For the shrewd and careful investor, investing in Cyprus property is one of immense potential. There are some important pitfalls to be avoided but, with the help of the right investment house to carry out the essential due diligence and to identify the best and safest deals, Cyprus property is more than capable of justifying its status as one of Britain’s favourite property investment destinations.
For Britons and South Africans in particular, the country is as welcoming as it is financially appealing. English is widely spoken – it appears on road signs and public notices almost everywhere – and vehicles drive on the left, making it all feel extremely comforting and familiar.
More generally, it is a perennially popular haven for tourists, offering as it does exceptionally warm temperatures, cool offshore breezes and an eight month holiday season that lasts from April to November. Combine the exceptional weather and breathtaking coastlines with modern attractions, great food, rich heritage and culture, and it’s easy to see why Cyprus remains so popular. Indeed, at a time when many other European destinations have seen a decline in tourism, the Cypriot market has seen a marked resurgence. In April 2011, for example, the country received nearly 200,000 tourist visitors, representing a massive 43% increase on the same time last year.
Cyprus therefore finds itself in an unusual position. Visitors are flocking to the island in preference to many other Mediterranean destinations and the country’s holiday rental sector inevitably stands to benefit, but property prices are still low and market activity is only slowly beginning to revive.
Partly, this slow pace of change may be due to an understandable level of caution. The Cyprus property market has suffered hits to its reputation in recent years as a result of complex title deed arrangements and convoluted bureaucracy, both of which have helped to underscore the impression that the Cyprus property market is best left to the experts.
But therein lies a key opportunity. The support of an experienced property investment house is advisable for this market, but those who are prepared to take advantage of it will find themselves in a particularly strong position. The very fact that other potential investors have been deterred by legal or financial complexities has helped to suppress price competition, so properties are still very affordable and, many would argue, substantially below their natural market values. With tourism in the ascendency and a clear imbalance between supply and demand, conditions are becoming ever more favourable for investors with an eye for longer term gains.
Moreover, tourism is only one of a number of powerful market forces that are now coming into alignment in Cyprus. One of these is a thriving and steadily expanding financial services sector, which is prompting a sizeable influx of overseas professionals and simultaneously building up Cyprus’ own population of affluent executives. In and of itself, this would be a significant driver of new demand for quality accommodation but it coincides with an even newer development that could utterly revolutionise the country’s economy and, thus, the entire Cyprus property market.
That development is the discovery of substantial gas and oil reserves.
The short term implications for the Cyprus property market include the probable influx of a host of geologists, surveyors, technical advisers and many other professionals, all of whom will require suitable accommodation. Accordingly, the property rental market should see a pronounced improvement and property values should follow in its wake.
For the present, property values remain low but the country is entering a pivotal stage in its economic development. The investment opportunities that Cyprus property presents will not go unnoticed forever.
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