Eternally popular, Cyprus' appeal has only been further enhanced by its adoption of the euro, but how has it affected property prices? Are there still bargains?
The Cyprus property boom has continued its upward surge since the turn of the millennium. But while investors during this period have been rewarded by soaring sale values, there remains a surprisingly wide range of cheap properties in Cyprus for buyers on a budget.
Litsa Chrysostomou, marketing director at BuySell Real Estate comments: "The average price of property for sale in Cyprus is approximately £150,900. This is not to say you still can't buy Cyprus property for £80,000 or under, as we currently have numerous properties for sale starting from around £37,880 on our website."
Studio apartments naturally make up the most prolific bank of properties available in the £80,000 or less price bracket, with the majority of these being featured in the re-sale market; the east coast in particular offers lower property prices than its western coastal counterparts.
Through Sold on Cyprus, a studio apartment in the heart of the famed party town Ayia Napa boasts a veranda, air conditioning and communal pool. Constructed in 1998, but still offering a distinctly modern style, the re-sale price of £48,849 makes for a wonderful holiday home deal.
By comparison, a newly finished studio with parking and communal pool that is only five minutes from the beach, a 15 minute drive from the centre of Larnaca, in striking distance of the village amenities of Kiti and three kilometres from a proposed golf course, provides the ultimate appeal for holiday rental, with a re-sale tag of £57,516, again through Sold on Cyprus.
Heading inland, the capital Nicosia naturally delivers higher property values, though by choosing to buy property in the suburbs it's still possible to snap up a bargain.
For instance, a modern development completed in May 2006 in Latsia on the capital's outskirts is ideal for permanent living, since shops, banks, schools and the new hospital are all within a five minute drive, the motorway is nearby and the university only a ten minute walk. Built to the highest European standards, the Latsia development includes a lift, disabled access and allocated parking. Consisting of 15 studios, one, two, and three bedroom apartments on three levels, studios cost a mere £54,799 through Alexanders.
Back to the coast and heading west, Paphos is one of the most prosperous settings for British property buyers, making the numbers of properties at £80,000 or less a very pleasant find, especially in the new build market.
Due for completion in April 2009, Orange Tree's new project Pafos Riviera is conveniently situated in the prime investment area of Universal, at the heart of the tourist district. The complex comprises eight blocks of studios, one and two bedroom apartments surrounded by an established green park. Studio apartments are priced at £80,000, with attractive rental potential created by luxurious communal facilities including three kidney shaped swimming pools with a winding lazy river nestled in the heart of the project, alongside an indoor Jacuzzi and sauna, changing facilities and fully equipped fitness room, a children's playground, bowling green and club house.
Again, drawing in the holiday crowd, Irene Heights in Paphos is in close proximity to shops, bars and restaurants, and is well served by public transport. This development of modern apartments offers the ideal bargain for a pied-a-terre in the sun; with a one bedroom apartment through Parador Properties setting you back just £72,080, including private parking.
The outskirts of Paphos also offer a range of inexpensive studios, despite the suburbs having gained tremendous popularity in recent years. The staggeringly low purchase price of £48,732 will put you in the line for a studio pad in the hillside village of Peyia, a 15 minute drive from Paphos. Available through BuySell Real Estate, the property boasts double glazing and provisions for air conditioning, with all apartments accessed by elevators, sharing a communal pool and carport. As one of the few remaining spots within walking distance from the village centre, the development is perfect for permanent living, while unobstructed views of the popular tourist hotspot, Coral Bay - which is just a five minute drive away - attract excellent holiday rental. Built in two stages, phase A will comprise five two and three bedroom villas, with phase B consisting of 18 studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments.
If a scenic location ranks high on your agenda, look no further than the north west tip of the island. This region has long been a favoured holiday haunt, both for Nicosians seeking a country escape and British property buyers desiring a taste of old Cyprus. Situated in a prime location on the southern edge of Polis, Evagoras Gardens is a carefully designed, aesthetically pleasing development comprising seven apartment blocks with communal pool and private landscaped gardens. One, two and three bedroom apartments are available through Parador Properties, with prices for a one bedroom apartment starting at £80,000.
The sleepy outskirts of Polis are equally appealing for property buyers on a budget, with the traditional village of Prodromi being a prime example. The village contains its own collection of shops and restaurants, while Polis and Latchi marina are just a five minute drive, as are this pretty area's blue flag beaches. Through Parker Barnes, £79,716 currently buys a one bedroom townhouse for re-sale within an established complex with mature landscaped gardens and communal swimming pool, or £80,000 will get you a more modern, one bedroom re-sale apartment with communal pool.
The wealth of bargains is testament to the fact that Cyprus remains a formidable buying hotspot for budget property, with particular incentives for British property investors.
Martin Pearce, the British sales director for Aristo Developers states: "With Cyprus joining the euro currency zone in January 2008, local interest rates have been reduced from the slightly higher rates previously charged on borrowings in Cyprus pounds, and euro interest rates are lower than sterling.
"Coupled with the loosening of Central Bank lending restrictions, this makes Cyprus a cheaper and easier place to borrow than it was last year."
Chairman of Aristo, Theodoros Aristodemou, says that there are new lending restrictions for property buyers, meaning that in order to obtain a loan in Cyprus, buyers must make a minimum contribution of 20 per cent for a first property purchase (to be used as main residence), and a 30 per cent contribution for all other cases (for non-residents and for investment purposes).
The good news for bargain hunters doesn't stop at just studios and one bedroom properties; the idyllic prospect of owning a slice of island history is also an affordable prospect. Proving that character-filled properties needn't entail a hefty renovation project, a fully converted traditional stone built chapel can be snapped up for £80,000 through Parker Barnes. Occupying a lofty position in the hillside village of Peristerona just 10 minutes from Polis, the tardis-like property comprises one bedroom, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom, and comes fully furnished for immediate occupancy. Alternatively, for those willing to put in some hard renovation graft, it's possible to take possession of a much larger property.
For instance, BuySell is currently offering a three bedroom, two bathroom property built in 1850, located in the village of Lofou, 15 minutes from the island's second largest city, Limassol. Though the asking price of £95,251 is slightly above the £80,000 limit, buying this property will reap significant saving funds further down the line, since the listed building is under a preservation order to be restored, with the government offering a £54,414 grant to pay for the work needed. Even more appealing for the future renovation, the property contains a basement with its own access from the road and has the necessary permission to be converted into a habitable space, with existing furniture, including many original pieces, included in the price.
Similarly spacious properties, both new build and fully renovated, are far more difficult to source with an £80,000 budget. Indeed there are many who believe that for optimum investment rewards, property buyers should look at a wider range of aspects than the initial purchasing price.
Andreas Ioannou, managing director of Alpha Panareti Public, says: "Our experience shows that cheap properties for sale are available now, and will be available in the future. But such property is not always the best solution. Buying a property overseas is a serious financial decision and property buyers should bear in mind certain key criteria in choosing the most suitable property.
"I believe that in Cyprus the inexpensive properties will become in lesser demand as property buyers realise the future investment potential of their purchase. Clients are now realising that cheap Cyprus property offers far greater future rewards than Britain, and are therefore not only looking at the purchase price, but prime location, quality of construction, architectural excellence, mortgage schemes, re-sale potential and much more in order to capitalise in the most productive way."
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