Chinese buyers target Cyprus property

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With Cyprus in the news at the moment regarding the EU bailout tax being levied on savings, other developments in the country have seen an initiative aimed at increasing Chinese investment in the domestic property market.

The Department of Lands and Surveys for Cyprus reported that at its peak in 2007 the domestic property market saw 11,000 properties bought by overseas buyers.

By 2011 these sales had fallen to 1,652 and last year only 1,475 property transactions on the island were as a result of a foreign purchase

Last year the recession-hit island revised laws in order to offer overseas buyers permanent residency if their investment was at least €300,000. This has led to a significant surge in activity from Chinese buyers who are looking for easier access to the rest of Europe.

A complication arises because Cyprus does not in fact belong to the Schengen zone, which is the agreement between member states that allows residents free movement between countries and over borders. However, being a resident of Cyprus does make it easier to get a European visa according to most sources.

Most of the new Chinese buyers have been targeting the popular coastal areas such as Paphos, but even so early sales figures for this year remain low.

Only 375 property sales were completed in January just gone as compared to 803 in January 2012 according to official Land Registry figures, making it the lowest January sales figure on record for the island.

Low demand is also impacting on construction figures, with only 471 building permits issued in December 2012, marking a significant drop from 560 in December 2011.

Now with the controversy over the raid on savings looking likely to continue for some time, Cyprus may have even more trouble persuading investors to look favourably at the island.

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