, the British market came back in force. In addition to Limassol and then Paphos there interest also included the Paralimni/Protaras area and the areas around the Bases in Limassol.
After the 1990s the Russian (and the Russian speaking countries) started to appear with a huge initial interest, but then it slowed down as did their budgets. The preferential area of this market source was/is Limassol where a vibrant community has been set up.
In the 2000s we had (and still have) the Chinese and the Far East market whose main interest was/is for Pafos be it that it is expanding to other towns.
Cyprus real estate attracts foreign buyers because:
- The passports/visas scheme is more favourable than competitors
- The rather low cost of living, clean air and weather conditions. Short term increasing rentals and improving facilities/infrastructure (golf, marinas etc)
- Security plays a most important role
- The friendly nature of (most) of the locals, as well as the wide use of English
- Taxation, including the recent abolition of the property tax, a huge plus
- The creation of foreign speaking primary/secondary schools and local universities which are sometimes linked to quality UK universities with lower fees than in the UK
- The property market situation with lower prices (save the high end properties) and British owners are offering good opportunities in resales whereas the recent start of housing loans is another plus. Cyprus remains however a country isolated in terms of air connection, whereas the Cyprus political problem, although not a major issue, is there, at the back of everybody’s minds.
- What is strange (to an extent) is that Nicosia is out of the demand cycles regarding foreign buyers. Other than embassies and some foreign firms, Nicosia is the ‘poor relation’ of the other towns.
In ending our experience we wish to add that foreign interest is created mainly by private firms developing it; it is notable with a certain developer who on his own attracted the Chinese to Paphos whereas a Larnaca developer who is now active in the same country, is attracting high end interest from there.