Buying an older apartment

1 min read

As modern apartments are experiencing an increase in values in Cyprus, there is growing interest for the older units as well.

If an older apartment or building is maintained at an acceptable condition and depending on the need for repair of such units compared to new units, you might conclude that the older apartments have the upper hand.

There is a noticeable difference between new and older apartment values and depending on the quality of the apartment, the difference could be large.

Older apartments have limited facilities and including the lack of parking and storage, whereas the collection of the common expenses could be a problem, for both older and new units.  The lack of double glazing, the mounting of the non-payment of the common expenses and the various acts of crime, some involving neighbours bickering over parking spaces, are facts to be considered.

Some of these differences can be serious.

The effectiveness of the building’s management committee is of paramount importance for the smooth operation of the project, whereas the recent introduction of the Airbnb-listed units with short-term tourists hosting all night parties, is an added cause of concern.

In one case, with a Larnaca apartment where the neighbour complained about the nuisance, he had his car torched.

Since you cannot find out about the mismanagement of a project before buying, this is something worth investigating prior to a purchase.

It would be a good idea to meet and speak to 3-4 of the local residents in order to ascertain any latent problems that the building or project may have. Regrettably, with the lack of a proper legal framework to manage the common areas and facilities of a building, I suggest that a willing buyer considers interviewing some of the residents in order to ascertain any problem that are not evident.

Looking at the common expenses for the older and newer apartments [the latter with much higher charges] is another fact to consider, since common expenses for the more modern units create increases payments for common expenses.


Building repairs

What will happen if the elevator of a 20 level building is breaking down, be it in addition that there I no sinking fund on how and when it will be repaired?  Since the prevailing common expenses for a 3bed apartment [older units  with basic facilities] comes to around EUR 40-50 p.m., how will the occupants pay the increased expenses of the more modern units?

We must also consider that newer apartments are acquired primarily by foreign buyers (as is the case of the investment-for-passports scheme).

My approach would be to choose apartments that are 10-20 years old, but in good condition, within the town centres which in general show a return of 5%, whereas the more expensive ones show a much lower return (also considering the VAT of 19%).

As circumstances stand at present comparing new for old units is not an easy task.