Property owners in Cyprus face more misery as developers go bust

Property owners in Cyprus without title deeds are facing more misery as two developers have gone bust potentially leaving them without legal rights to property they have paid for.

Last month developer Yiannis Liasides declared himself bankrupt leaving owners facing uncertainty abut their title deeds, it has been reported.

Now A&G Property Wise Development Limited has gone into liquidation. Buyers of homes from these developers face negotiating with the banks that have the title deeds.

It has emerged that A&G has been in difficulties for some time.

A liquidation order was first requested on behalf of debtors in May 2007 but was postponed twice at A&G’s request.  It eventually came through on September 16.

What happens to the properties will depend on whether the owner has lodged documents with the Land Registry to claim title or not.

Some property owners have been told by their banks, that their homes could be taken away in order to cover the debts.

The bad news comes at a time when buyers are deserting the Mediterranean island and prices are falling.

The latest figures from Cyprus’ Lands and Surveys Department show that the number of properties sold to foreigners in the first nine months of 2009 fell by 76%.

Overall sales are down 52%

In September alone the number of properties sold to foreign buyers was down 70% compared with the same month in 2008 with just 173 transactions taking place.

Not only are British buyers not looking at the island’s real estate market but many who have bought are selling up, especially those who bought to invest and hoped to make money out of what they thought would be a strong rental market.

Many are selling at a huge discount just to get out, according to one industry source.

‘Cyprus is not the place it was. Many expat owners are barely scraping a living and the fact that the title deed issue goes on and on despite a commitment from the Cyprus government to sort it out means that new owners are put off,’ she said.

They have not been re-assured by a recent statement Interior Minister, Neoclis Sylikiotis that property investment is much safer in Cyprus than anywhere else.