Property prices in Paphos have halved while sales have plunged by 80%, says the honorary chairman of FIABCI, the international real estate federation.
Nicolas Lemonaris told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday that the property market in the district was going from bad to worse, adding that a recovery was not yet in sight.
“As far as the real estate sector is concerned, we are paying today for the mistakes and deficiencies of the past,” Lemonaris said.
He said Cyprus should have protected healthy property transactions as they were crucial to the economy.
“The past few years it was just property transactions and tourism that were doing well and supporting the economy of Cyprus,” he said.
For there to be a change, Cyprus must regain the trust of investors and restore its credibility in the eyes of both foreign and local buyers.
It was also essential for liquidity to be made available at low interest rates not higher than 3% and for guilty parties to be punished.
Prices were down 50% for all types of property in Paphos which with Larnaca was the first district to be affected.
He expressed concern over the large number of unfinished buildings, as well as many that have been completed but remain empty. Beyond the economic aspect, this has also created an untidy picture.
Lemonaris described repossessions – expected to be speeded up under Troika-mandated laws -- as a ‘sleeping giant’.
When it awakens it will operate as a ‘coup de grace’ for thousands of households, for banks but also the state, he said.
Asked about non-licensed real estate agents, Lemonaris said that particularly those of European origin had contributed to a large extent to the current situation. They had used Cyprus as a “happy hunting ground, and then left taking the profits with them.” Many have now closed, though others remain in operation.
Lemonaris urged buyers to be particularly careful and to prefer to deal with licensed agents, adding that there were many opportunities for investment as well as for first homes with many properties being sold below cost.