Cyprus’ housing market stabilizes, amidst improving economy

Cyprus’ housing market stabilizes, amidst improving economy

Cyprus’ housing industry is showing signs of revival after a dramatic halt last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Property demand and development activities are currently being driven by low loan rates and government relief measures.

According to the Central Bank of Cyprus, the nationwide residential property price index increased by 0.91 percent (1.64 percent inflation-adjusted) in the year to Q1 2021, a deceleration from the 1.82 percent y-o-y increase seen in Q1 2020. (CBC).

by district, in the course of the year to Q1 2021:

  • Nicosia, Cyprus’ capital, condominium prices rose via 2.2% but house costs fell slightly by way of 0.9%.
  • In Limassol, rental fees rose by way of three.four%, and residence costs expanded with the aid of 2.7%.
  • In Larnaca, rental charges rose strongly by means of 6%, however house fees fell through zero.8%.
  • In Paphos, each rental and house costs fell by three% and 1.6%, respectively.
  • In Famagusta, condo charges rose through three.2% even as house fees dropped barely by using zero.1%.

Residential construction activity has speedy bounced lower back. in the first 4 months of 2021, the range of cost of residential building allows rose with the aid of forty four.6% and forty seven% y-o-y, respectively. Dwellings legal additionally elevated nearly 50% y-o-y to three,353 units in Jan-Apr 2021.

After a double-digit decline ultimate 12 months, call for is now growing again. inside the first 5 months of 2021, total assets sales in Cyprus rose strongly by 36.2% y-o-y to 3,577 devices, consistent with the department of Lands & Surveys. home income, which accounted for more than -thirds of general income, soared by 73% y-o-y to two,482 units at the same time as belongings sales to foreigners fell through 8% to 1,half devices over the identical period.

standard, Cyprus’ real estate marketplace is anticipated to remain regular at some stage in the remainder of the year. “hobby and charges in the fundamental business centres of Nicosia and Limassol are currently stable, as locals are acquiring residential homes taking benefit of various authorities subsidies and with a purpose to generate earnings,” said consultancy firm twine FS. but, “different districts are persevering with to enjoy low tiers of demand, as they’re extra reliant on foreign places markets and have a higher dependency on tourism.”

within the first half of of 2021, traveller arrivals totalled 340,984 human beings, up by means of 33.4% from last yr but still down via a large seventy nine.1% from the 1.63 million arrivals recorded in H1 2019.
The Cyprus real property marketplace has traditionally been divided into the principal city centres of Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca (on the whole pushed by way of nearby demand); and the seashore resort regions of Paphos and Famagusta, that are on the whole driven by means of overseas call for.
Foreigners should purchase one domestic in Cyprus, and are entitled to keep land freehold, but there may be a maximum restrict on land possession of three donums (four,014 sq. m.).
The worldwide financial Fund (IMF) expects the Cypriot economy to develop by means of a modest three% this yr, following a contraction of five.1% closing 12 months. but the Finance Ministry is more positive, projecting growth of four.5% to 5% this 12 months.
short history of Cyprus’ housing market
Cyprus’ housing marketplace has been on a roller-coaster ride. at some stage in a loopy boom within the mid 2000’s constructed on visitor call for and Russian cash, there have been house rate will increase of twenty-two.06% (17.46% inflation-adjusted) in 2007, and nine.73% (7.forty seven% inflation-adjusted) in 2008. but then house costs fell by way of 30% (32.three% inflation-adjusted) from 2009 to 2016, starting their decline in 2009 due to the global financial meltdown, in step with figures from the imperative financial institution of Cyprus (CBC).


