By Antonis Loizou
There are numerous high-quality homes around Cyprus for around €1.5-€5 mln (plus), whose main interest comes from the foreign market since by local standards this is a considerable amount for such an investment.
Approximately 60% of the Cyprus real estate demand comes from foreign buyers (i.e. non-EU countries) mainly comprising of Russia, Ukraine and to a lesser extent from China, a recently introduced market.
The rising economy of India and the recent problems in Hong Kong is another source of increasing demand be it at a very low level at this point in time.
The Cyprus investment scheme which requires a residential investment of €2 mln (+ another €150,000 for Governmental housing and innovative industries) seem to be quite attractive to the international market, relating to the securing of Cypriot passports.
Our favourable tax system, which in addition to other benefits reduces the income tax for very high salary earners/international employees by almost 50%, the booming shipping industry, tourism and other activities, have also turned the attention of international high-end residential demand to Cyprus.
We have some locals who earn unusual high amounts of money and which comprise of the more known businesspeople and some accountants, advocates, auditing firms and doctors, who are all in the local market for such a type of property.
Besides quality, location is a major criterion of choice, as is the plot size (around 1,500-3,000 sqm of gardens), high technology (smart homes) and facilities provided, such as swimming pools, large reception areas, cinema room, views and so on comprise the basic buyer’s criteria.
Favoured locations for the foreign market is mainly Limassol town/outskirts, as well as that of Paphos (to a lesser extent) and then Nicosia, with the bottom scale being the Famagusta and Larnaca districts.
High-end houses do not have a wide and ready demand, but the prices required as compared with the recently developed sky-scrapers apartments, which appear to have nowadays a ready market, are by comparison a better deal.
Nicosia has, by comparison to other areas, the lowest prices of such a standard, as opposed to comparative prices in the Limassol region being around 50% less.
Yet for the foreign buyer having sea views/being close to the beach is the main prerequisite for the price set up.
In general, Cyprus real estate, as compared to other countries and in addition to the acquisition cost, has low transfer fees-stamp duties and no property tax, no estate duty and even low Municipal taxes.
So, by comparison, ownership taxes are very low as is the VAT (5% for permanent residential units by the buyers – as compared with the 19% or 24% in other countries).
Unimportant as it may sound, the security of living (second lower crime rate in the EU) and the attraction offered by foreign language schools, colleges and universities, which are linked with mainly U.K. universities, is another reflection of the housing/family living attraction, as is the clean atmosphere and sunny weather for 300 days p.a.
For those who want to combine living here and business, there are low overhead costs by comparison, in terms of rents/cost of staff, as is the availability of a high-quality workforce.
Another major attraction is that English is widely spoken by Cypriots and especially professionals.
The short travel distances and the well-connected areas/towns through a motorway network with a maximum driving distance of one hour is another plus, as is the proximity of 4 international golf courses (another two golf courses pending), blue flag beaches, the availability of 3 marinas and 2 under development and the casino resort (Las Vegas type) now under development with a completion date in 2021.
Having acquired a home, living cost and eating out is very reasonable depending on the places you go.
Prices of food and drink are at least 50% less than in the tourist areas, whereas drinks prices are one of the lowest in Europe.
Experience out-of-town eating especially in small villages with the costs next to nothing. For the younger generation and those who feel young, entertainment of all sorts and sporting clubs are abundant.
This is the most attractive country for family life.