Expats moving to Cyprus will need to spend some time getting to grips with the country's property market and the options available to them. Choosing the right type of home in the right part of the country will directly affect the quality of an expat's experience in Cyprus.
The general trend in recent years has been for foreign investors and expats moving to Cyprus to buy property rather than to rent on the island. This has influenced the property market, causing prices to soar with increased demand.
The process of renting and buying accommodation in the 'Turkish North' and 'Greek South' of Cyprus is largely the same; with one major difference being that in the south, properties tend to be newer, fancier, more expensive and easier for foreign nationals to purchase.
Types of accommodation in Cyprus
Expats moving to Cyprus will find plenty of housing options, including furnished or unfurnished apartments, villas and traditional rural stone houses. The standard of accommodation in Cyprus is generally excellent, as a lot of the property on the island is fairly new. Air conditioning and heating are common, and most houses in Cyprus have either a shared or private pool.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Rented apartments in Cyprus are usually furnished, while houses are unfurnished. Shipping furniture to Cyprus is a viable option (especially from within the EU), but reasonably priced furniture is easily found around the island.
Villas are spacious, multi-roomed Mediterranean-style homes. They feature lush gardens and often come with a pool. They usually consist of one or two storeys.
Cheaper than villas, apartments are frequently found in seaside areas, with their elevated position allowing for great ocean views from the upper floors. Though they offer less space than freestanding houses, they are also much easier to maintain.
Traditional stone houses
Towards the centre of the island, in its more rural areas, traditional stone houses can be found. These are often somewhat dilapidated when purchased but are cheap, full of character and make for a fantastic home makeover project.
Finding accommodation in Cyprus
Expats looking to rent accommodation in Cyprus will find that online property portals are often the best place to start. Newspaper advertisements can also be great sources of information, and estate agents can be helpful, but will charge a fee.
Looking for accommodation in the low season can be a good strategy – not only will there be more options for short-term accommodation to stay at while house hunting, but expats may be able to negotiate a longer stay at a good rate.
Renting accommodation in Cyprus
Making an application
Potential tenants will need to apply via an estate agent, if one is involved, or directly to the landlord. Expats may need to submit documents such as their passport, visa and proof of income.
Leases can either be short term, lasting six months or less, or long-term, 12 months. Some leases may be renewable, but expats should discuss this with the landlord before signing. The termination of a lease is usually a difficult process that requires a month or two's notice. A landlord can terminate a lease if rent has not been paid or if the landlord intends to demolish or use the property for family or themselves.
Before moving in, tenants are required to pay a deposit equal to one month's rent upfront. If the property is returned in good condition at the end of the lease, the deposit should be returned to tenants in full. In case the tenant has damaged the house in any way, the amount for repairs and cleaning will be subtracted from the deposit.
Expats will usually be responsible for their own utility bills. These can be quite costly and should be factored into the housing budget.
Buying property in Cyprus
Buying property in Cyprus is a popular option for foreign investors and expats, whether retirees or those on long-term employment contracts looking to settle on the island. Some expats feel that it works out far cheaper, in the long run, to buy property in Cyprus than to rent, and that housing costs are still cheaper than in most Western and Northern European states.
Expats should, however, bear in mind that due to historical disputes over administration and land, a massive increase in development on the island, and the concomitant explosion of the property market, there comes a risk of scams and property fraud. Expats should be sure that they have the real title deeds to the property that they are interested in prior to purchase.
For EU nationals, buying property in Cyprus is a relatively straightforward process, and non-EU nationals can buy up to around one acre of land or one house or apartment with relative ease.
In order to borrow money to buy a residence, expats can contact any commercial bank to discuss loan terms. Usually, a deposit of 30 percent of the sale is required, with the remaining 70 percent of the cost being covered by the bank. We advise expats to do all their dealings in property through a verified and trustworthy lawyer.
►For more information about getting established on the island, see Banking, Money and Taxes in Cyprus
Are you an expat living in Cyprus?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cyprus. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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