Financial Affairs

Cyprus house hunt: your own little water park for $ 3.3 million

This hill of five rooms Villa with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea is located on the southwest coast of Cyprus, near the town of Paphos.

Built in 2019 in the Aphrodite Hills Resort, the 4,800 square foot two-story home features Mediterranean styling with Asian motifs and is surrounded by several terraces and swimming pools. The house sits on a third of an acre landscaped with bougainvillea, hibiscus, palm trees and cypress trees, said Elina Kalnina, agent for Cular Estates, who holds the list.

A bridge over the shallow pools leads to the main doors of the villa, which open onto a landing with stairs leading down to the central atrium lounge and up to two bedrooms on the second floor. The living room, with pointed ceilings and wooden floors, is flanked by an open kitchen and an office; all three spaces have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that lead out onto a large terrace and numerous swimming pools with views of the Mediterranean Sea. Water features include a 20-meter pool, hot tub, swim-up bar, and ‘floating’ pergola with bamboo walls and roof.

The open kitchen, with stone floors, wooden cabinets and an island, is adjacent to a dining area and a bathroom, and opens onto a terrace for alfresco dining.

The two bedrooms on the second floor, which both open out to a covered balcony with sea views, have private marble bathrooms with Italian-made amenities.

The finished basement includes a gym, wine cellar, and recreation room with a home theater. Two bedrooms on this level, on a small courtyard, have private bathrooms. There is also a studio, as well as a large mechanical room. The air-conditioned villa has a solar system on the roof and underfloor heating, Ms. Kalnina said. There is covered parking for five vehicles and a security system.

The 578-acre Aphrodite Hills complex, with approximately 800 homes and apartments, offers plenty of amenities, including golf, tennis and horse riding academies, swimming pools, hiking trails, and a beach club. The community has a village square with a medical center, supermarket, hotel, shops, restaurants and bars. The popular Pissouri Bay Beach is a 15-minute drive away. Minutes away is Petra tou Romiou, a legendary geological formation known as the birthplace of Aphrodite in myth. Fifteen miles to the northwest is the town of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with around 36,000 residents and an international airport. Limassol, with approximately 100,000 residents, is approximately 28 miles to the east.

Over a million people live in Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean that was divided in 1974 after a decade of violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. While the island is internationally recognized as the Republic of Cyprus, the northern third is occupied and administered by Turkish Cypriots and recognized only by Turkey.

Interest in buying properties in the northern part of Cyprus has increased in recent years, although many foreigners prefer the security of buying in the south, brokers said. The Aphrodite Hills Resort is found in the southern part of the island, where in some towns, including Paphos and Limassol, foreigners account for up to 75 percent of the market.

After prices fell by around 30% in the wake of the global recession and the subsequent collapse of its offshore banking system, the Cypriot real estate market experienced a recovery in the three years leading up to 2020, said Mike Braunholtz , sales director of the Prestige agency. Group of properties.

“In recent years there has been growing interest as Cyprus is warm year round, has many fantastic beaches, the properties are amazing, and basically compared to other popular areas like the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca in Spain, a property in Cyprus would cost half the price, ”he said.

According to Central Bank of Cyprus, the national residential property price index increased by 1.8% in 2017, 2.5% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019. In 2019, overall property sales in Cyprus increased 12% from 2018 to over 10,000 units, said Braunholtz.

“It was the biggest sales year since 2008,” he said. “So the market has regained significant traction over the past few years, but of course Covid-19 has come along and decimated the market. “

In the first half of 2020, when Cyprus instituted a foreclosure of around two months from mid-March, property sales fell more than 41% year-on-year to 3,271 units. Although the restrictions have since been relaxed, they remain imposed on visitors based on their country of origin, according to Cyprus Flight Pass, a government portal for travelers.

Tourism is the main engine of the Cypriot economy. According to data collected by the European Commission, economic growth slowed considerably in the first quarter of 2020, with tourist arrivals and incomes falling by 46.5% and 52.4%, respectively. (As of September 1, Cyprus had reported 1,488 cases of Covid-19 and 20 deaths, according to the New York Times coronavirus map.)

The lockdown and travel restrictions have hampered the island’s development, said Michael Chambers, senior partner at Michael Chambers & Co., a Limassol-based law firm.

“Before the pandemic, major projects were underway, especially in Limassol, which attracted the interest of large foreign investors and buyers,” Chambers said. “Unfortunately, the pandemic crippled these projects for about two months, creating a delay. The near future looks uncertain for the real estate sector in Cyprus.

However, the factors driving market booms elsewhere in Europe, such as France, could potentially impact Cyprus, Braunholtz said. “Money is very cheap right now, everyone wants to leave town and anyone can work from home anywhere,” he said. “So these are three driving forces that are currently moving the market, and I hope these factors will bring the Cypriot real estate market back to life in 2021.”

House prices in Cyprus remain affordable, especially compared to popular second home areas such as Marbella, Spain, or the Algarve in Portugal. “Some sort of mass-produced villa in Spain or Portugal would cost around 400,000 or 450,000 euros ($ 475,000 to $ 535,000), which would probably be double the price of a comparable villa in Paphos,” said Mr. Braunholtz.

Mr Chambers said prices for coastal Cyprus properties range from $ 724 per square foot in the Limassol district to as low as $ 423 per square foot in the Paphos district.

A former British colony, Cyprus once attracted many British buyers, but their numbers declined significantly during the housing crisis from 2009 to 2016. When Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, these buyers were supplanted by Russians at the seeking residence permits, officers said.

Mr Braunholtz said inquiries from UK buyers were on the rise again ahead of the pandemic. “They are definitely back,” he said. “Over the past four years interest has increased again, but we’ll have to see how the market is affected by Covid.”

Before the pandemic, Russians were buying apartments in Limassol, as well as houses and apartments in Paphos, Chambers said. Others included Lebanese buyers in Larnaca, as well as Chinese buyers in Paphos, he said.

There were also many buyers from Germany, as well as some from Scandinavian countries, said Louis Constantinou, real estate agent at Africanos Estates.

Ms Kalnina said that in addition to the Russians, she had dealt with buyers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as well as some from China, Ukraine and South Africa.

There are certain restrictions on buying houses in Cyprus. While EU citizens residing in the southern part of Cyprus can buy unlimited properties there, others are limited to an apartment, house or land, Chambers said.

In northern Cyprus, the limit is four properties, he said. However, buyers wishing to buy a house there “must confirm in advance that it is actually owned by the seller and not by a Greek Cypriot, as they may be exposed to criminal liability due to the political situation in Cyprus” .

Buyers from Cyprus must also confirm that a property is free of charges, mortgages or other charges with the provincial land register, the brokers said.

“You really have to get something called the land search certificate from the land registry,” Braunholtz said. “A real estate developer will take out a mortgage, build houses, and take out a big loan, and the debt goes with the title, and you’ll end up owning the debt if you’re not careful.”

A lawyer is recommended for all foreign buyers. Mr Chambers said his firm typically charges around 1,500 to 2,500 euros ($ 1,800 to $ 3,000) to serve as a local lawyer to a buyer.

Stamp duties range from 3% to 8%, depending on the property’s sale price, Constantinou said.

Typically, the seller pays the real estate commission of around 5%, brokers said.

Greek; euro (1 euro = $ 1.19)

Property taxes in Cyprus were abolished in 2017.

Elina Kalnina, Cular Estates, 011-357-25-100-607,

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