While Cyprus has a history of conflict resulting in the permanent UN policed buffer zone down the center of the island, the political and military tensions seem to have lowered since the conflict last flared up in the 1970s. This new found calm has allowed both areas of the country to improve their offering to the world, foreign nationals, as well as their economies.
Viewed by many as the area where Christianity (in the North) meets the Muslim faith (in the South), there is much to see on this beautiful island. The North has been slower to develop due in the main to the historic lack of direct transport networks from the country to mainland Europe. This problem has been solved over the last few years with the building of new airports and direct flights introduced by some of the world’s major airlines.
For a country that has long been regarded as a difficult area to enjoy, Cyprus is now beginning to promote its own national identity to the world, and while a little unconventional in set-up, the mystery and intrigue of the area are there for all to see. The Expat population in Cyprus is growing for all of these reasons. It has also grown in popularity with the expat set as seen in a post at the Cyprus Expat Forum last October 19, 2009:
Have spent 2 wks in Larnaca .amazing …Visited Pafos in the past a few times and although i did enjoy it , i found Larnaca and the surrounding Villages more to my liking. Will be relocating to Cyprus when my house sale goes through . You are so priviliged to live there . So enjoyed McKenzy beach every morning , before travelling around the Villages …Just Heaven
Cyprus Property Market Performance
Northern Cyprus has seen a major boom time for property over the last 3 years after revealing the intention to join the European Union (which was completed in 2004). For many investors, the integration into the EU was a major sign that the country has settled, and is starting to recover after a difficult period in history. This has changed though with the current worldwide financial crisis as residential property prices have fallen by as much as 10% in towns and cities in the country with some reaching 40% downward price falls.
While the island has always been popular with British expats, many have been used to the quiet life with very little interest from the “outside” world. This has all changed and for the first time in its history, there is a very fluid property market in Cyprus. House prices are increasing and houses are changing hands at regular intervals.
As you would expect from a country with a very condensed work force, there are a number of “hot spots” which have seen property prices rise by as much as 30% in 2004 (the year of joining the EU), although increases have been lower since then. As is now the trend in areas of the world that have only really begun to see overseas property interest, some investors are looking a little more into the quieter regional areas where prices have yet to rise in line with the major cities.
The Cypriot government have put in place a number of restrictions to deter foreign speculators who may be looking to take advantage of the boom time. These restrictions seem to change on a regular basis, with many set to disappear by 2009, as EU residents are able to travel and invest more freely in member states..
A beautiful country with some great property to offer Expats just coming onto the market, this young market has lots to offer, as well as an economy which is going from strength to strength.
Property Costs in Cyprus
There is no doubt that Cyprus is a fairly tricky property market to deal in, with many properties and areas still under dispute from before the time the island was separated. It is therefore essential that a local solicitor is employed to guide you through any possible problem areas. There are ballpark figures for the actual cost of the property depending where they are located amongst the districts in Cyprus. There are other costs involved with the biggest cost is the engagement of a solicitor.
Other than a solicitor, there are more costs associated with a property purchase, which include:
Legal fees, often costing up to CY£1000
Surveyors fees, in the region of CY£300
Stamp Duty, levied at 0.15% on the first CY£100,000 and 0.2% on the balance
Permission to transfer a property to foreign ownership, normally CY£150
Mortgage fees of 1%
Transfer fee, starting from 3% upwards
Immovable property tax , starting at 0.25% on properties valued at over CY£100,000.
If you really wish to purchase property on the island, here is what an expat recommended as the course of action to take in a post at the Cyprus Expat Forum last September 22, 2009:
You can get a loan if you have proof of income, accounts and all your paperwork in order, however it is not easy and it seems the rules and requirements constantly change from customer to customer. I have a sale that took 13 months to close due to financing problems. Another buyer was asked to get a credit check from a US based company even though he was from Scotland and lived in Dubai – no US address or connection which was needed to complete this check. Laiki bank “kindly” waived that odd requirement. I would go to several banks and talk to someone personally at each branch if possible.