Re­lease of mort­gages, our bright MPs and the “Ge­orghadji List”

“Could it be that lenders keep those MPs who said NO close to them and with some form of black­mail con­vinced them to fol­low this de­ci­sion? I cer­tainly do not be­lieve such a sce­nario, but we are all hu­man and any­thing can hap­pen”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

It is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble how a pro­posal for a pro­gres­sive law on the part of the State has not been ap­proved by the House In­te­rior and Fi­nance Com­mit­tees. How is it pos­si­ble to have a pro­posal that frees prop­erty own­ers trapped by mort­gages, there is a spe­cific memo from the State, the Troika of lenders have ac­cepted such a mea­sure, to­gether with the Cen­tral Bank, yet our and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans en­ter­tain us yet again by vot­ing no to the bill.

What is the rea­son, then, why an MP would want to keep these buy­ers trapped? Do they not re­alise that in ad­di­tion to their re­lease from this night­mare of a prob­lem, it will also give a timely boost that will help re­vive the hous­ing mar­ket, in­crease con­fi­dence among for­eign and other ex­ist­ing buy­ers who will be­come real-life pro­mot­ers, rather than de­trac­tors of the Cyprus real es­tate mar­ket?

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Socratis Hasikos won­dered whether the deputies were rep­re­sent­ing the in­ter­ests of lenders when they re­it­er­ated their proud ‘NO’. Such an idea has so far never even crossed our mind, but I am obliged to clas­sify th ac­tions of our de­light­ful MPs as a be­trayal to the trou­bled cit­i­zens of the Re­pub­lic as well for­eign home own­ers. Now that the Min­is­ter sug­gested it, per­haps there is some smoke in his words of fire. Could it be that lenders keep those MPs who said NO close to them and with some form of black­mail con­vinced them to fol­low this de­ci­sion? I cer­tainly do not be­lieve such a sce­nario, but we are all hu­man and any­thing can hap­pen.

This whole de­ba­cle re­minds me of the time when a list was leaked, al­legedly (but later re­futed) by the Cen­tral Bank Gover­nor Chrys­talla Ge­orghadji, that num­bered the out­stand­ing mort­gages held by MPs or their im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers, that were con­sid­ered as “non per­form­ing” as they had ex­ceeded 90 days with­out any pay­ment and had not been ser­viced for 6 months. Not much had been in­ves­ti­gated about the rest on the list, but as soon as the heroic MPs learned of its ex­is­tence they foamed at the mouth and were fu­ri­ous, ac­cus­ing the Gover­nor of ex­ert­ing in­flu­ence and power over elected deputies. And what is their prob­lem? Were they the only ones with de­lays or non-pay­ments whose names were pub­lished daily in the news­pa­pers and online publi­ca­tions?

The whole con­tra­dic­tory con­duct of the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment is so in­com­pre­hen­si­ble that it reaches a new level in the al­ready ridiculed ac­tions of our deputies who have de­graded the im­age of the House and pol­i­tics in gen­eral. And just so as not give the im­pres­sion that all deputies should be crit­i­cised, an ef­fort was made to try and iden­tify the in­di­vid­ual MPs who voted NO in both com­mit­tees, but it was im­pos­si­ble to get this in­for­ma­tion from the min­utes of the House so as to pub­lish their names and for the whole busi­ness world, as well as the un­for­tu­nate cit­i­zens of this Re­pub­lic to be proud of them.

Ku­dos to the Min­is­ter of In­te­rior who con­tin­ues to press the is­sue pub­licly lest we exit from this sit­u­a­tion which smacks of vested in­ter­ests.

The new law con­cern­ing the re­duc­tion of trans­fer fees (by the end of 2016), the ex­emp­tion from cap­i­tal gains tax for pur­chases to be made by the end of 2016 (re­gard­less of when they are resold) is the best thing right now for the real es­tate mar­ket, as are the mea­sures for per­ma­nent res­i­dence visas and pass­ports to third­coun­try na­tional in­vest­ing in our coun­try. With all these pos­i­tive mea­sures I ex­pect that we will see the first signs of re­cov­ery in 2016 and it is for this rea­son that we need to cor­rect the ills of the cur­rent sys­tem, be­cause the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket of prop­erty in­vestors will not give us a sec­ond chance.

Maybe from now on, when fi­nanc­ing de­vel­op­ment projects for sale, lenders should be more care­ful when they dis­burse these funds, while sellers should pro­vide the buyer si­mul­ta­ne­ously with the sign­ing of the sales con­tract all the nec­es­sary re­lease doc­u­ments to free them from any mort­gage and other bur­dens. Surely there can not be a 100% per­fect sys­tem, for ex­am­ple what hap­pens if a pro­ject is not com­pleted, or is de­layed for other rea­sons. But per­haps there should also be spe­cial cir­cum­stances to cover projects with­out ti­tles, whereby these would have spe­cial in­sur­ance or pro­vi­sions for the ben­e­fit of the buyer or the len­der. Such a mea­sure may be sig­nif­i­cant, but it must be dis­cussed prop­erly with all stake­hold­ers to de­ter­mine whether it is fea­si­ble or not.

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