Can non-EU citizens buy property in Cyprus?

Can non-EU citizens buy property in Cyprus?

Foreigners are permitted to acquire property in Cyprus and as compared to several European nations, it is far simpler to do so in Cyprus.

The acquisition of real estate in Cyprus is completely open to EU nationals with no limitations. It is still feasible for citizens of the United Kingdom to do so, although the laws have altered significantly since the country withdrew from the European Union.

The charm of Cyprus' Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches makes it a desirable second home for Britons - whether you're seeking a location to spend extended summer vacations or a place to retire to in the Mediterranean region.

Purchasing a home in Cyprus necessitates meticulous preparation in order to ensure that the transaction goes successfully and that any possible hazards are avoided.

Our comprehensive guide on purchasing property in Cyprus is available to assist you. There is information about the property market, mortgages, and fees, as well as the actual buying procedure included in this book.

We'll even take a look at some of the most beautiful areas on the island that you might potentially call home, but we'll also explore some of the most effective ways to pay the costs of purchasing a house abroad, such as utilizing the Wise multi-currency account. 

We hope that this information will serve as a good starting point for you when evaluating Cyprus as a potential location for your dream home purchase.

 

What is the current state of the real estate market in Cyprus?

Cyprus' real estate market is divided into two main sectors: the metropolitan centres of Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca, and the seaside resort districts of Paphos and Famagusta, which are particularly popular with ex-pats wishing to relax in the sun.

Up until 2020, the market was performing far better than it has in a long time, following three years of great improvement in the previous year. 

The Covid-19 epidemic, on the other hand, has had a significant impact on the country's economy, which has had a knock-on effect on the property market.

And according to the February 2021 - Cyprus Real Estate Market Report published by Deloitte, total contracts of sale in 2020 were much lower at 7,968 compared to 10,366 in 2019, representing a 23 percent decrease.

This has had an impact on both the availability and demand of homes on the island. Prospective international purchasers, on the other hand, might take heart: according to the survey, apartment prices remain stable, appear to have been the least affected by the epidemic, and are projected to recover the fastest.

While the future is still uncertain, experts consulted for the Cyprus Real Estate Pulse survey (December 2020) believes that access to financing, market confidence, foreign travel, and investment will all play a significant role in the short-term performance and recovery of the Cyprus property market.

 

Purchasing a home in Cyprus following the Brexit vote

UK nationals are permitted to purchase one property in Cyprus, with the right to retain ownership of the property. Depending on the size of the property, it might be an apartment, home, villa on a building site, or parcel of land no larger than 4,014 square meters.

In rare cases, the acquisition of a second property (such as a vacation house) may be permitted by the government.

UK nationals interested in purchasing property in Cyprus should also be aware that, post-Brexit, they will only be able to stay in the country for a total of 90 days in any 180-day period. If you plan to stay for an extended period of time, you will need to apply for a visa.

It is important to note that the process for purchasing has changed for purchasers in the post-Brexit environment. When you enter into a deal, you will be required to apply to the Council of Ministers for authorization to acquire a property, and title deeds will not be transferred to you until this approval has been granted.

You'll need to put a condition in the contract to specify what should happen if permission is not given, even though it's a formality and it's quite improbable your application will be denied.

It is not uncommon for the application to take many months or even a year to be completed in its entirety, but usually takes approximately a month or two. In addition, you will not be authorized to rent or lease property, obtain a share in a property, or purchase a property in joint names with a partner who is not married.

 

A Step-by-step instruction on how to purchase property in Cyprus as a foreigner

The procedures for purchasing property in Cyprus are quite similar to those in the United Kingdom, with a few notable exceptions. We've described the most important stages below:

  • Prepare for your mortgage - If you are not a cash buyer, you should first investigate mortgages and loans to see how much money banks are prepared to offer you before you begin your search.
  • Appoint a local lawyer
  • Begin your home search by visiting websites such as Rightmove Overseas, which may be a wonderful starting point.
  • Once you've located a home that you like, it's crucial to go see it in person to ensure that it is in the condition that you expect.
  • Make an offer on the house – if you've selected a home you want, contact the estate agent to submit an offer.
  • To obtain approval to acquire the property, submit a written request to the Council of Ministers – your lawyer/solicitor will usually do this on your behalf.
  • Sign the sale contract, which will be signed by both the buyer and the seller.
  • Make a transfer of the funds.
  • Complete the transaction - the property will be registered in your name after all necessary approvals have been obtained and monies have been validated.

 

What type of taxes and fees will You be required to pay in the future?

Keep the following extra fees in mind when creating your budget for your purchase:

  • Transfer costs range from 1.5% to 8% at the moment (applicable to resales, not new builds)
  • Stamp duty is calculated based on the price of the property and ranges from 0.15 % to 0.20 %.
  • VAT is 19 % - (only applicable to new-builds and can be reduced to 5% if it’s the main residence)
  • Legal fees range from 0.5% to 2%.

Estate agent costs are typically handled by the vendor, and you should not be required to pay for these services.

 

The best way to prevent potential hazards while purchasing a house in Cyprus

A few things to keep an eye out for and steps to take during the home-buying process will help you avoid stumbling blocks and prevent disappointment.

The majority of the time, developers will take out a mortgage on land or property, for which you would be held accountable if they went bankrupt while you were under contract to acquire the property.

Appoint an impartial lawyer to check that no mortgages have been placed on the land before purchasing it. This will help to guarantee that you do not run into problems at a later date. For further information, contact your lawyer. Request a Land Search Certificate from the Land Registry through your lawyer.

Be warned that purchasing property in the northern part of Cyprus entails a certain amount of risk. Ownership of property is frequently challenged in the northern hemisphere as a result of claims of ownership stemming from those displaced by the Turkish invasion in 1974. Purchasing such property may result in legal action being taken against you and lost of property.

 

Conclusion

If you are looking for property in Cyprus, it is recommended that you contact a specialist real estate agent. First and foremost, ensure that they have a valid license to perform their services in order to protect themselves from frauds and illegal realtors.

You can look for a dream home in Cyprus without seeking professional advice, but it is preferable to use the services of a real estate agent who is familiar with the island's market, who can check all of the documents pertaining to the property, and who can also provide advice on all of the necessary issues pertaining to the property acquisition and registration.

If you do not speak Greek, this will not be an issue for you. You will find enough certified real estate agencies in Cyprus who are fluent in your native language.

After obtaining real estate (a home, a villa, an apartment, and so on), a foreign owner has the right to apply for a visa that allows him or her to stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days in any six-month period.

The temporary residency permit is valid for one year and can be renewed more than once.

Christos Nikolaou

Author: Christos Nikolaou

BEng Mechanical Engineering, MSc Real Estate, ETEK Property Valuer, Register and Licensed Real Estate Agent.

Christos Nikolaou is the founder and Managing Director of Property Canvas, he holds a license as an Estate Agent from the Association of Real Estate Agents of Cyprus and he is a registered Property Valuer in the Technical and Scientific Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK). He is the author of our “Can non-EU citizens buy property in Cyprus?” and is a certified advance negotiator.


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