Interview by Lawyers in Cyprus with Giorgos Landas, Managing Director of Giorgos Landas LLC
1) Why do investors choose to invest in real estate in Cyprus?
Investments in Real Estate are very popular in Cyprus, both by local and international investors. The reason is simple, the real estate market has always been very profitable in Cyprus. Specifically, in the past few years, prices are rising both in sales and rentals, despite the global pandemic and economic crisis. Cyprus always attracted people from all over the world. In the past decades, Cyprus has been transformed into a financial business center hub. Multinational companies have settled on the island due to tax benefits and because they can give their employees high- quality lifestyle. This has changed the dynamics in the real estate market, as the demand for both residential and commercial properties has increased dramatically and will continue to rise in the years to come. Further, investors from third countries can be benefited, as investments in real estate allows them to apply for permanent residence in Cyprus.
2) What’s your role as a legal firm in the whole process of purchasing a property in Cyprus? What would you advise potential investors, how can your firm reassure their possible concerns?
Most of the time, local and foreign investors are not familiar with the basic legal aspects of purchasing a property in Cyprus. This ignorance could lead to very unpleasant, stressful, and unforeseeable situations. Our role as a legal firm specializing in real estate is to first inform and consult the client on every step of the procedure. It is very important for the client to know and be part of the process. We listen to their concerns and answer to all the legal matters that are of interest to each client. Secondly, we must run due diligence procedures related to the property, before starting the drafting of the documents and the sale and purchase procedures. Because of regular delays in the procedures of examination – by the relevant authorities – of the construction of a building, the separate title deeds might take years to be issued. The lack of a separate title deed, irregularities in the construction, encumbrances, and obligations of the developer, might cost a fortune to the investor, if not examined properly. From our part, as Giorgos Landas LLC, it is very important to review all paperwork in advance and advise on any problems or omissions with the documentation. Provided that the client understands any possible risks, we proceed with the drafting and review of the contract(s), aiming to protect our client’s interests. We handle the transaction until closing, namely the settlement of the purchase price and the transfer of ownership/transfer of title deed in the purchaser’s name.
3) Can your firm assist an investor in applying for permanent residence in Cyprus? Why does someone choose to settle in Cyprus? Are there any benefits?
Yes, our firm, Giorgos Landas LLC, is cooperating with a big number of investors who, after the purchase or lease of property were interested in applying for temporary or permanent residence in Cyprus. Nowadays, as remote work is constantly gaining ground, there are a lot of professionals that choose to work in other countries but live in Cyprus. Some reasons are:
- Mediterranean climate
- High-quality educational institutions
- Medical care
- Beneficial tax regime
- Professional services
- European Union member
These are just a few reasons for which many investors and professionals choose to settle in Cyprus. Our firm can consult and assist them with the preparation, submission, and monitoring of their residency applications, and we also provide tax consultation.
4). What are the main advantages of investing in Cyprus real estate today?
(a) Stability/High market prices
Cyprus, having recovered from the major crisis of 2008 and 2014 much faster than expected, offers property investors excellent opportunities to enrich their portfolios and take precautions against negative drops in their domestic markets.
(b) High Returns
Investors that are interested in leasing their properties, gain a very high return, as the rental market is limited and the demand is very high.
(c) No Property Tax/Low Municipality Tax
Since 2016, there is no property tax fee, for the property owners. Also, the municipal taxes are very reasonable.
5) Has the pandemic affected the real estate market?
The pandemic has affected every business and every sector. For one year, everyone was very hesitant to invest, purchase or sell real estate. The reason was that the situation got unforeseeable, and the insecurity led the investors to a temporary pause. We haven’t experienced a dramatic drop in the prices, we haven’t experienced the panic that follows an economic crisis. Investors got their time to evaluate the situation, and after the situation was – somehow – stabilized (Vaccination available to everyone, restrictions in traveling lifted), the market started moving again.
6) Is there a future in the real estate market in Cyprus?
Of course, there is. Cyprus is a small place, developing constantly. There are ups and downs, but the real estate sector is growing. Giorgos Landas LLC is here to consult its clients properly, on all legal matters that follow an investment in real estate.