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Property sales increase in Cyprus in April, but still well below peak

The statistics from the Department of Lands and Surveys show that property sales were up 11% in April compared to the same time last year and up by 25% over the first four months of this year compared to last.
But they are well below March’s figures which showed an astonishing 37% year on year growth in sales and 31% increase in for the first three months of 2010.
The figures also show a welcome increase in sales to foreign buyers. Cyprus has always relied on a large number of overseas investors many from Britain and Ireland but they have deserted the market during the global economic downturn and also been put off by the title deeds row which may be resolved soon.
But although more foreign buyers are investing sales are still down 60% compared with the peak in 2008.
Meanwhile protests about the title deeds situation have again hit the headlines. The Cyprus Property Action group, which campaigns on behalf of thousands who still do not have title deeds to their homes, has had to close its website after a writ was issued by a property developer.
Denis O’Hare, the CPAG representative who owns the website, shut it down after receiving a writ from Armonia Estates Ltd and Pantelis Leptos claiming damages for libel in relation to a particular page on entitled ‘Leptos Buyers Action Group Demonstration’.
A statement from the group said; ‘In this situation it is difficult to imagine how Denis can continue to run CPAG and he and the current CPAG will of necessity cease to be able to assist buyers. This is due to the possibility that any entity in Cyprus could now use the same draconian measures to attack him and CPAG.
The statement said that others involved with CPAG are ‘absolutely incensed’ and are looking into setting up a new limited liability company registered outside Cyprus with the ability to raise funding for advertising and campaigning. ‘The new strategy envisaged will be far more strident than has been seen previously in supporting the property rights of the buyers who have suffered the pitfalls of buying in Cyprus,’ it concluded.