BUYING IN CYPRUS
Cyprus enjoys very strong ties with the UK. It is a republic based on a constitution written after independence from the British who still maintain Sovereign bases on the island. Human rights and private property are safeguarded by the constitution, and Cyprus is a member of the UN, the commonwealth, The Council of Europe and since 1/5/04 the EU.
Buying property in Cyprus is relatively easy. The law regarding buying property in Cyprus allows European Union citizens that seek to permanently reside in Cyprus and Cypriot origin people to buy unlimited properties for primary residence on the island.
Non European Union citizens are allowed to purchase a freehold villa, an apartment or a piece of land of up to 3 donums or the equivalent of 4.013 sq.m. Foreign companies are allowed to purchase premises for their business or holiday homes for their directors. European Union real estate agents and land developers can also buy real estate for direct investment. The acquisition of residence for secondary use is prohibited without the prior authorization by the Council of Ministers to those European Union citizens that are not permanently residing in Cyprus and European Union registered companies that do not have an office in Cyprus and their management and control is not exercised in Cyprus.
The restrictions that apply to European Union citizens not residing permanently in Cyprus will be abolished after 2009 and all citizens of the European Union will have the same rights in acquiring property as Cypriot citizens, regardless of their residential status. Legal fees when purchasing a property in Cyprus are very low, and with the legal system and Land Registry in Cyprus being based on both British and Cypriot legal systems, it is considered to be one of the most advanced and reliable systems in the world. These procedures are done free of charge by our office or at very reasonable costs by any good lawyer.
PROPERTY BUYING PROCESS
The property buying process is remarkably straightforward. On signing a contract of sale for your property and paying a deposit, it is necessary to make an application to the Council of Ministers to grant approval for a non-Cypriot to acquire immovable property. A residence permit must also be applied for, but this is easy to obtain if you are purchasing a property, especially if the property has a title deed. Your conveyance contract must then be filed with the land registry, protecting the ownership rights by preventing the vendor from selling the property a second time. Only the buyer can alter this status. A temporary permit is granted after a property purchase is effected plus the requirement for opening a local bank account is satisfied. This permit is valid for a period of 1 to 4 years. Upon the production of evidence of secured annual (investment) income at levels stipulated by the law, including annual income for dependants, the temporary permit can be converted to a permanent one.
PAYING FOR YOUR PROPERTY
When purchasing your property in Cyprus, it is a requirement to pay for your property in Cyprus Pounds. It is therefore necessary for foreign currency conversion into Cyprus Pounds to take place. Anyone can open both foreign and local currency accounts, and many international banks have branches in Cyprus. Of course as from 1 January 2008, when Cyprus is expected to be accepted in the Eurozone and adopt the Euro, these conversion costs will be avoided when the buyer is a resident of the European Union member States that have also adopted the Euro.
DUTY FREE ADVANTAGE
One’s personal effects can be imported duty-free provided they are for personal use and are not brand new (with only a small fee being levied on electrical goods). This applies to both European Union citizens and citizens from third countries. European Union citizens who become permanent residents in Cyprus can bring in their car which they have used for at least 6 months in the country of their previous residence without the payment of any import tax. The relief is given to both husband and wife and only to those that do not exercise any profession in Cyprus ie to retirees and the car can not be sold , lent, hired , pledged exchanged or disposed of in Cyprus without the prior permission of the Director of Customs.
You can bring your dog or cat into the country with less hassle, as quarantine in Cyprus takes place in your own home provided all their vaccinations are complete. According to European Union Law it is now mandatory for pets from European Union countries to have a European Union passport for movement between member states and this applies for Cyprus as well.
Cyprus’ accessibility, with two International airports and many cheap chartered and scheduled flights throughout the year, makes family visits easy and inexpensive. And with the demand for property in Cyprus growing constantly, in the unlikely event you decide Cyprus life is not for you, re-sale of your property will be effortless and with a profit since property prices have been on the rise since the E.U. accession.