THE DEPARTMENT of Land and Surveys reported an almost unbelievable 121 per cent rise in the number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus during December compared with December 2015.

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This 121% rise follows a 46% rise in November, a 37% increase in October and a 50% increase in September bringing the annual increase to 43%; the largest year-on-year rise for the past decade.

Part of the rise may be accounted for by those taking advantage of the Capital Gains Tax concession that exempted those buying property by 31st December 2016 from paying Capital Gains Tax regardless of when they sold the property at some date in the future.

However, we also know that an unknown number of these property sales contracts relate to ‘non-sale’ agreements such as loan restructurings, recoveries and debt-to-asset swaps agreed between the banks and defaulting borrowers.

As the Department of Lands & Surveys does not record these ‘non-sale’ agreements separately, the figures presented do not accurately reflect the real number of property sales.

We can only hope that the Department of Lands & Surveys will amend its statistics to separate actual sale contracts from ‘non-sale’ agreements so that an accurate picture can be presented, which will benefit both the property industry and those who may be considering buying property on the island.

Sales in 2007, immediately before the property bubble burst, reached 21,245. In 2013 sales reached their lowest on record at 3,767. In 2014 sales rose 20% to reach 4,527 and in 2015 they rose 9% to reach 4,952. In 2016 combined sales and ‘non-sales’ reached 7,073.

 

Source Cyprus Property News

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