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Property sales rose by 19.79% year-on-year to 454 in December, an outcome which was expected, given last year’s low base, said Alpha Bank Cyprus Treasury’s Alexis Kitromelides and Stavros Hadjichristofi, in their weekly report.
The rise last month compared to 379 property a year earlier and 370 in November 2014 for a 22.7% monthly gain.
“Property sales have considerably increased in 2014 although the percentage rate of ascent has slowed down in the past months since it peaked at +50.94% y-o-y and +157.48% y-o-y in June 2014 and May 2014, respectively,” the Alpha Bank Cyprus analysts said.
In 2014, sales totalled 4,527 (+20.18% y-o-y), compared to 3,767 in 2013, driven by a rise in all districts. Transactions in the offshore company haven city of Limassol jumped by 35% y-o-y to 1,417 (from 1,049), whereas sales in Famagusta district increased by 37% y-o-y to 330 (from 241). During the same period, a rise was observed in Nicosia (+6% y-o-y to 748), Larnaca (+31% y-o-y to 794) and Paphos (+6% y-o-y to 1,238).
“The leap in sales can be attributed to several reasons,” the analysts said, and explained:
“Firstly, due to the 2013 low base that was shaped by the March Eurogroup decisions and the following liquidity squeeze. Secondly, due to increased foreign demand, a trend that has been building up since the government introduced the visa-for-property purchase scheme. Lastly (according to sector agents), 2014 transactions were boosted by housing loan settlements by banks, since there is clearly a positive correlation between rising non-performing loans and sales volume.”
According to the Department of Lands and Surveys, the number of properties sold to foreign buyers amounted in the previous year to 443.