A protest against home repossessions was staged outside the Banking Association offices on Wednesday morning as an online auction of 15 plots of land took place.
“E-auctions are a crime,” said the head of the Movement Against Repossessions, Evgenia Moyseos. “We don’t want houses to be in the hands of bankers.
“Many claim that nothing will change with e-auctions. But we want to make it clear that we believe things will change drastically.”
The online auction of real estate saw 15 plots of land on sale belonging to Gordian Holdings Ltd up for sale. None of the plots contained residences nor were they repossessed properties, but protesters argue that the process will snowball to include repossessed primary residences.
Moyseos cited the case of Greece and said that, after the introduction of e-auctions in the country, the number of auctions increased from 70 to 1000 per week.
“If this happens in Cyprus, by the end of winter half of the population will be without a home.
“E-auctions are not going to bring positive changes. No-one knows who is bidding for your house. It’s just a number. Who is behind that number? A banker? A politician?” Moyseos asked.
“You cannot redeem your home because you have to have the approval of the bank, even if you find the amount required by the bank itself. The house will still go to the highest bidder. Repossessions are not the solution and will create a huge social problem since there is no government housing policy.
Another representative of the Movement Against Repossessions, Dimitris Dimitriou, expressed fears that the implementation of the e-auction would lead to massive repossessions of first residence and small business premises.
The secretary of Edon, the youth wing of Akel, Vakis Charalambous said in a statement that, while some are enjoying Christmas “many of our fellow citizens have no social protection and are under threat of seeing their homes repossessed.”
Wednesday’s e-auction saw only two out of the 15 plots of land sold.
A spokesperson for the e-auction company told Cyprus Mail that “only plots of land are currently up for sale on the platform for now, but there will be actual properties available during the next e-auctions”.
So far, 120 people have already registered on the e-auction platform.
E-auctions always last two hours unless a one-hour extension is granted.
After that, if there are any bidders with a privileged status – the borrower or a first-degree relative – a second phase lasting 15 minutes will be launched involving the privileged bidders only.
The borrower is granted a privileged status in some cases and can buy back the property by matching the highest bid, as is the case in normal auctions.
Individuals and companies from anywhere in the world can register as bidders and take part in the auction without being physically present.