Cyprus has long been a favorite international vacation destination. And, as with most popular vacation spots, the Cyprus real estate market benefited from this popularity. Homes, condominiums and land parcels have been purchased by visitors over the years, creating a vibrant real estate market. However, recently things haven't been as upbeat. It seems there's been some negative international press about title deed problems in Cyprus.
Word has spread that buyers are having problems getting legal title deeds to purchased properties, and that the government isn't helping them to remedy the situation via the courts or legislation. One source places the decline in real estate purchases by non-Cypriots the first nine months of 2009 at 76% lower than in the same time period in 2008. The approximate numbers are 1363 sales in 2009 first three quarters versus 5600 in that time period last year. The districts of Cyprus suffering most from the drop in foreign demand are Larnaca, where property sales are down 83%, and Limassol, where sales have fallen by 79%.
The CyprusTitleDeeds.org website has several articles disputing the information circulating in the media. The Republic of Cyprus Minister of the Interior, Mr. Neoclis Sylikiotis, stated in July of this year that there is no real truth to the information in the international media. Though there have been some problems with buyers not receiving valid title deeds, his office states that there are few incidences of these situations ever getting to court. Possibly the buyers and sellers manage to resolve the issues, and many are simply due to a failure in due diligence by the buyers.
It is imperative in the opinion of many in government and the real estate business in Cyprus that buyers not only work with a reputable real estate agency, but also retain legal representation experienced in real estate law in Cyprus. It seems that "caveat emptor" applies, and buyers who aren't prepared or educated in this market should make sure that they hire someone who is.
And, actions are being taken by the government, as indicated in this government statement:
"Our policy aims to boost the property market in Cyprus, introducing effective and comprehensive practices for solving this problem. Within this context, the Ministry of the Interior has already completed the drafting for the amendment of four legislations concerning property registration and building permission procedures. The amendment of the four legislations primarily aims to address the current full dependency of the procedure for issuing title deeds of separate housing units in comprehensive housing projects from the will and initiative of the owner-seller."
Prospective international buyers are watching these initiatives. Real estate professionals and the government are working together to move back in the direction of enthusiastic buying of Cyprus vacation real estate.
By www.holprop.com (October 13, 2009)
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