Properties in Cyprus can represent excellent value when compared to other countries and have recovered significantly since their 2016 lows. The Cypriot property index has recovered strongly, increasing to 112.33 in the second quarter from 107.78 in the previous.
The housing market strength has also fuelled a wave of developments and building permits increased by nearly 35% year on year in 2019. In total over 2400 never properties being built in the first quarter alone.
Investors should feel confident when transferring money to Cyprus as much of the property market’s strength is derived from a sturdy economy. The Cypriot economy has grown significantly in the last three years outstripping many of its European neighbours. In 2018 increasing by 3.9%, 4.8% in 2016 and 4.5% in 2015. Whilst the economy’s growth is anticipated to slow next year it’s still forecast to increase by 2.6% in 2020. The property market, however, is still expected to remain strong due to high demand.
Things to bear in mind when buying in Cyprus
Estate agencies fees – Cypriot estate agent’s minimum charge will equate to 3% of the property amount. Although buyers should budget on paying roughly 5% of the property value.
Legal fees – typically will range between €850 to €1800, a solicitor’s consultation is advisable but not compulsory.
Property transfer taxes – property tax increases incrementally with the value of the property and isn’t applicable to new build properties.
|Property value in Euros||Transfer tax rate|
|€85,430 to €170,861||5%|
The VAT on new build properties – Buyers that opt for a new property should be conscious of VAT charges which equate to 19% of the property value. These are typically included in the property price.
First-time buyers can benefit from a reduced rate which shrinks to 5%. The property must, however, be less than 250m2 and the dwelling must be used as a primary residence.
Setting up a Cypriot bank account to transfer money to Cyprus
The Cypriot banking system has been transformed in recent years allowing both private and business clients to benefit from better services. These improvements have seen one’s ability to open an account become a much simpler process, typically only requiring the following in terms of documentation-
- A valid form of ID
- Utility bill from the applicant (must be less than 6 months old)
- Completed application form provided by the selected bank
What Cypriot bank is best for your needs?
Bank of Cyprus
The principal bank that many expats or second homeowners will elect to use is The Bank of Cyprus. The bank boasts 108 branches and offices and many more ATM locations. To ensure a swift application process before your arrival in Cyprus, you can even apply in one of their UK branches which are based in Birmingham, Manchester and London.
Their product range is comprehensive, including retail and business banking and all types of insurance.
Hellenic Bank has a keen focus on online services and offers the ability to bank on your PC or via the application. It also offers business banking, loans and financing and a multitude of insurance policies. It boasts roughly 50 branches throughout Cyprus and a decent ATM network.
Strictly speaking a Greek bank, Alpha Bank also offers a diverse array of products for clients. It also has the added benefit of offering incentives such as a cash bank return program and free airmiles via the Alpha Bank Payroll account.
Started in 2007 Astro Bank was formally known as Piraeus Bank of Cyrus. It has a network of roughly 20 Branches and two international business hubs in Nicosia and Limassol and can service English, Russian and Ukrainian speakers.
It offers a great variation in products including debit and credits cards as well as private and business banking services.
When moving to Cyrus and using a Cypriot bank be forewarned that patience might at time be required. You could find that although very helpful the speed of service might be slower than what you are used to. Also, be aware that smaller branches might work shorter hours with many branches closing at 13.30.
Once all is in place, what’s the best way to transfer money to Cyprus?
When you have finally found your dream home in Cyprus and established a bank account you will need to start transferring money for both the purchase and in order to credit your account. This is where a specialist currency provider comes into its own. As specialist who are familiar with buying processes and transferring money to Cyprus, they can add value.
Property deposit – Once you have selected a home and signed a reservation agreement a deposit of €3000 or 1% of the property value will be expected. We strongly suggest that buyers seek guidance from a solicitor before sending the initial deposit to check the company’s authenticity. Companies such as Rational FX and Currencies Direct can assist with this initial transfer and any other payments needed to complete the purchase. A specialist will also offer the choice of fixing the full amount of Euros you need to complete if the rate is advantageous.
Stage payments – shortly after an initial property deposit is sent and contracts are approved the second payment of 10% for resales and between 20-30% for new builds will be required. They will also discuss the timing of other stage or final payments in order for you to capitalise from a good rate. New build properties will more likely be paid off in tranches whilst resales will be paid for in full a few days before the completion date.
Regular payments to Cyprus – if you take out a mortgage in Cyprus it’s very likely that you will need to transfer money on an ad-hoc basis to top up your account or send money on a monthly basis to pay a Euro mortgage. A specialist offers the opportunity to fix a rate for up to a year ensuring the costs of your payments. Rational FX and Currencies Direct allow you to make these payments via telephone, online or by app.