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Property sales in Cyprus continue to decline severely

The latest figures to be published by the Cyprus Land Registry figures show that the number of contracts for the sale of property fell by almost 55% in April 2009 compared with last.

This is on top of a 65% fall in January, February and March of this year compared to the same periods in 2008. There is concern about a severe fall in the number of foreign property investors.

The areas most hit by the decline are Paphos, Larnaca and Famagusta, which are highly dependent on sales to overseas buyers. However, Nicosia and Limassol have also been affected by falling real estate sales.

But the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association said that if government introduces measures to deal with the property crisis it will come through as it has during four similar crises in its 32 year history.

'Although in the first four months of 2009 sales to foreign investors have plummeted 80% and to locals by around 60%, the sector will come out of the crisis sometime in 2010,' said president Lakis Tofarides.

The association is calling for measures to reduce unemployment, state intervention to boost liquidity and lower bank interest rates.

However, Nicos Kelepeshis, the head of the Federation of Associations of Building Contractors, is less optimistic. He warned that if the world economic crisis continues for much longer it will slow down the Cyprus economy with land developing and tourism affected the most.

Meanwhile Interior Minister Neocles Sylikiotis assured the industry that land developing and building sectors were a top priority for the government and promised that measures would be put forward.