President Nikos Christodoulides stated that the construction sector, supported by the Cyprus Property Developers Association (LBDA), plays a vital role in attracting investments, promoting entrepreneurship, and positioning Cyprus as an investment destination.

Speaking at a dinner held on Wednesday evening, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the LBDA, the president emphasised the government’s intention to support the construction sector.

He referred to the upcoming meeting with representatives from various associations, including the Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation (Oev) and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve), along with relevant ministers, scheduled for late May at the Presidential Palace, to discuss government actions.

During the event, President Christodoulides discussed the government’s actions to address the housing crisis, particularly the Build to Rent scheme, which combines urban planning incentives with tax relief to increase the number of rental housing units in the market, offering significant economic benefits to land development investors.

Another initiative involves the establishment of a special fund to support the government’s housing policy, allowing for financial compensation and the purchase of urban planning incentives.

president nikos christodoulides 2

President Nikos Christodoulides at the LBDA conference

“Beyond the housing policy, in our effort to address a longstanding scourge as a state, that of bureaucracy, and to accelerate the licensing of developments that contribute to alleviating the housing issue, we have decided that all applications concerning special housing incentives will be reviewed by a central planning authority, the director of the Department of Town Planning and Housing,” he said.

President Christodoulides also highlighted the 22 measures for simplifying and modernising the procedures for issuing town planning and building permits.

“I am well aware that these measures have not solved the problem, but they are a significant first step,” the president said.

“There are legislative regulations that need to be promoted through the House of Representatives, but these measures aim for more efficient management of applications for licensing residential developments, initially of small scale, in cooperation with private planners, who now substantially contribute to the promotion of such developments,” he added.

He then thanked the president of the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (Etek) “for the collaboration on this issue”.

The president emphasised that reforming and simplifying licensing procedures are crucial to promoting development.

He added that timely licensing not only boosts the construction sector and building industry but also supports the forthcoming reform of local government and the functioning of the new District Self-Government Organisations, starting from July 1, 2024.

president nikos christodoulides 1

President Nikos Christodoulides

“In the same context, facilitating the licensing of strategic development projects is another goal of the government, implemented through the application of the relevant law,” he said.

“With the recent submission of the relevant regulations to the House of Representatives, and to the competent House Committee, the procedures for the full implementation of the law, which will be crucial, are underway,” he added.

President Christodoulides also addressed the Ippodamos information system, which he described as a new tool contributing to expedited licensing. ”

The adoption of electronic applications is associated with the broader government effort to modernise the state and reduce bureaucracy, thereby creating a business-friendly environment, while enhancing the competitiveness of our country to become an even more attractive business destination,” he said.

The president also mentioned the implementation of urban regeneration measures through the relevant bill submitted to the House of Representatives in December 2023.

“Urban regeneration promotes the model of compact and sustainable land development and contributes to limiting scattered development, phenomena which we have seen in the past,” he said.

“In collaboration with the House of Representatives, the adoption of the law is expected within 2024, which will have a substantial positive contribution to real estate development, with significant benefits for both landowners and land development businesses,” he added.

Finally, in his concluding remarks, the resident underscored the government’s intention to continue supporting the real estate sector through various actions.