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 success of a person's expat 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, sending prices skywards as demand has increased.
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 the IKEA in Nicosia makes buying new furniture highly feasible. Expats report that the second-hand furniture market in Cyprus is somewhat disappointing.
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 newspaper advertisements and online searches are good places to start. Real 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 the 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.
Length of lease
Leases can either be short term (lasting six months or less) or long-term (typically 12 months).
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.
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.
For EU nationals, buying property in Cyprus is a relatively straightforward process. Expats should, however, bear in mind that with the 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 make certain that they have the title deeds to the property that they are interested in prior to purchase.
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.
►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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