By Kritonas Onisiforou, Head of Sales, Altia
Despite the world’s current economic state, the future is looking bright for Cyprus’ real estate sector. However, a bold next step is needed to make the most of the situation: dream big, plan effectively and utilise recent technological advancements. It is important to mention that Cyprus is considered to be both an attractive investment destination and an upcoming tech hub – aspects that will only be amplified in the future.
As the Head of Sales at Altia, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this industry. All the issues we believed it might face due to the pandemic, the geopolitical developments, the banking crisis in the developed world and other aspects not only were inefficient to demolish it but primarily benefitted the sector.
Cyprus’ strongest selling point is its ability to attract foreign investors and quality immigration. The island’s many impressive features, such as a warm climate, tax incentives, geographical position, and educated & eager workforce, should, on paper, be enough to attract the kind of people that would benefit the real estate industry and the economy. However, we also need infrastructure, services, and other amenities to ensure a high quality of life for those who make Cyprus their new home.
For Cyprus to evolve competitively as a country and an economy, we must prioritise setting goals to improve competitiveness and diversify our economy. We can look to the success stories of other countries, such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia, for inspiration.
Dubai’s strategic planning and ambitious vision have enabled the country to diversify its economy from one mainly based on oil and trade revenues to one where today less than 1% of its GDP comes from that source. The economy is now based on the tourism sector, luxury shopping, real estate, and investment fund registration. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, which will change how we design future cities, has enabled the country to raise vast amounts of capital from all over the world, setting an example of how to strengthen the economy and promote the country to raise capital from investors.
We constantly discuss the macroeconomic issues from Cyprus’ weak birth rate. We can positively look at Hong Kong, a country faced with worst birth rate issues but at the same time having one of the most robust real estate industries worldwide with the highest property prices. Hong Kong has managed to overcome this by attracting quality migration based on their ‘Quality Migration Scheme.’ Cyprus has also the opportunity to attract high-net-worth individuals with similar steps which will create a more positive macroeconomic outlook.
Cyprus must prioritise bold initiatives to attract more capital and strengthen the economy. One way to achieve this is to improve infrastructure and services to attract and retain quality investors and workforce. Immediate urban planning and tax incentives targeted at the construction of private foreign-language schools and rental housing units should be given. Additionally, the issue of affordable housing should be addressed on a Government level, we should stop expecting affordable housing from developers or blaming them for the lack of.
In addition, we must always keep an eye open for technological developments shaping our everyday life. With the ongoing technological revolution, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), we may be experiencing some of the most significant changes in humanity’s history. These will affect how we Build, Value, Sell, Buy, Design, and operate buildings. Countries that do not respond appropriately to these developments will soon find themselves in a very disadvantaged position. This period of technological evolution offers us the opportunity to modernise our sector as a whole and compete with the evolving global market to attract investors from all over the world without feeling that they are arriving at a disadvantaged industry.
In conclusion, Cyprus has the potential to counter the prospects of a potential recession that most of the world is experiencing and continue its dynamic path. We need a bold vision for the future, one that prioritises infrastructure, services, and appropriate government involvement. With the right vision and collective actions, Cyprus can continue it strong real estate performance as long as we make the right decisions for the future right now and we at Altia are excited to be part of that journey.