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, houses, villas and maisonettes in complexes with shared pools.
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.
Renting 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. As rental fees in Cyprus can be quite substantial, some expats might want to consider house-sharing options.
Expats will usually be responsible for their own utility bills. These can be quite costly, and should be factored into the housing budget. Cyprus has a progressive water-taxation system – so residents should think twice before watering their gardens excessively or refilling the pool.
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.
Areas and suburbs in Cyprus
Due to the large influx of foreigners in recent years, 'expat areas' have sprung up around the island. These include Limassol, Oroklini and Paralimni. It is, of course, up to the individual expat to decide whether they wish to live within a close-knit expat community, or whether they'd prefer to be surrounded by locals. In the latter case, finding accommodation in the north of Cyprus or one of the smaller villages in the south may be a good idea.
Home security in Cyprus
Home security shouldn't be a major issue for expats in Cyprus. Most people feel safe in their homes and, although houses are usually fitted with locks on their doors and windows, these are often left open without much concern in the sweltering summer heat. Rural areas tend to be safer than urban centres, but break-ins are relatively rare in both cases.
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. Further information in this regard can be obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Cyprus. The usual loan period for a residence is 20 to 25 years, and the loan may be for 70 percent or more of the real estate value.
In the aftermath of the banking crisis, and as Cyprus has struggled under austerity, securing a loan may be more difficult than it was in previous years.
►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.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.