Owning a home in Cyprus is an “impossible dream,” trade union Peo said on Monday, calling for the creation of social housing programmes.

Construction costs have recently shot up by 20 per cent, “making home ownership an impossible dream for many young people and the lower and middle income classes,” Peo said.

“These are added to previously existing obstacles, like the fact it is more difficult for these groups to borrow money for home ownership purposes”.

It is therefore vital to introduce policies and measures that effectively address these issues, it continued, saying that the state and local authorities need to make use of public and municipal land to create “necessary” social housing schemes that will offer cheap, quality housing with prices based on income criteria.

The union further said that the social housing schemes already offered by the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (Koag) are very few, and their implementation takes a very long time.

“A second immediate step needs to be the modification of financial assistance plans for the purchase and construction of housing, taking into account the increase in construction costs. This will change the criteria and give more people access to support,” Peo said.

It also suggested the creation of a monitoring body for the implementation of housing policies, which will involve the relevant governmental departments, local authorities, trade unions and social organisations.