Cyprus property market has seen significant growth in sales and prices

The residential property market in Cyprus saw significant growth in 2017 with sales up 24% and prices up 33% and a rise in foreign buyers, a new annual review report shows.

The highest growth in sales was in Famagusta with a rise of 44%, followed by Nicosia up 42% and Limassol up 36%, according to the Cyprus Real Estate Market Report from PwC Cyprus.

Sales to foreign buyers increased by 33% with was Paphos and Limassol emerging as the preferred locations for overseas buyers. The two together accounted for 70% of foreign transactions.

The data also shows that the top end of the market showed significant growth with sales of properties worth €1.5 million and above rising by 45%, led by sales in Limassol.

The report says that the growth is due to increased demand and there was also a rise in new building permits, indicating that demand is expected to continue. Indeed, the value of new building permits increased by 49% across the island.

PwC says that the property market is being supported by a positive economic outlook. GDP increased by 3.4% in 2017 and the International Monetary Fund has forecast growth of 2.6% for 2018. Cyprus’ credit ratings have been upgraded and tourism is growing with arrivals up 14% last year.

‘Cyprus has one of the highest home ownership rates in Europe and there is a significant overseas market for holiday and second homes,’ the report says, adding that buyers from Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates are attracted by visa incentives.

Foreign buyers in Limassol predominately buy apartments with 66% buying flats. But in Paphos overseas buyers prefer villas. They are particularly attracted by high end apartment new builds.

Meanwhile, the latest data from the Department of Lands and Surveys shows that growth is continuing in 2018. Sales increased by 23% year on year in March. Sales to overseas buyers increased. Overall foreigners accounted for 51% of transactions.

Sales in Famagusta were flat but they increased across the rest of the island, up 59% in Nicosia, up 35% in Limassol, up 6% in Paphos and up 3% in Larnaca.

Sales also increased on a quarterly basis, up 41% in the first quarter of 2018, led by a rise of 75% in Famagusta, followed by a rise of 64% in Nicosia, up 47% in Limassol, up 45% in Paphos and up 4% in Larnaca.