By Kyriacos Kiliaris

Despite the concern over the €1.2 billion investment in the marina and port which is now up in the air, stakeholders have every reason to be confident that Larnaca’s development boom witnessed in the last few years will maintain its momentum.

Larnaca will still be banking on multimillion projects already in the pipeline, with room for further development as there are large areas currently not included in any plans.

In recent years, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Larnaca has emerged as a key player in the real estate market, experiencing unprecedented growth.

The city is currently experiencing robust activity in both investment and residential sectors, attracting both foreign investors and locals in search of their dream homes.

This surge in demand is reflected in the escalating rental and sale prices across the city.

According to data from Danos International Property Consultants and Valuers, rental prices for one-bedroom apartments range from €500 to €600, two-bedroom apartments from €650 to €750, and three-bedroom apartments from €800 to €950.

These rates have doubled, and in some areas tripled, compared to 2019. Property sale prices have also risen significantly, with increases of 50 to 70 per cent in the province.

In surrounding areas like Pervolia and Livadia, land prices have doubled. For example, a plot in Livadia that cost €100,000 in 2019 now sells for €200,000. However, some villages like Alethriko still offer affordable options for those looking to build their homes.

Larnaca’s development focus extends across various fronts, including the revitalisation of the beachfront area in Dhekelia, once dominated by oil refineries. Private initiatives are actively promoting projects in Larnaca, particularly in the former refinery area and along Dhekelia Road.

The Petrolina Group’s ambitious Larnaca Land of Tomorrow project, with costs exceeding €1 billion, is a prime example of the city’s potential for growth.

The project covers over 400,000 square metres and aims to offer some 8,000 residential units, offices, retail spaces, and dining areas.

The city’s prospects do not end here, as Larnaca offers a diverse range of development opportunities.

The Larnaca municipality has often come close to realising its vision of creating a university of maritime and marine sciences, technology and sustainable development under the umbrella of the Cyprus University of Technology.

However, the project has not gained momentum, due to the apparent lack of political will and, once more, red tape procedures.

The latest reports suggest that the Ministry of Finance has approved the study prepared in early 2023 for the creation of this school.

Meanwhile, a number of projects involving high rises have also been entangled in red tape procedures, leading investors to abandon the projects.

One must note that, as we all know, high towers are not and should not be the be-all of development.

The coastal city has a rich variety of development opportunities, that are equally as promising as projects currently in the pipeline.

The area of the old airport offers just that.

Danos International Property Consultants and Valuers had previously worked on a project in 2018 to transform the old airport area into an airport city.

Plans included a hotel, conference centre, shopping mall and exhibition spaces for logistics.

They also included the construction of an aviation academy facilitating studies for professions related to the sector, combining academic and vocational training.

This project was presented at major real estate exhibitions and conferences like MIPIM in Cannes, attracting significant interest from investors, including Marriott Hotels and various logistics companies.

However, the project encountered a hurdle when the government did not agree to a different timeline for implementation than that offered to Hermes Airport operators.

Back in 2012, the media was buzzing with news of a major Chinese investor with big plans and money to develop the area of the old airport.

At the time, a total of €600 million was supposed to be pumped into a project which included the development of an airport mall and other related services in order to promote Chinese goods in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As reported, the investor abandoned his plans and left the island blaming Cyprus’ bureaucracy.

The take-away from the experience of past years, including the likelihood of the marina project going south, should be that with better cooperation and reduced bureaucracy, the sky’s the limit for the coastal city of Larnaca.

Kyriacos Kiliaris is Chief Marketing Officer at Danos International Property Consultants & Valuers