Cyprus’ housing market started to stabilize in Q1 2017, amidst an improving economy. nationwide residence prices rose through a mean of 2.2% (1.five% inflation-adjusted) yearly from 2017 to 2019.

closing year, house prices rose by way of a miniscule zero.seventy five% (1.92% inflation-adjusted) due to the pandemic.

demand getting better swiftly, buoyed by means of nearby Buyers

After falling sharply closing yr due to the pandemic, call for is now getting better remarkably. inside the first five months of 2021, overall property income in Cyprus rose via 36.2% y-o-y to 3,577 devices, in step with the department of Lands & Surveys.

via fundamental urban centres:

  • Nicosia registered 1,a hundred and ten sales contracts in Jan-may additionally 2021, up through a huge 70% from a year earlier.
  • In Limassol, assets sales had been up through 48% y-o-y to at least one,086 gadgets over the identical period.
  • In Larnaca, property sales rose via 25% y-o-y to 566 gadgets.
  • In Famagusta, sales contracts rose by 22% y-o-y to 214 devices.
  • Paphos is the most effective primary Cypriot metropolis to register a modest decline in income, due to susceptible call for from non-ecu citizens. sales contracts dropped 2% y-o-y to 601 gadgets in Jan-may additionally 2021.

domestic sales, which accounted for more than -thirds of total sales, rose strongly via 73% y-o-y to 2,482 gadgets within the first 5 months of 2021. In assessment, property income to foreigners fell via 8% to 1,0.5 devices over the same length.

before the pandemic, strong hobby from foreigners drove the u . s . a .’s housing market healing in recent years, predominantly from non-ecu buyers. In 2019, belongings sales in Cyprus rose via 12.2% to ten,366 gadgets from a year in advance, the largest sales general due to the fact that 2008. It accompanied rises of five.8% in 2018, 23.7% in 2017, 42.6% in 2016, 9.four% in 2015 and 20.2% in 2014.

but with worldwide lockdown measures and tour regulations, general sales dropped 23.1% to 7,968 units in 2020.

Rents and yields are falling

common gross yields in Cyprus stood at four.8% for residences in 2020, down from 5% in 2019 however up from 4.5% in 2018, four.three% in 2017 and four% 3 years ago, according to RICS. Likewise, gross yields for houses have been 2.five% in 2020, barely down from 2.6% in 2019 but nonetheless up from 2.four% in 2018, 2.2% in 2017 and 2.1% three years ago.

Nicosia and Limassol generally provide higher gross apartment yields as compared to other Cypriot towns.
throughout Cyprus, month-to-month rents for flats fell slightly through zero.6% during the yr to Q1 2021, consistent with consultancy firm twine FS. alternatively, residence rents extended 2.6% over the same period.

  • Nicosia, Cyprus’ capital, residential rents will range from €7 to €eleven according to sq. m., barely down from €eight to €10 in keeping with sq. m. in 2020.
  • In Limassol, rents will variety from €sixteen to €35 per sq. m. in 2021, down from €20 to €40 according to sq. m. final yr.
  • In Larnaca, rents will variety from €6 to €10 according to sq. m. this yr, down from €8 to €10 per sq. m. in 2020.
  • In Paphos, rents will range from €8 to €14 per sq. m. this yr, from €10 to €12 in line with sq. m. last year.
  • In Famagusta, common rents will range from €8 to €14 in keeping with sq. m. this yr, from €10 to €12 in line with sq. m. in 2020.

Monthly rates for one- or two-bedroom apartments in Ayia Napa, a well-known Mediterranean tourist town on Cyprus’ southeast coast, ranging from €800 to €1,500. Villas with three to four bedrooms can be rented for between €2,000 and €5,000 per month.

Citizenship-by-funding scheme scrapped

other than coronavirus-related lockdowns and journey regulations, the recent termination of the u . s .’s arguable Citizenship-by means of-funding (CBI) application has also adversely affected potential foreign homebuyers in Cyprus.

In October 2020, the authorities suspended the scheme because of a breach of strategies. this is in reaction to claims that golden passports have been issued to people with crook record or who are prosecuted for financial crimes. It turned into additionally alleged that the programme department widespread applications with fake records about an investor’s sources of income. Worse, senior government officers had been allegedly worried within the violations.

consistent with former president of ultimate courtroom Myron Nicolatos, 53% of the 6,779 golden passports issued during the programme’s 13-year run were given now not to the traders themselves but to family individuals or pinnacle corporation executives.

“It’s apparent that the (programme) operated among 2007 and Aug. 17, 2020, with blanks and omissions, with out a prison framework and nearly without a regulatory framework,” stated Nicolatos. “also absent were those safety valves, the right prison guidance in addition to good enough supervision concerning current legal guidelines and regulations.”

general investment with the aid of foreigners under the programme amounted to approximately €9.7 billion, in step with the Cyprus Ministry of Finance.

