Thanks to Brexit we have gone back in time when it comes to British nationals buying real estate in Cyprus.
As circumstances stand at present and without a change in the law regarding acquisitions by Brits, these will fall into the category of foreign purchases, with those by all other non-EU members.
As such, for newcomers thef ollowing restrictions apply:
- Only one house can be acquired
- No lets for income
- No purchase of a plot larger than 4,000 square metres
- No acquisition of offices etc, other than through an offshore company (which has its own restrictions regarding location of offices, the number of staff employed locally etc)
- The transfer of property will require the Council of Ministers’ approval, which might take anything between two to four months with the applicants required to provide a lot of information
- No share acquisition
- Acquisition of land outside development areas, like agricultural land, is restricted
- Land acquired in development areas must have a home built on it within a period of three years from acquisition
- All money for the purchase must come from abroad
- Unmarried couples (even if they have children together) cannot acquire real estate in joint ownership
- Owners would still require work permits
- Exclusion from Cyprus National Health
- Visa costs for visiting and so on
The government has been urged to make an exception for our British friends living permanently in Cyprus, in order to minimise the impact.
Using the Commonwealth status would be one way to approach the matter, but then Commonwealth covers a lot of other nationalities (including Pakistan/India, South Africa etc).
We suspect other countries popular with the British, like Spain, Portugal and Malta, have a similar problem. Perhaps a joint EU proposal could be submitted.
The situation has worried our British residents. As a result of these restrictions and uncertainties, some are putting their properties up for sale, especially in the Pafos region.
We feel that Cyprus is losing a long-time friend. We stand to lose in terms of permanent tourism and long-standing individual and personal friendships will take a hit.
The current permanent residency visas require ownership of a permanent residence valued at least €300.000. In addition, newcomers will be required to have an anual income of at least €30.000, plus another €5.000 for dependents and to visit Cyprus at least twice a year. These sorts of limitations do not necessarily exist in other countries and will put Cyprus at a disadvantage. However, given the mess we have got ourselves in with the passport programme, perhaps now is not the time to relax regulations.
Given how long this situation has been coming for, how is it that property developers and other interested parties have not come up with suggestions and pressured the government before now?
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants