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14 June, 2024
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Local home buyers feel priced out in divided Cyprus

Cypriots apprehensive about housing where professionals on foreign income have more purchasing power


Cypriots on both sides of the divided island have been noticing real estate prices going up in recent years due to foreign buyers willing shell out more, with reports suggesting the trend is going nowhere but up.

According to business reports, Leptos Estates, a Greek Cypriot property development group, completed more than €7 million worth of sales to buyers from Middle Eastern countries.

Pantelis Leptos, co-President of Leptos Group, was cited by Schengen Visa News this week saying that Cyprus and Greece offered “a fantastic holiday home destination for foreign investors.”

But locals in Limassol, a southern town where many professionals live on foreign income, say home prices are expensive, with the city’s mayor saying many Russians, Ukrainians, and Israelis flock to the area.

The trend has also been reported in the northern part of the island, which is not recognized by other countries expect Turkey.

Locals in Limassol say home prices are expensive as many Russians, Ukrainians, and Israelis flock to the area, but the trend has also been reported in the northern part of the island

A televised report by AlphaNews Live this week showed that locals in the Turkish Cypriot north were apprehensive about foreigners being able to afford homes that used to be cheaper in the past.

The report showed people from countries such as Ukraine, Britain, and Iran, having bought homes in the north, where some lived and worked while others maintained a holiday home.

“Two years ago I bought my house for £40,000 but now it is more expensive. A studio at this moment would cost 1000,000,” a young professional said.

Another person, who lived abroad before returning to the island, reported concerns over quality of construction, adding that she feared contractors were known to cut corners to deliver projects quickly.

In the Greek Cypriot south, where a Permanent Residence program has replaced the country’s disgraced golden visa scheme, there are many foreign nationals who seek apartments with an ocean view in Limassol.

But Eleni Constantinidou, a pregnant woman who says she had her rental lease terminated by her landlord, told AFP last month that she was unable to find an affordable place in her home town, forcing her family to move back with her parents.

A typical rent for a beachfront apartment in Limassol used to be €400 back in 2016, according to Constantinidou, who said a two-bedroom apartment now would cost €1500 minimum.

Florent Gastine, a French real estate agent, told Euronews recently that “demand is huge” in Limassol, adding that buyers were coming mainly from the United States, Eastern Europe, but also Israel and even Asia.

Gastine credited Limassol’s “very central position” in Europe and the world, adding that it “allows clients to travel to Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East very easily.”

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides earlier this month broached the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem, where the two leaders had a chummy reunion.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, diplomatic sources said Christodoulides brought up the issue of Israeli tourists flying to the island and staying in hotels in the northern part, where displaced Greek Cypriots still own land and property, while also raising concerns over Israeli investment activities there.

Greek Cypriot Iakovos Hadjivarnava, who represents displaced residents from the northern town of Trikomo -renamed Yeni Iskele by Turkish Cypriots- says there are feeling of frustration among his constituents.

Hadjivarnava said he knew of a recent case where one of his constituents was approached to see if he would like to sell his property, adding that others have already sold their property.

“Of course we still have hopes of return, and I always say land ownership is not lost, even if something was built there illegally,” Hadjivarnava told AlphaNews Live, adding that sales that were not direct or not having gone through an Immovable Property Commission in the north remained unlawful.

Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  south  |  north  |  real estate  |  home buyer  |  foreign national  |  investor  |  Russia  |  Ukraine  |  Iran  |  Israel  |  United States  |  Cyprus Problem

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