Property sales in Cyprus are edging upwards, according to the latest official figures to be published but foreign buyers are still staying away from the Mediterranean island that was once one of the most popular destinations for overseas investors.
Sales climbed 37% in March compared with the same month in 2009, according to the figures from the Department of Lands and Surveys. And during the first three months of the year they were up 31%.
Although overall sales are up, foreign buyers are still not returning although some have bought in Famagusta and Nicosia, the capital, the key tourist areas of Paphos, Larnaca and Limassol remain bereft of overseas buyers.
However, sales in Nicosia are likely to be business acquisitions as Nicosia is not a destination favoured by tourists and holidaymakers. But agents in Paphos and Limassol have reported increased interest although that is not translating into sales at present.
The real estate industry in Cyprus is hoping that the long awaited changes to planning and title deed legislation will help restore investor confidence in the market.
The Council of Ministers last week approved six bills concerning reforms to the legal framework governing building permits and the issue of title deeds. An estimated 130,000 properties in Cyprus are currently without title deeds.
Meanwhile some property developers are developing new marketing strategies in the hope of attracting a more up-market overseas buyers. Luxury developments are to be aimed at wealthier buyers in the Middle East rather than bargain hunters from the UK and Ireland.
Developer Aristo confirmed it is launching a luxury range of properties likely to be marketed through agents in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Its other properties are aimed at middle to low end buyers from the UK, Scandinavia and central Europe.
‘We felt we needed to rebrand and categorise our developments to identify specific marketing strategies for each type of property. They have different clientele and we need to use different marketing channels,’ said group marketing manager Panayiotis Michaelides.