These are exciting times for Cyprus. The island’s rejuvenation continues into the spring of 2018 with good news on the economic and homes fronts. Property news in Cyprus includes exciting new waterfront developments. One potential new arrival, however, is making the locals distinctly nervous!
Property News in Cyprus
Marinas tend to pull in the high rollers, and Cyprus has been quick to see the opportunity. The Ayia Napa marina project and its related residential developments are now more than 50% complete. The €220 million project will see the marina open by 2019 and its residential elements by 2021. The residential side of the project will include 190 luxury one-to-four-bedroom apartments in two towers.
Separately, there are plans to completely revamp Larnaca marina, while two new ones are under consideration in Paralimni and Paphos.
If you fancy a spontaneous trip over there, the prestigious Limassol Boat Show 2018 will be on at the Limassol Marina this weekend. More than 120 exhibitors from Cyprus, Greece, Russia, the UK, Israel and Lebanon expected to display their products and services.
Additionally, seminars, presentations of new products, activities on the water and demonstrations will also take place during the event.
Marks & Spencer, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins will all feature in a new shopping mall due to open later this year. It will be at the Mall of Cyprus, at the Shacolas Emporium Park in Nicosia. So when you’ve set up your Ikea wardrobe (its Nicosia store has been open for years) now you know where to fill it. Although one other benefit of life in Cyprus: fewer clothes!
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The Cyprus Central Bank said overall residential property prices rose by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2017. Apartment prices gained just under 1% and houses by 0.2%. This clearly isn’t a great deal, but shows that houses in Cyprus are remaining affordable. Some investment were better than others, with stand-out rises of 6.3% for apartments in Limassol and 3% in Nicosia. Meanwhile in Famagusta house prices gained 2.2% and just over 1% in Paphos over the quarter.
More dramatically, in April 2018 the number of property transactions increased by 29%. The Department of Lands and Survey says that the strongest interest was in Famagusta, with an astonishing 79% increase year-on-year in the number of properties that changing hands. In Nicosia there was a 46% increase. In Limassol transaction volumes rose 28% while those in Larnaca rose 20%.
A review of the best cities to live in the world cites Limassol as the 87th best in the world. The Mercer Quality of Living index looks at 39 factors ranging from political and social environment, the economic environment, schools and education, public services, electricity, water, media, communication and transportation. While Vienna was the best of the 100 cities, Baghdad was the lowest. Limassol has been attracting comparisons with Dubai and even, slightly less plausibly, New York City, as international travelers use it as an English-speaking base when working in the Middle East.
The survey, one of the broadest undertaken on an annual basis, is used as a guide for multi-national companies to compensate employees when placing them on international assignment.
Flights to Cyprus
Ryanair claims that its plans to increase its routes from Paphos International Airport could double the number of passengers travelling there. Around 940,000 passengers are expected to travel with Ryanair flights to and from Paphos this year, during both the Summer and Winter periods. For next winter Ryanair revealed new routes to Dublin, Bournemouth and Liverpool, as well as various eastern European destinations. This is in addition to its current operational flight schedule.
in addition, Jet2 is adding more flights from Birmingham Airport and Belfast International Airport to Cyprus for its summer 2019 programme. Travellers from Birmingham to Larnaca now have a third weekly flight option. There will be a fourth weekly service from Birmingham to Paphos.
“With over 1.6 million seats on sale, 30% capacity growth [from Birmingham], and more Boeing 737-800 aircraft coming into the fleet, there is lots to shout about!” said a Jet2 announcement.
Cyprus is also proving exceptionally popular with other airlines. Lufthansa is increasing its frequency between Munich and Larnaca. Edelweiss is increasing services between Zurich and Paphos and Cobalt’s new daily service runs between Heathrow and Larnaca.
Mega-casino on course
The first casino in the Republic of Cyprus is progressing well under the guidance of billionaire Lawrence Ho. Calling this €550million project a mere casino is a bit like calling DisneyWorld a fairground. The scale is astonishing, with 300,000 tourists expected to visit each year, including business and convention travellers.
Mr Ho’s visit back in January has also heralded more high-profile investment from China. This includes a new €100million five-star hotel near Ayia Napa. There are also plans by state-owned China Communications Construction Group to bid for control of Larnaca’s port and adjacent marina.
Crocodile Park, Famagusta
One of the more unusual developments being spoken about on the island is the granting of permission for a crocodile park at Achna near Famagusta.
The park is currently being backed by the local community council but is awaiting permission from other council departments. Being created by an Israeli company, TSA Crocopark, it will be a 40-kilometre theme park with 100 crocodiles, walking paths, observation areas and related tourism facilities such as a souvenir shop.
Not all of the community, presumably the part of the community that has watched Jurassic Park, is not happy. Not only are they worried about the potential for them to escape, but also for the amounts of water needed for the crocodile habitat.
If you’ve been inspired to buy in Cyprus this spring or summer, call our friendly Cyprus Resource Team on 020 7898 0549 or email [email protected]. If you are ready to buy we can put you in touch with a currency specialist, lawyer and estate agent.
Where to buy your art
You’ll need something to put on the wall of your new home. In Limassol there is a public auction of art every Thursday at the Collection Gallery. These features works from artists in Cyprus and from abroad.
Several art galleries across Cyprus are hosting exhibitions too. In Nicosia, photographer Kyriakos Christodoulides will be hosting an exhibition of images at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation. His exhibition is entitled In the Moment and feature 27 images tracing an array of emotions. Presumably starting with happy, relaxed and sun-drenched, if he caught any new British residents in his lens! Local artist Christos Christou will be chronicling his art works in his exhibition Black and White, at the Apocalypse Gallery in Nicosia.
Legal and tax news
Civil servant retirees count cost
If you’re moving to Cyprus after retiring from a long civil service career in the UK, beware. Under an agreement signed on 22 March, the UK and Cyprus Double Taxation Convention, people who are receiving a pension paid by the HMRC (such as retired military, civil servants, teachers and NHS staff) will begin to be taxed by the UK government. That will generally be higher than the Cypriot level of tax that that they currently pay. However, others will be taxed nothing at all as their income now comes below the UK’s tax threshold.
Other retirees will be continue to have their UK income taxed by thr Cypriot tax authorities.
This may replace an agreement that has been in existence since 1974. Under the old agreement, the Cypriot authorities would levy tax on UK residents in Cyprus from their UK pensions and annuities. This would be exempt from UK tax.
Clampdown on rentals
The Cyprus government is considering levying taxes on the 20,000 or so properties that are rented out each year, particularly on sites such as AirBnB. The island’s House Finance Committee is seeking to review the rental arrangements on such properties. This will be largely looking to plug the gaps in the law that landlords can use in paying little or no tax.
Officials want to bring the legislation more up to date to the meet the challenges of the likes of AirBnB and tax online generated rental income. Other suggestions being reviewed include the need to register properties rented through AirBnB with the local authorities. Failure to do so could mean a €5,000 fine. The moves could follow those taken by Greece which drafted in new laws to tax annual income. These bands ranged from 15% for income up to €12,000 to 45% on income above €35,000.