Residential creation pastime rising again

Unsurprisingly, residential production in Cyprus fell remaining year because of the destructive effect of the pandemic. during 202o, the variety of residential building permits fell by using 2.1% y-o-y to five,069 and the price of permits dropped sixteen.3% to €2.03 billion (US$2.forty one billion), consistent with the Cyprus Statistical service. Dwellings legal also fell by 3.five% y-o-y to 9,292 gadgets closing year.
Cyprus dwellings legal

As financial conditions regularly improve, production hobby is now gaining momentum. inside the first 4 months of 2021:

  • No. of residential building permits: up 44.6% y-o-y to at least one,803
  • area of residential constructing lets in: up forty nine.4% y-o-y to 625,689 sq. m.
  • value of residential building lets in: up 47% y-o-y to €636.67 million (US$755.54 million)
  • living gadgets authorized: up forty nine.8% y-o-y to a few,353 devices
  • residing stock within the united states reached round 460,000 gadgets in early ultimate year.

interest rates remain low

interest fees in Cyprus are low, following ecu significant bank (ECB) key quotes. As of can also 2021, the following common housing loan costs carried out in Cyprus:

  • hobby fee fixation (IRF) of up to at least one 12 months: 1.three%, slightly up from 1.22% in may additionally 2020 but nevertheless down from 1.49% in can also 2019
  • IRF over 1 and as much as 5 years: 1.sixty nine%, down from 1.eighty one% a year ago and a couple of.28% two years ago
  • IRF over five years: 2.05%, down from 2.17% in may also 2020 and a pair of.43% in may additionally 2019

Variable-charge mortgages now account for about 98% of all housing loans in Cyprus.

The ECB left its key charge unchanged at an 49f67066cd05458a974d4cc1f8ab519f of 0.00% in June 2021, after reducing it by 5 basis points in March 2016. In preceding years, banks in Cyprus had been gradual to respond to ECB hobby fee cuts, but this appears to be changing.

Residential loan loans continue to fall

despite low interest quotes, overall housing loans fantastic fell by five.1% y-o-y to €8.seventy six billion (US$10.39 billion) in June 2021, following declines of one.eight% in 2020 and 1.5% in 2019, in keeping with the valuable bank of Cyprus.

In June 2021, by means of residence of borrower:

  • home citizens: exquisite loans drawn fell by way of 4.1% y-o-y to €8.17 billion (US$nine.sixty nine billion)
  • Euro-area residents: down by sixteen.5% y-o-y to €31.3 million (US$37.1 million)
  • Non-euro location residents: down by means of 17.2% y-o-y to €558 million (US$662.2 million)
  • Housing loans brilliant were falling considering 2012 while Cyprus’ banking system collapsed amidst the worldwide credit crunch.

From 29.1% of GDP in 2005, the mortgage marketplace grew to approximately ninety 1.3% of GDP in 2012. but it has shrunk sharply given that to 42.7% of GDP in 2019. last 12 months, great mortgage mortgage to GDP grew to 44.5% because of pandemic-prompted monetary downturn.

Home foreclosures moratorium extended

In July 2021, lawmakers surpassed a regulation further extending a freeze on home foreclosure, in spite of objections from the authorities and the banking area. This extends the present day moratorium on repossessions from July 31 to October 31, 2021.

but the exemptions threshold was extensively reduced. With the modern day modification, the homes exempt from foreclosures include:

  • primary houses valued at up to €350,000 (from the preceding €500,000)
  • commercial enterprise premises with annual turnover of as much as €750,000 (from the previous €2 million)
  • Agricultural land plots valued at as much as €one hundred,000 (from the previous €250,000)

Cyprus’ property identify deeds fiasco stays unresolved

property frauds in Cyprus are a large problem for expat owners, however also for developers, banks, and the authorities. Many buyers have misplaced their houses after the developer went bankrupt, notwithstanding having paid in full.

developers tend to maintain the identify deeds, neglecting to tell house-customers that their identify deeds might be withheld for an unspecified time, or that the land on which their belongings is built has been mortgaged by the developer.

between January 2005 and June 2008 a total of 37,769 remote places shoppers bought 29,949 residences for which name Deeds had yet to be transferred, consistent with the Cyprus branch of Land Registry document published in October 2008. “some cases have worried ‘double promoting’ fraud wherein the developer sells a assets to birthday celebration A, fails to resort the agreement with the Land Registry, after which sells it again to celebration B (probable for a higher charge) but fails to reimburse birthday party A,” says Alan Waring, an worldwide danger control consultant.

