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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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