Cyprus Business Sectors Property and Construction

Building construction used to play a major in Cyprus’ economy. However, for the past few years the sector has seen a year on year decrease in property sales.

The Cyprus Statistical Service claims that building permits constitute a leading indicator of future activity in the construction sector. Therefore the statistics do not bode well for Cyprus future in this industry, as the stats for 2012 record a 33.5 percent decrease of building permits issued for the construction of new homes from the previous year (2011), and property sales have plummeted.

Much of the decline in property sales, in particular to the British, can be attributed to the problems in obtaining title deeds to properties purchased, as well as the rogue practices of some property developers, lawyers, and banks. The British High Commission was prompted to issue a warning to potential Cyprus property purchasers, stating that ''Many British nationals have purchased property in Cyprus without too much difficulty. However, the process of buying land or a property in Cyprus can have many potential pitfalls. The British High Commission advises potential purchasers to exercise extreme caution when buying a property if the title deeds are not readily available, as to do so means that your property could be at risk''.

If you are thinking to buy land or property in Cyprus, the best advice we can offer is first take some time out to read the many articles on the Cyprus Property News website, which is the leading independent website owned and operated by the very knowledgable Nigel Howarth, who can offer opinion and guidance on buying real estate in Cyprus.

Potential Cyprus property buyers should also note the following;

On 20th October 2006, the government of the Republic of Cyprus passed Article 303A of the Criminal Code which makes it a felony to buy, rent or sell property in Cyprus without the consent of the registered owner. Cypriot courts have used the law to prosecute people involved in the sale or purchase of property in the area administered by the Turkish Cypriots (Occupied North Cyprus). The government of Cyprus has also attempted to enforce Cypriot legal judgments in property matters in other EU countries. Cypriot customs authorities routinely detain anyone arriving in Cyprus or crossing the buffer zone found to be in possession of documents relating to property purchases in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. The court ruling in January 2010 that ordered British couple Linda and David Orams to demolosh the villa they had built on land in Lapithos belonging to Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides, should serve as a strong warning in this matter.

The Ministry of Communications and Works (Public Works Department) has completed many upgrades of road networks and constructions of new roads, such as the construction of a new Nicosia ring road. This is a major infrastructure project aimed at easing the current traffic congestion. A four-lane, 32 km, ring road connects the Nicosia-Limassol highway to the Nicosia-Troodos motorway, as well as serving as an outlet for the secondary road network.

The Department is responsible for;

• Designing and management of designs that are carried out by the private sector, supervision of construction and maintenance of road works, including motorways and other primary and secondary roads.
• Designing and management of designs that are carried out by the private sector, construction and/or supervision of construction, improvement and maintenance of government buildings.
• Development, improvement, extension and maintenance works of Larnaca and Paphos airports.
• Designing and supervision of construction works for coastline defences and fishing shelters.
• Preparation of traffic studies in urban and rural regions in collaboration with other Government Departments, Local Authorities and Consulting Engineers.
• Design and construction of flood-prevention measures.
• Design, construction and/or supervision of construction of road projects in industrial zones and social housing schemes.
• Maintenance of residences and other buildings in refugee housing schemes as well as supervision of construction of residences that are built as part of the Plan for Self built shelter and issuing of relevant progress certificates.
• Construction and maintenance of defence works and other projects within the Military Camps, as well as repair and maintenance of installations of UN Peace Force in Cyprus.
• Laboratory testing (investigations, trials etc.) of construction materials both for public work and for private projects, in accordance with the relevant specifications.
• Checking of public buildings and of facilities for storing petroleum products, according to the relevant Legislation.
• Review of applications for planning and building permits for land division purposes.
• Examination and resolution of problems / demands of local communities or private individuals resulting from the implementation of road projects.
• Provision of technical advice to other Ministries, Departments, Services, Organisations as well as to private individuals.
• Participation and representation of the Department in various Technical Committees such as the Committee of Cypriot Standards, the Central Committee for Variations and Claims, the Rent Committee, Judging Committees for Architectural Competitions etc.

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