To remedy the scandal, a brand new directive on mortgage credit score become adopted on January 28, 2014 via the monetary and monetary Affairs Council. the brand new regulation units out situations for ensuring professionalism among creditors and credit intermediaries; standards for advertising and marketing and marketing; obligations relating to pre-contractual facts; necessities for statistics on the borrowing fee; and necessities to test the patron’s creditworthiness; and disclosure obligations for the patron.
The property name deeds fiasco however remains unresolved. consistent with ecu fee’s put up-Programme Surveillance document of spring 2017, on the present day fee of identify Deeds issuance, it’d take approximately ten years to cope with the backlog of unissued name Deeds, which already reached round 30,000.

“The presently dysfunctional name Deeds issuance and transfer system is deterring potential buyers and thus weighing at the liquidity of the property market,” said the eu commission. “although some measures have been taken to streamline the issuance of title Deeds for new houses, no new degree turned into introduced to offer for a sustainable system of switch of title Deeds.”

The Immovable assets switch and loan law (amendment) (No. 10) of 2015, higher known as the ‘Trapped buyers’ regulation or the ‘Hidden Mortgages’ law, became handed to assist property purchaser(s) to achieve a name Deed, in the event that they can’t obtain one despite having fulfilled their contractual duties to the vendor.

the following can observe for identify Deeds:

  • The purchaser who has but to get hold of the title Deed of the belongings he bought
  • the vendor of the belongings, whether or not a private person or a belongings development company
  • The lender who granted the loan to the assets customer
  • The mortgagee underneath the loan contract deposited on the Land Registry
  • The client who bought the assets via assignment or vesting settlement deposited on the Land Registry
  • The Director of the department of Lands and Surveys ex officio

however a court docket ruled in may 2017 that the new regulation is unconstitutional because it violates Article 26 of the charter, which affords individuals the proper to enter freely into a agreement. As such, the land registry suspended methods, because the government contemplated its next flow.

In July 2019, the government accredited amendments searching for to improve the 2015 regulation to subsequently resolve the hassle. The amendments make certain the involvement in the procedure of all 3 events – client, lender and vendor – and have enough money the ability of filing a substantiated objection and securing a court docket order inside a described time frame to forestall the switch.

Then in April 2021, the Congress voted for 2 amending legal guidelines, which permit all interested events upon the consent of the registered proprietor of the assets (the developer) to use for the transfer of the belongings until December 31, 2021, irrespective of the life of the certificates of unauthorized works.
Banking machine resilient

Banking System

In 2012, Cyprus’ big offshore banking system, which became now not not like Iceland’s, collapsed. via 2012 the banking zone had property people$120 billion in an economic system with a GDP of most effective US$24 billion, with US$60 billion of those belongings related to Russian agencies’ deposits.

Cypriot banks had a hard time making a comeback on all this cash, and their response changed into to raise mortgage risk-ranges, lending to Cyprus’ nearby property companies, and to the Greek authorities, which in 2012 experienced the most important sovereign debt default in history.

In March 2013, Cyprus was bailed out by means of the Troika, composed of the worldwide financial Fund, eu critical financial institution and european fee. Cyprus became lent €10 billion (US$eleven.nine billion).

protected within the settlement turned into a haircut for bank deposits of more than €a hundred,000 (US$118,seven hundred) at the usa’s largest banks-financial institution of Cyprus, and Cyprus famous financial institution (Laiki bank).

The phrases required Cyprus to cut public area spending, hike taxes, and reduce its bloated banking quarter. The lack of self assurance had an vast impact on the local economy, combined with the decline in tourism in large part because of the Eurozone disaster, and the downgrading of the Cypriot government’s bond credit score rating to junk reputation.

over the past six years, Cyprus has had amazing coverage achievements, ending its IMF bailout application earlier than term. huge felony and institutional modifications have been brought. The banking device is now on more solid ground. Unemployment fell continuously from 16.1% in 2014 to 7.1% in 2019. The economic system grew via an annual common of four.6% in 2015-19.

