Cyprus is facing an unprecedented housing crisis, which primarily affects the younger generations, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Friday as he laid the foundation stone for the new social housing development ‘Ianthi’ created by the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (Koag) in Larnaca.

Christodoulides said the government has been called to immediately manage this crisis.

“The particularly high cost of building a house, as well as the difficulty in securing financing, have shut out a significant number of our compatriots from the housing market. I would like to point out that the cost of securing affordable housing, either by purchase or by rental, has risen sharply in recent years in our country,” he said.

He added that as a result, the risk of eroding social cohesion was now visible, since by increasing the family budget to cover housing needs, other equally important and necessary needs were adversely affected, such as education, children’s needs, and many others.

The government has decided to design a new housing policy framework, as well as establishing a Unified Housing Agency soon, which will be responsible for formulating the state’s housing policy to meet the needs of citizens, the president added.

“With its establishment, this new Unified Housing Agency will be the one and only point of reference through which the citizen will be guided for their housing choices, based on their needs and their financial and family data, taking into account at the same time and other priorities that we have as a government, such as the need for the revitalisation of the countryside, support for critical areas, cooperation with the local authorities, but also dealing with traffic, all these issues, which we are asked to take into account in our housing policy,” he said.

He added that the intention of the government is to implement the campaign promises to the Cypriot people through the new housing policy, which is to ensure housing for all groups of the population who face a problem, especially young people and young couples.

Commenting further, the president said that they were gathering and categorising state plots of land, so that it was possible to evaluate their development potential and to draw up specific and targeted housing policies.

“It is not lost on us that the policies up to now have focused on helping citizens’ efforts to acquire their own home, primarily,” he said.

The government will also seek to activate the private sector, which is able, with targeted incentives, to assist and help increase the available building stock, he said.

Another goal he mentioned is, “ensuring unimpeded access of moderate and low-paid social strata to financing for the acquisition of a modern and dignified first home, through the announcement of targeted sponsorships and projects.”