Although Cyprus is considered a safe country and perhaps the safest in the EU, the real estate market has begun to pay increased attention to security, which increases the value of a “safe” property.
Cyprus has, according to Interpol, only 5% of the crime rate of the UK, 6% of Germany and 14% of Spain.
Despite this, crime in Cyprus is on the rise (as in other countries) and has started worrying homeowners.
Both the problem of drugs, rising unemployment leading to petty thefts, and the creation of some ghettos impact crime, which in this case refers to the security of a residence.
This issue is particularly noticeable for holiday homes that remain vacant for a considerable time.
Unfortunately, for some criminals, they are a challenge or open invitation that seems difficult for them to resist.
The criminality of an area directly affects the prices of real estate.
For this reason, I note the area of Kato Paphos, where there is a disproportionately large gathering of foreign workers, Limassol’s (tourist area of the clubs) Yermasoyia and partly Ayia Napa.
On an equivalent basis, prices in these areas are about 50% lower than similar units in nearby but safer areas.
Thus, in the “Pontian area” in Paphos, the prices are (for a two-room apartment) no more than €850/sqm, compared to €1,500/sqm, almost 500 metres away.
Similarly, areas that do not have local crime, but are ‘imported’ periodically according to events, such as hooligans roaming after football games in the Tsirion stadium area in Limassol, have prevented market interest in the immediate area, with corresponding effects on local values.
Another more recent phenomenon is the existence of crime in some refugee housing settlements, which seem to be “ruled” by various youth criminal elements and where residents live in a state of siege, as the Bronx area of New York once was.
The elderly, due to weakness, feel more insecure and are thus more prone to such situations.
This is especially so when it comes to elderly foreigners, who, in such cases, do not know where to turn for help and support (our police response is not what it should be).
Focusing on the area of Famagusta with the empty holiday homes for months, the level of theft is remarkable.
Stolen items consist of low-cost and valueless items, such as the entrance mat, garden lamps, air conditioner compressors, and recently even cheap ceramic pots (€5 each) have been stolen.
Of course, there are more “profitable” thefts, such as kitchen items and televisions.
For this reason and based on our experience, we recommend the following basic measures to protect your property.
- Use of a security system – The installation cost is around €1,000/house (apartments around €600) with a direct connection to the security company. It is placed on your phone.
- Double Glazing – In addition to the hot/cold issue, double glazing makes it even more difficult for would-be thieves, and security locks on windows are also important. The additional cost for a residence is around €2,000.
- External Doors – At least on the ground floor with the shutters, they make entry more difficult – Cost around €3,500.
- Security entrance door – Imported doors available with various exterior finishes with metal frames and multi-faceted lock – Total additional cost €
- Electric entrance gate – Cost around €2,200 (in the case of a residence with a garden or complexes with a private road).
- Light Sensors – Lights that turn on at night depending on someone passing by. It increases power consumption and can be annoying when cats pass by, but it’s worth the effort. Cost around € According to the police, the recommendation is to light up the dark corners.
- In addition, you also need to use a good insurance company, both for theft and malicious damage. Finally, carefully review the insurance policy terms when the home is unoccupied (there is a special condition where the residence is considered uninsured if it is not inhabited for a continuous period of more than three months).
Without panicking, the new trends now are also the use of bulletproof glass.
Not so much because someone will shoot them, but because it is very difficult for someone to break and gain entry.
Cameras are also in increasing demand, and there are also fake ones to deter crime.
The cost of increased security may be around €5,000-10,000 for a residence, depending on what you adopt.
Unfortunately, while we took security in Cyprus for granted, the new trends in the globalisation caused us to reach the stage we are.
We now even have the neighbourhood police, which helps.
By Antonis Loizou FRICS – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers