As more and more people look to invest in overseas property, Cyprus is proving to the choice of many.
Historically buying property in Cyprus has always been popular with Britain. Recent trends though indicate that our Scandinavian neighbours are also showing a strong interest in buying property on this sun-soaked island.
A strong economy fuelled by a craving for a warm and friendly Mediterranean island has possibly fuelled this burgeoning interest.
So why exactly is Cyprus proving to be so attractive? To understand why perhaps a closer look at the past may give us a better insight.
Back In Time
Cyprus was reputed to have been, chosen by the mythical gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece to dance and play on, with Aphrodite, the legendary 'Goddess of Love' believed to have been born on the island.
Homer refers to it as "Kypros" in the Iliad, Greek for the henna plant that is believed to have thrived on the island.
Mankind first appeared around the 6th/7th Millennia BC and Cyprus was rich in copper mines around The Bronze Age - 3000 BC which brought traders from the Middle East.
Strategically bridging both east and west, Cyprus has been colonised and ruled by a host of different civilisations with each one leaving their own imprint the strongest of which have been Greek, Roman and Arabic.
Cyprus claims to be the first Christian country after its' Roman governor was converted to Christianity by St. Paul reputedly around AD 45.
Byzantine influenced frescoes abound in churches all over the island with a sprinkling of castles and palaces from the days of Crusaders and splendid city walls from its' early Venetian days.
Britain were relative latecomers arriving on the island around 1878 after it was ceded by the Ottoman Empire under the condition that it retained sovereignty.
English legal and administrative systems were soon introduced and extensive bridge and road building programmes were put into existence.
During World War 1 the island was annexed and in 1925 Cyprus officially became a British Crown Colony.
Cyprus became independent in 1960 under Archbishop Makarios. In 1974 Turkey invaded, occupying the northern part of the island and Cyprus has been a divided island ever since.
With such a historic
and legendary background it is hardly surprising that Cyprus has developed a
character which is quite unique.
The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus boasts six major towns - Nicosia, the capital and 5 other coastal towns namely Famagusta, Kyrenia Limassol, Larnaka and Paphos.
The first two in the east and north of the island respectively, have been under Turkish rule since 1974.
The landscape fertile in the centre contrasts happily with cool vine-clad foothills. Sandy shores with secluded beaches are fringed by villages each with, their own rustic charm.
Orange and lemon groves interrupted by banana plantations spill profusely over the countryside and carob and olive trees are found in abundance.
Sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters provide perfect conditions for sailing, skiing and water sports. The cool, pine covered mountains of Troodos, provide a startling contrast with delightful hill resorts and traditional hotels.
In autumn, the sea still retains a relatively high temperature after the long hot summer months and some say that this is the best season of all.
Average daytime temperatures of around 16°C in winter. Much-needed rain occurs during this period, although most days are bright and sunny.
The mountain region of Troodos enjoys a brief flurry of snow from January to March making Cyprus an ideal alternative ski destination.
Springtime is marked by the countryside coming wondrously alive with wild flowers as a, gentle warmth returns to the island.
And the long sun-drenched days of summer ensures a season to suit every visitor.
Blessed with both natural beauty and the friendliness of its' people, it is hardly surprising that visitors to Cyprus return time and time again making it the perfect destination for buying either a second home, retirement home or simply a property for investment.
The towns of Cyprus present a blend of modern, historic buildings and ancient monuments.
Contemporary hotels and apartments blocks jostle good-naturedly with colonial and neo-classic buildings.
Narrow and quaint shopping streets, draw the casual tourist in to explore its' cool interiors further.
Life outside of the main towns is, as you'd expect slower and gentler. Here in the villages, family ties, agriculture and cottage industry hold sway above the rising tide of modernism.
Houses made of mud-brick are pretty common with their traditional flat roofs and in places like Troodos you see more stone-built houses with tiled roofs.
Driving along you'll notice that many of the village homes, feature vine-leafed courtyards with clay ovens built into the walls.
Traditionally are warm and welcoming people. The official language is Greek but English is widely spoken. Even in remote villages you will always come across someone who can speak a modicum of English.
The crime rate on the island is extremely low and the atmosphere typifies most Mediterranean islands by being relaxed and laid-back.
Many people who are just in Cyprus on holiday end up making life-long friendships easily.
From weddings to cruises around the Med., challenging golf courses and a myriad of water-sports, this 'Island of Love' offers the visitor everything that dreams are made of.
It is also conveniently situated to explore both Egypt and Israel on 2/3 days mini-cruises that visit important historic sites.
Cyprus Property - The Facts
Whilst this is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive article on the merits of buying property in Cyprus, it does however serve to highlight why Cyprus has become one of the most attractive destinations for the overseas property investor.
The rapid growth in popularity has meant that prices have also risen in tandem. This makes it an even more attractive proposition for investors looking at rental incomes.
So what will your money buy?
What's the old saying in property 'location, location, location'? This is perfectly true as prices do vary depending upon which part of the island you buy on. For instance in Paphos town apartments go for as little as £55.000 while beach-front apartments do cost a whole lot more.
Raising finance for a property purchased in Cyprus is a reasonably straightforward process. Typically, Cypriot banks will lend borrowers 60% to 80% of the value of the property for a fixed term of 7 - 10 years, although longer repayment periods can be easily negotiated.
As Cyprus is now a part of the EU restrictions on capital transfers or interest rates no longer apply in theory. In practice of course, domestic banks are struggling to keep up with the new changes in legislation.
Property developers and estate agents can usually provide all the necessary information vis-à-vis stamp duty and taxes.
Buying property for investment purposes is liable to capital gains taxes. This is something worth checking with your local representative for the minimum thresholds for capital gain exempts.
Work permits are no longer required for all EU citizens.
Many British and other foreign investors will rent out homes whilst continuing to live in their respective countries particularly as the rental yield of around 8% gross is attractive to investors.
So here's why?
The property market in Cyprus is pretty buoyant at present
The temperate year round climate and warm and friendly people coupled with a low crime rate are also a major attractive feature.
British investors do particularly well as English is widely spoken. The cost of living remains relatively low with an abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables, meat and fish.
Supermarkets are well stocked with a variety of imported goods and produce.
And again a very important consideration for a prospective buyer is Healthcare which thankfully is both inexpensive and of an exacting International standard..
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