Property sales jump 25%

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Real estate sales increased by 25% in the 11 months to November, compared to the same period of 2020, with Nicosia transactions exceeding pre-coronavirus levels.

Compared to the first 11 months of 2019, total real estate sales decreased 4%, closing the performance gap.

According to the data published by the Land Registry Department and compiled by the website Stockwatch, the number of sales documents submitted totalled 9063 in the period January – November, from 7231 in the same period last year and 9456 in 2019.

The increase is partially attributed to last year’s low base due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions that significantly reduced economic activity, but also the operation of the land registry.

KPMG partner Tassos Yiasemides told Stockwatch the real estate sector is adapting to the new data created by the strengthened domestic demand and the change in preference from foreign buyers.

“People from countries such as Russia, Israel and Germany are particularly interested in investing in real estate, while buyers from the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries are gradually returning.

“According to the data concerning the issuance of building permits, the interest is in smaller residential properties, but also commercial spaces with satisfactory returns.

“The fact that a negative interest rate is imposed on deposits, in combination with interest rate subsidy programs by the government, strengthens lending as shown by the data of the central bank for the purchase of real estate.”

In terms of real estate sales by district, Nicosia shows the largest increase both compared to last year and to 2019.

In the first 11 months, 2517 sales documents were submitted in Nicosia, up from 1877 last year and 1818 in 2019.

Nicosia sales recorded an increase of 34% compared to last year and up 38% on 2019.

Property sales rose in all other districts compared to 2020.

But compared to 2019, the biggest drop of 35% occurred in Paphos, while a decrease of 11% was recorded in Limassol.

As the Central Bank pointed out in its latest bulletin on property prices, Cypriots are more interested in smaller homes and centrally-located apartments.

Demand for real estate by foreign investors shows signs of stabilisation, as reflected in the data on sales documents.

In 2020, sales to foreign buyers fell to their lowest point since 2016 at 7968 units compared to 10366 in 2019, recording an annual decrease of 23.1%.