Cyprus is a little wonder. It has the most gorgeous Mediterranean beaches, plus ancient history dripping from every rock and not to mention property in Cyprus is very reasonably priced. It has warm winter sun, as well as a bit of skiing. It has a long history of British influence and friendship, plus a rich Greek culture too. It has great nightlife for the younger crowd plus a strong network of more sedate pursuits for the many retired residents.
There are a lot of pluses to Cyprus, and the British are not the only ones to have noticed. It is an increasingly popular island for house hunters and surely has a bright future as a global vacation destination at the crossroads of East and West. Maybe not just holidays either – like Malta, Cyprus is attracting businesses and investment. Greek Cypriots are an energetic bunch: think of Peter Andre, Theo Paphitis, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet, you’ll probably fly there in one of his planes. Not bad for a country of just 800,000.
For many British holiday-home hunters and relocators, Cyprus fell off the radar following the financial crisis due to negative publicity (often justified) over miss-sold mortgages, dodgy developers and a problem getting title deeds. These problems have to a large extent been solved, and a new generation of us can move in and take advantage of the depressed Cypriot property prices. Prices fell by as much as 50 per cent between 2010 and 2015 according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). There are real bargains in those sundrenched hills with the stunning Mediterranean views!
Cyprus is 240 kilometres long and about 100 wide and a little smaller than Devon and Cornwall combined. It has been divided politically for decades, since a violent division of the island in 1974 that saw 200,000 Greek Cypriots leave their properties in the north. For this reason, few people are willing to buy property in the north for fear of title issues.
The southern part of Cyprus has the Troodos Mountains at the centre, leading down through oak, pine and cypress forests and rocky hills to the beaches. The most popular area for British buyers has traditionally been Paphos, in the south-west, and the villages around. Paphos is a rapidly-growing town that is increasingly popular for young families as well as the retired. It has an airport with direct, year-round flights to the UK.
Limassol is the second largest city (after the capital, Nicosia) and has been attracting international buyers to its superb new marina. Another famous place is Ayia Napa in the far south-east, once a byword for youngsters holiday excesses but considerably calmed down now.
There are serious moves to heal this divided country now, as it looks to a bright new future.
As Northern Cyprus is under a different government authority to the rest of the island, there are clearly different processes applicable in the Northern (“Turkish”) and Southern (“Greek”) areas. These remarks are primarily applicable to the Greek area.
Group purchase is not a problem: offshore companies can be used, in which case there are no exchange controls or limits on repatriation of funds. In addition, no land registry fees need be paid either. However foreigners are not allowed to own more than one plot of land, up to about 2/3 acre or 2650 sq. m.
Fees are typically around 10% of the purchase price and it is advisable to use a local lawyer. The basic purchase process is based on British law with a non-binding initial contract, while various formalities and title searches are carried out. Foreign currency must be imported.
Foreign owners are not permitted by law to let property (although many currently do!). There are a number of income tax aspects which may be beneficial to property purchasers, but individual specialist advice is obviously needed in each case.
Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate, with long dry summers from mid–May to mid–October, and mild winters from December to February, which are separated by short autumn and spring seasons.
Summer is a season of high temperatures with cloudless skies, but the sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas. Isolated thunder showers are possible mainly over the mountains during early afternoons.
Winters are mild with rain and snow on Troodos Mountains (usually starting before Christmas).
The island enjoys abundant sunshine, and even in December and January, there is an average of six hours of bright sunshine per day, whilst over the six ‘summer’ months, there is an average of 11.5 hours of bright sunshine per day.
Temperatures and Weather Conditions
Daily temperatures during the hottest months of July and August range between 30° C on the central plain, and 24° C on the Troodos Mountains. The average maximum temperatures for these two months range between 38° C and 27° C. In January, the coolest month, the indicative daily temperature is 10° C on the central plain, and 3° C on the higher parts of the Troodos Mountains, while the average minimum temperatures are 5° C and 0° C.
The temperature in the open sea hovers above 22° C from June to November, climbing to 27° C in August. Even during the three coolest months of January to March, average sea temperature are an acceptable 16° or 17° C. Near the coast, the temperature of water three or four metres deep is similar to that of the open sea, ranging from 15° to 17°C in February and from 23° to 28° C in August. There are no significant daily fluctuations in sea water temperatures, except in very shallow waters less than one metre deep.
Price-wise, a three-bedroom villa with a pool in an exclusive gated development in Pervolia will cost in the region of €550,000. A similar-sized villa in Peyia will be nearer the €300,000 mark.
Townhouses are a great alternative to villas and offer good living space with less land to worry about. Outside space usually incorporates a decent terrace and roof top area. For a two-bedroom townhouse in Kato Paphos with communal pool close to amenities expect to pay around €130,000.
Single story bungalows are a popular choice amongst retiring expats. A three-bedroom detached bungalow in Pissouri with a private pool averages €250,000.
In the more rural centre of Cyprus, you’re more likely to find stone village houses and farmhouses. Those in need of renovation will cost anything from €15,000 to €70,000. But for a habitable dwelling that has been refurbished or in need of minimal renovation, expect to pay between €60,000 and €200,000.
The majority of developments will offer apartments of varying sizes, purpose-built for the holiday market. With communal facilities such as swimming pools and gardens and shared maintenance costs, they are extremely popular among Brits.
The downsides are mainly ‘other people’ – crowded during the holiday seasons and close proximity to neighbours – but on the flipside, they do offer a ready-made community.
Prices of apartments will vary depending on location but, as a guide, a new two-bedroom in Coral Bay with sea and mountain views can be found for just €75,000. The same apartment in a popular resort in Paphos however, will be nearer the €300,000 mark.
A resort property on a leisure complex, such as golf, is something else to consider. But you don’t have to play the sport to enjoy the stunning views and excellent facilities associated with these high-end developments. And they represent good investment potential too. A two-bedroom ‘junior’ villa in a prime position on a resort such as Aphrodite Hills, will cost in the region of €500,000.