Banking device solvency advanced. notwithstanding the pandemic, NPLs continuously fall to about 17.7% of general gross loans in 2020, down from 27.9% in 2019 and forty seven.eight% in 2014. The discount in NPLs may be attributed to improved repayments, restructurings, write-offs, and settlement of debt via swaps with real homes meant to be sold for faster cash collection, in keeping with the relevant bank. The housing market recuperation is likewise supporting improve Cypriot banks’ asset best.

In April 2021, NPLs within the Cypriot banking gadget amounted to approximately €5.14 billion (US$6.1 billion), almost unchanged from a yr earlier but extensively down from €eight.ninety seven billion (US$10.sixty four billion) in 2019 and a top of €28 billion (US$33.23 billion) in 2013 – a decline that can be taken into consideration as the fastest within the european.

As a end result, Moody’s Investor carrier has upgraded the united states’s sovereign credit score in July 2021, from Ba2 to Ba1, with a solid outlook, amidst the continuing decline in banking quarter risks and the united states of america’s resilience to shocks introduced by the pandemic.
“The primary driver for the improve of the scores of Cyprus to Ba1 is the fabric improvement inside the underlying credit score electricity of the domestic banking machine, which also reduces the risks of a systemic banking crisis and consequently lowers the chance of a crystallization of contingent liabilities inside the banking system at the government’s balance sheet,” stated Moody’s.
in advance, general & negative’s and Fitch ratings affirmed the u . s . a .’s long-time period company score at BBB-, with a solid outlook.

Cypriot economic system getting better

In Q1 2020, the Cyprus financial system recorded a quarterly growth of 2%, an development from the previous quarter’s 1.1% increase and the best inside the eurozone. The euro area shrunk by 0.6%, on average, during the zone.

“The above increase is the highest recorded within the eurozone whilst maximum european nations keep to have negative boom prices as compared to the previous region,” said Finance Minister ConstantinosPetrides.
On an annual basis, the economic system gotten smaller through 1.6% in Q1 2021, an development from y-o-y declines of 4.4% in this fall 2020, 4.6% in Q3, and 12.5% in Q2. Cyprus had recovered strongly for the reason that banking disaster, registering annual common growth of 4.6% from 2015 to 2019.

The international financial Fund (IMF) expects the Cypriot economy to grow via a modest three% this yr, following a contraction of five.1% remaining year. The Finance Ministry is greater constructive, projecting boom of four.5% to five% this 12 months.

Cyprus recorded a finances deficit equivalent to 5.7% of GDP in 2020, in sharp comparison to a surplus of 1.5% of GDP in 2019, after the authorities allocated over €1.2 billion (US$1.four billion) for COVID-19 help to the health region, households and organizations.

Gross public debt surged to 118.2% of GDP ultimate year, up from 94% of GDP in 2019 and surpassing the previous high of 109.1% of GDP in 2014.

In may also 2021, Cyprus president unveiled any other economic stimulus plan well worth €4.4billion (US$5.2 billion), which he defined because the “maximum ambitious ever” in the country’s 61-year as an impartial republic. The five-pronged plan is projected to growth GDP with the aid of 7% over the next 5 years and create an extra eleven,000 jobs.

“The plan, ‘Cyprus — the next day’ is a courageous leap forward and a new and important development version for the destiny,” said Anastasiades. “It’s the road map for the publish-COVID-19 technology.”
Seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Cyprus stood at 7.9% in June 2021, sharply down from 9.8% inside the preceding month but nonetheless slightly up from 7.6% in June 2020, in step with Eurostat. From a median of simply 4.8% from 2000 to 2011, unemployment had surged to an average of 11.7% from 2012 to 2020, based totally on figures from the IMF.

customer expenses rose via 3.1% in June 2021 from a yr in advance, the biggest growth due to the fact March 2012, in particular driven by means of increases in housing and utilities expenses and transport costs. Inflation averaged -0.2% within the beyond 8 years.