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Paphos struggling to meet rental property demand, students affected

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University and college students in Paphos will have to pay higher rent prices during the upcoming school year, according to a number of municipality and district officials, with the district struggling to meet rental property needs.

Moreover, demand for rental properties is expected to shoot up over the coming years due to the new university schools that are currently being created and the resulting increase in the number of students who are expected to arrive in Paphos.

Student accommodation prices at Neapolis University have remained unchanged at €450 euros, while the cost of renting a room at one of the smaller hotel units has been estimated at approximately €550, including services.

Maria Kountouri, who oversees the management of the student residences at Neapolis University, told the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday that there has been a feeling of hesitation in relation to booking rooms at the university.

This was attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding its evolution over the coming months, as well as the fact that classes were available online, making remote learning an option for students.

Kountouri noted that the university provides student accommodation spread across three key blocks, one being on campus, while the other two being in two local hotel units, the Vasilika and Pafos Gardens.

She explained that the rent costs €450 per month, which includes heating, air conditioning, weekly cleaning services, maintenance costs and utilities.

Meanwhile, CDA College director Karolina Kyprianou said that the college’s students from the Polis Chrysochous area, other villages in the Paphos district but also from Greece, are having difficulties with finding a place to stay.

“Unfortunately, the increase in rents has limited their options,” Kyprianou said.

“The college is trying to identify a few small hotel units who aren’t particularly busy between October and May in order to house some of its students,” she added.

The monthly fee for rooms in these units would be €550 with all of the aforementioned costs factored into the price.

According to Paphos Chamber of Commerce president George Mais, the limited number of rental properties is pushing prices higher, with rents rising by approximately 30-50 per cent.

Mais said that Paphos is experiencing a general lack of such properties, particularly in terms of apartments.

He attributed this to a number of reasons. This includes hotel employees who rent rooms and apartments in the city, as well as foreign visitors who come to Cyprus for long-term visits while they continue to work remotely.

In addition, Mais said that a number of apartments have been purchased by international buyers in recent years.

This results in either the property being taken out of the rental market or the rent going up to offset the purchasing price.

He explained that such investors are seeking a return of approximately 5 to 6 per cent, meaning that if an apartment is purchased for €200,000, the new owner will seek a monthly rent of €900 to €1000.

Also, Mais explained, a number of apartments are currently in the process of being renovated, but may become available in the future once this work has been completed.

What is more, Mais mentioned that some lower-quality rental properties are currently being allocated to asylum seekers.

At the same time, Paphos Chamber of Commerce director Marinos Stylianou said that rental prices in Paphos are not as prohibitive as those in Limassol and Nicosia.

He added that there has been increased demand for rental properties in Paphos, mostly from young couples or refugees who have relocated to Cyprus, particularly after the war in Ukraine.

Moreover, demand is further heightened by international firms who are trying to find accommodation for their staff.

“There has been some increase in rental prices when compared to the previous two years,” Stylianou said.

“However, price increases have been observed across all services, goods and sectors of the economy, so rents could not possibly be an exception or stay at the same level of 2021 and 2020,” he added.

Stylianou also mentioned that demand will increase further when the Cyprus University of Technology (Tepak) opens its new school of tourism and hospitality management in Paphos, which is expected to start operating in 2023.

“Despite the fact that there is a commitment and the necessary conditions to create additional student residences, something which the Paphos Municipality is also a part of, it will not be possible to meet student demand in its entirety,” Stylianou said.

“With Paphos continuing to become a growing higher education centre, it stands to reason that demand for properties may increase with students also entering that market,” he concluded.

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