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COVID19: Strange side-effects for real estate

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There are side-effects for real estate in Cyprus due to the coronavirus, the closing of airports and the expected reduction of income by the locals.

Here is some of our experience over the last 20 days.

  • Real estate owners, a large percentage, refuse visits of potential buyers to their units, due to their concern that the visitors/prospective buyers may pass on to them the virus (maybe with a justification). “Come later” is the standard answer.
  • On a visit to a Paphos house for sale, our foreign client just so happened to sneeze (most unfortunate) nothing to do with the virus. That was it, the owner indicated to us quite politely to leave.
  • Prior to the inspection, we make sure that disinfectants are placed in the common use areas, as well as paper towels in toilets etc, to convince the potential buyer that the property is well protected from the virus.
  • An Iranian owner has allowed us to inspect his property, having literally locked the whole family in one of the bedrooms, placing an inhouse quarantine – most odd.
  • A Dutch buyer who was interested to acquire a house (€3 mln) at Paralimni, wanted to test the sea temperature and we took him to the beach for the purpose, but noticing that 2-3 people were in the sea 30-40 metres, away, he refused to enter the water, due to the fear of the virus. Our salesperson put on his swimming costume and went to the sea showing him that there was no problem.  He was not convinced (we take our hat off to our sales chap).
  • It appears that the proximity of online supermarkets and delivery/take away is a prerequisite for a chosen location to reside. Our Russian client demanded and got through us an online supermarket/vegetable connection, but in addition, he demanded that the products (a certain list) should be translated in the Russian language (thanks to the cooperative supermarket we have by-passed this obstacle (be it an understandable requirement).
  • A Cypriot potential unit buyer asked that when the deal was “concluded” we should provide at our cost the fumigation of the unit and with a certificate to follow (a prerequisite to the purchase).
  • A Chinese potential buyer insisted that we provide him with a “health” certificate so he can visit Cyprus. Notwithstanding our explanations that these certificates have a duration of only 4 days and not understanding that the airports are closed, he is still insistent (lack of the English language does not help).
  • A sporty chap whom we recently sold a luxurious house at Penhill next to Athalassa park, is now accusing us of misleading him because he cannot jog in the park. Notwithstanding our explanations, he is not convinced to wait.
  • Fake news is everywhere most of which come from competitors accusing one another. You must have seen the fake news report, about a good quality supermarket and a pharmacy at Laxia published on the internet that they are affected by the virus (the case has been reported to the Police).  So, it will not surprise us to see even our own firm being accused on the subject that “we do not protect our clients”.  Yes, you can report the matter to the Police.

These and others are some of the side-effects of the prevailing situation.  It is a fact that the Cyprus real estate market is taking a hit and depending on the duration of the prevailing crisis, there will be a reduction of demand/sales prices, much to the worries of the developers/owners and of course the financiers.

Recent reports on a Hong-Kong project, run into sales trouble, due to the fall in demand and only with the reduction of the sales price by 20% the project has attracted some interest.

We do not suggest at this point that Cyprus real estate has the same (20%) reduction, save certain overpriced projects, which are geared towards the foreign market high-end demand.

It is early days to express an opinion on the effects of the virus, but certainly prices “are” reduced the extent of which will depend on the duration (some experts say the virus will go away within the year and others over the next year, but nobody knows).

Be that as it may, a Czech buyer who has been informed of thefts even when people are in their house (the Ayia Napa Mafia shooting in addition) notwithstanding he desires to live in Cyprus but was worried about security.

Having visited our house which hosts 3 Alsatian Czech dogs, beautiful and thoroughbred, he was very impressed.  We only needed two, so one (Styllis) we offered to lend him for a period of 3 months, whereas our other (Mitsos) we donated to the Civil Defence force for search and rescue, narcotics etc.

Who said that an estate agent’s job is easy?