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Buying property in Cyprus
Starting to think of buying property in Cyprus and you cannot help but think about that classic and fairly high, European level standard of living that is sure to please you and your family. Cyprus is the only Eastern Mediterranean destination that offers a quality of life to which most Britons are accustomed," said Pauline Gallagher of Cyprus-specialist UK-based agents Halcyon Properties, "With its good infrastructure, high-quality hospitals, excellent shopping and where English is widely spoken." On an island that is now our fifth most popular foreign destination; many ex-pats have been attracted by the 300-odd days of sunshine annually and the island’s low flat tax rate for non-Cypriot residents of just five per cent. The low cost of living is an added bonus that reportedly has encouraged more than 60,000 Britons to buy a second home in Cyprus, where many have bought on newer developments. "The majority of property is relatively new with most housing stock being under 20 years old," said Gallagher, "Although the ‘old walled area’ of Nicosia, with its traditional stone houses, is becoming popular with those looking for renovation projects." In the tourist resort of Paphos, on the Cyprus island’s west coast, an average two-bedroom apartment costs CY£67,000, a two-bedroom holiday villa CY£130,000, and a three-bedroom house from CY£185,000.
In Larnaca, a town becoming increasingly popular with Britons due to keen pricing, a two-bed apartment costs from CY£42,000, and a two-bedroom holiday villa from CY£97,000, an increase on the previous year. "Prices have gone up rapidly in the last few years with increases of 20 per cent a year not an exaggeration," said Marius Vassiliou, manager of Ectoras Developers, "Some people who bought a few years ago have seen the value of their property double." Prices look set to continue to rise too, fuelled by the investment opportunities that joining the EU will bring by the opening up of the island’s previously closed ‘buy to let’ market. "The rule of thumb for investors is to buy a two-bedroom property because they let, and sell, the easiest," explained Peter Katsantonis of real estate agents Leptos UK, "If you can afford it, buy a place with its own pool and as near to the sea, town, nightlife and amenities as possible as this will again be attractive to tenants." Once an offer is made on a property, it is normal to pay a deposit of between CY£1,000 and CY£2,000 to reserve the property.
Upon signing the contract the buyer pays 20-30 per cent of the value of the property, and the balance thereafter. With the joining of the EU, certain property ownership restrictions currently in place will be relaxed. At present, however, a non-Cypriot is: permitted to buy for personal use a house or piece of land up to 2,675 sq m, not allowed to let the property for personal gain. When buying property in Cyprus you should know the basic document requirements that you should process before delving into a business property deal. First thing is the Application to the Counsel of Ministers, this should be submitted To be submitted through the relevant District Officer and the Minister of the Interior with details of the applicant and his financial standing, the property, the Owner, the sales contract and the terms of payment, the type of purchase. An Application to the Central Bank for confirmation of importation of foreign exchange for the purchase that should be submitted together with Confirmation from the Commercial Bank that the foreign exchange for the purchase was imported. Always make sure that after paying the full payment of the property that the Application to transfer registration of ownership has already been fully processed and accomplished. This Application should be personally submitted to the District Lands Office together with the purchaser’s identity card or passport number, the Title Deed, copy of the Council Ministers approval, confirmation from the Central Bank re importation of foreign exchange, proof of payment of all property and other sundry town taxes to date. Take not that the Purchaser and Seller may give specific Powers of Attorney to a third party to attend and affect transfer on their behalf.
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