Real estate sales recorded a sharp 33% drop in March, as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on the Cyprus property market.
Data released by the land registry, shows Limassol and Paphos, which thrived due to the construction of luxury properties aimed at foreign investors, have taken the biggest blow.
According to the data, which also include March when the country went on lockdown, the decrease in sales amounted to 33% with sales documents dropping to 510 from 766 in March 2019.
Property sales in Limassol dropped by 31%, while Paphos saw a reduction of 28%, a 5% decrease was also recorded in the Famagusta district.
In contrast, the largest increase of 6% was recorded in Nicosia, followed by Larnaca with an increase of 4%.
Based on the land registry’s data, the biggest damage was delivered with a sharp drop in foreign investor interest, which reduced significantly in March.
Sales to foreigners dropped to 212 units compared to the 368 in March 2019, a decrease of 42.4%.
During the three-month period, January-March, real estate sales in Cyprus amounted to 1991 compared to 2366 last year, a decrease of 16%.
Although the annual decline is relatively steep, the negative picture is mitigated by the high base of 2019, which arose due to the submission of documents before the introduction of stricter criteria for granting citizenship to foreign investors.
Some 2129 properties were sold in the same period in 2018.
In 2019, real estate sales increased by 12% compared to the previous year, reaching 10,366 from 9,242 in 2018.
Land registry data follows the Eurostat report showing prices of residential properties in Cyprus have fallen.
House prices during the fourth quarter of 2019 decreased by 3.7% compared to the third quarter and by 4.8% on an annual basis.