There has been an increased interest in the mountain areas, especially those in the Troodos region, and the market is thriving.
The relatively recent purchase of Petit Palais Hotel, the plans to reconstruct the Splendid Hotel, the sale of Penteli Hotel which is now under renovation, the sale of the Cleopatra store to be turned into a bistro, the Helvetia Hotel sale, the plans to reconstruct the Berengaria Hotel in Prodromos, the upgrade of Koilada cafe, the commercial projects by DTA and the various high-end private residences are all positive developments for the local market.
Most purchases come from foreign investors (mainly Russians), while the national health scheme is also redistributing wealth to doctors.
Local planning zones are now under review and the views of investors and owners are being sought.
My recommendation for the zoning revision would be an increase from the two floors and an average building ratio of 30 per cent, to three floors (or more) with an increase of the building ratio to 40 per cent.
There is no sense in cutting down trees in order to build on the ground as opposed to retaining them and developing vertically.
Constructing a project in mountain resorts is not an easy task, because the construction costs are at least 40 per cent higher than those in cities, even on a flat surface.
Either way, the developments need elevators.
Parking is an issue with the existing regulations. What would be the cost of basement/ground floor parking, which could be 10 metres below road level? I recommend that where it is impossible to build a parking space, compensation be paid to the local authority in an effort for the authority to collect funds for the construction of parking spaces.
Concern for the environment is very important and any trees cut down for development should be replaced with trees that are over two-four years old, with a trunk of at least 2 metres.
After these new and future investments, where will the staff for all these businesses reside? Due to the increase in the cost/value of land, it is difficult to find units below €500/month for rent. Perhaps for this reason, there could be a relaxation from 19 per cent to 5 per cent of VAT for rentals of premises, provided that they are erected for this purpose and offered for rent for a minimum of 10 years. If not the difference of 14 per cent will be owed to the state.
We want to attract people and investments to the mountain villages, but do we have the facilities to?
The pending developments and various benefits, such as the EAC subsidy, are a start, but more is needed for the whole system to work. The issues that concern workers for them to be able to live there must be addressed.
A big concern is whether local authorities have the capacity to meet the new requirements and challenges of development. The main objective of attracting new investors is the welfare of existing residents.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]