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Cyprus Property Buyer's Guide explains the legal fees, legal procedures, purchase taxes and Cyprus mortgage procedure.
Purchasing property in Cyprus.
Cyprus,a member of the European Union, is the 3rd largest Mediterranean island - covering 9,251 square kilometres, 240 km from west to east and 96 km from north to south. Cyprus has a population of approximately 700,000.
Cyprus being at the cross-roads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa - Cyprus has one of the oldest histories of the world, dating back 9000 years.
Cyprus strategic position, its wealth in forests and mineral deposits, as well as its skilled craftsmen, made it the prized possession of the powers of the day.
The island of Cyprus is served by approximately 30 major airlines, linking it to the four corners of the world through its international airports at Larnaca and Paphos.
Driving is on the left in Cyprus and distances between towns are relatively short, covered by a good network of modern roads.
A notable British presence remains to this day and Cyprus has become home to a large expat community (estimated at around 50,000), while British tourist trade accounts for the overwhelming majority of Cyprus tourism income.
A look at the Cypriot climate and its easy to see the attraction: average temperatures only dip below 70F (21C) between November and April and Cyprus can boast on average 300 days of sunshine per year.
So how much property in Cyprus do you get for your money?
About 130,000 Cyprus Pounds (EUR224,000, GBP154,000) will buy you a detached three bedroom Cyprus property, although expect to pay more to get buy Cyrpus property near the beach.
In the North of Cyprus, the equivalent property can be picked up for around CYP90,000, and property prices here are rising fast, albeit from a low base.
Compared to many other countries purchasing property in Cyprus by foreigners is relatively simple.
Non Cypriots are permitted to purchase (for their personal use) either:
an apartment in Cyprus,
a house or a villa on a site,
a piece of land.
The maximum allowed area is 4,013 square meters (an equivalent of 43,195 square feet)
Permission to transfer the Cyprus property bought to the non-Cypriot's name must be sought from the Cyprus Council of Ministers. However this is granted more or less as a matter of course to all bona fide Cyprus property purchasers.
In the meantime, Cyprus property purchasers may take possession of the Cyprus property without restriction.
The application to the Council of Ministers to acquire immovable property in Cyprus can be made within a reasonable time after signing the contract of sale.
Cyprus Property Registration / Transfer Fees
Real Estate Transfer tax-fees are necessary in order to transfer FREEHOLD Cyprus property ownership to the name of the purchaser.
This can be done as soon as the relevant Government Authority has issued the title deed and the purchase has been completed.
The Transferee is responsible for the tax payment.
There are a number of taxes that are associated with the purchase of property in Cyprus.
Cyprus Real Estate Transfer Tax.This is necessary to transfer the freehold into the name of the buyer and is levied on a progressive scale starting at 5% up to CYP10,000 increasing in five steps up to a maximum of 8% above CYP75,000.
For Cyprus residents there is an Immovable Property Tax based on the value of the property at a rate of 0.2% between CYP100,000 and CYP250,000; 0.3% up to CYP500,000; and 0.35% over CYP500,000. The first CYP100,000 is exempt.
The Cyprus property buyer is also liable for stamp duty.
This is charged at a rate of 0.15% on the first CYP100,000, and 0.2% above this threshold.
Depending on the size of the property, local authority taxes range from 0.1% to 0.5% per annum to cover refuse collection, sewerage, street lighting etc.
Transfer of Cyprus property ownership from vendor to purchaser is undertaken by a simple procedure through the Cyprus Land Registry Office, either by the buyer in person or by appointing a third party (i.e. a Licensed Cyprus Estate Agent ) with a Power of Attorney.
In the case of the non-Cypriot, a prerequisite of registration is evidence that the Cyprus property has been paid for with foreign exchange.
When one buys a piece of land or a house in Cyprus, the seller as a rule must have a title deed in his own name which can be transferred to the purchaser.
However, if one buys a flat, especially one still under construction, there is no title deed in existence for the flat and sometimes the seller does not have a title-deed even for the land on which the building is being built because it may still be in the name of the original owner from whom the developer has purchased the property and to whom he stills owes money. These are matters which the purchaser's lawyer must consider and embody in the contract, as well as take such other steps as may be necessary so as to safeguard the interests of the purchaser.
Typically, Cypriot banks will lend between 60% and 80% of the value of the property with the term usually fixed at seven to ten years, although longer repayment periods can be negotiated.
As things stand, it would be very difficult to obtain a Cyprus mortgage from a non-Cyprus bank for Cyprus properties.
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