The impressive growth in Cyprus property sales continued in March with the number of properties sold rising in all districts (with the exception of Famagusta) according to the Department of Lands and Surveys.

THE NUMBER of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across the Republic of Cyprus during March 2018 rose 23 per cent compared to March 2017 according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys. This follows increases of 46% in February, 64% in January and 36% in December. During March a total of 768 contracts or the sale of residential and commercial properties and land (building plots and fields) were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus, compared with the 626 deposited in March 2017. The figures show a continuing improvement in the economic conditions, coupled with government measures (such as the citizenship by investment scheme) – and although banks remained burdened with very high levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) they are now in a better position to grant loans to those buying property. Of the 768 contracts deposited, 431 (49%) were for properties purchased by Cypriots, while the remaining 337 (51%) were for properties purchased by non-Cypriots. Although sales in Famagusta remained the same as last year, they increased in all the other districts. In percentage terms Nicosia led the way with sales rising by 59% followed by Limassol, where sales rose by 35%. Meanwhile sales in Paphos and Larnaca rose by 6% and 3% respectively.

During the first quarter of 2018 the number of contracts for the sale of property deposited at Land Registry offices has risen 41% to 2,129 compared to the 1,505 deposited during the first quarter of 2017. The highest rise of 75%, was recorded in Famagusta, followed by Nicosia (the capital) with a 64% increase. Rises of 47%, 45% and 4% were recorded in Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca respectively. Domestic property sales Sales of property to the domestic market in March were disappointing, falling by 2% compared to March 2017. Although sales in Nicosia and Limassol rose by 46% and 13% respectively, they fell by 48% in Paphos, 25% in Famagusta and 21% in Larnaca.

During the first quarter of 2018, property sales to the domestic market have fallen 6% compared with the first quarter of 2017. Over the first quarter of the year Limassol is the most popular district achieving 458 sales followed by Nicosia with 314, Larnaca with 171, Paphos with 69 and Famagusta with just 33 sales. Sales to the overseas market For the first time that I can recall, the number property sales to the overseas market during March exceeded the number of domestic sales, accounting for 51% of total sales. But it is still unclear how the Department of Lands & Surveys has improved the methodology it uses to calculate the figures; most annoying! The Land Registry figures reveal that a total of 337 sale contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots during March 2018. Of those 113 were deposited by EU nationals and the remaining 224 by non-EU nationals, but we cannot quantify the number of non-EU citizens who bought property with a view to applying for citizenship. Paphos recorded the largest number of overseas sales at 129. Limassol recorded 83, Larnaca 49, while Nicosia and Famagusta each recorded 22 sales.

During the first quarter of 2018, a total of 1,084 properties have been bought by overseas buyers. Paphos remains the most popular spot for non-Cypriot buyers with sales reaching 430. Limassol is in second place with 337, followed by Larnaca with 156, Famagusta with 107 and Nicosia with 54.

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