A Guide to Purchasing Real Estate Property in Cyprus

by | Feb 6, 2023

Cyprus has become an attractive place to live, leading to an increasing number of foreigners choosing to move to the island. Its warm climate, rich culture and history, and blue flag beaches create an ideal environment for an enjoyable life.

At the same time, its rising economy and safe environment make it the ultimate hub for business and family relocation.

The Immovable Property (Tenure Registration, Registration, and Valuation) Law, Cap.224, regulates all matters related to property registration. There are no restrictions for EEA and EU citizens towards buying property. The same applies to legal entities headquartered in Cyprus or any other European member state.

Non-EU citizens are also entitled to own properties in Cyprus after obtaining approval from the Council of Ministers and signing a sale agreement.

Cost and Fees 

Buying a property could be a lengthy financial commitment that requires careful planning.

Some of the costs typically burden the purchaser:

1. Stamp Duties

Stamp duty is applied to all agreements for the purchase of property and can be paid at any District Inland Revenue Department. No stamp duty applies for selling properties valued at less than €5,000. For purchases up to €170,860, stamp duties are calculated at 0.15% of the purchase price. For properties valued at over €170,860, stamp duties are calculated at 0.20% of the purchase price.

2. Sale Agreement Deposit Fee

A fixed €50 fee is payable to the District Land Registry Office when depositing the Sale Agreement.

3. Transfer Fees

Transfer fees are payable by the purchaser directly to the District Land Registry Office when the property’s title deed is transferred to the purchaser’s name. They are calculated based on the Land Registry’s market value of the property and not on the purchase price. Transfer fees do not apply when the purchase of property includes VAT, but they may apply if the purchase price is lower than the property’s actual value.

They are calculated as follows:

4. VAT 

The current VAT rate in Cyprus is 19%. VAT generally applies to newly developed residential properties, commercial properties, and plots of land with no lodgings (exceptions may apply).

5. Legal Fees

Fees charged by lawyers or legal representatives vary and the purchaser should ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs from the firm handling the transaction.

6. Estate Agent’s Fees

A sale may involve Real Estate agents, who in Cyprus typically charge 5% on the purchase price for their services. Depending on the circumstances, either the seller or the buyer makes this payment.

7. Mortgages for Non-Cypriots 

Cyprus has an open real estate market. Mortgages for EU and non-EU nationals may be granted for the purchase of a property in Cyprus. The procedure for applying for a mortgage usually takes 1-3 months, depending on when all the necessary documentation is provided to the bank.

Finding Property or Real Estate to Buy in Cyprus

To make an informed decision, you must thoroughly investigate the property market. This should include searching the local press, consulting estate agents, and checking online property sites.

Decide your priorities, having in mind the following:

  • Type of property / real estate
  • Whether it already has a title deed
  • Location & price
  • Number of bedrooms & bathrooms
  • Parking & storage spaces
  • Age of property

Due Diligence

The most crucial step before a property purchase is undertaking the relevant due diligence.

It is important to ensure that the property is free of any encumbrances, whether it has a clean title deed, and if it complies with the relevant planning permissions and building permits.

Burdens on the property and any non-compliance issues could prevent the issuance and transfer of the respective title deed. It is also important to undertake a due diligence search on the seller.

Negotiating the Purchase and Sale Agreement

Provided the relevant due diligence has taken place and a purchase price has been agreed upon, negotiating the Sale Agreement terms and the payment mode may take some going back and forth, for which seeking legal advice is recommended.

Transfer of Property

As a final step, after duly executing and depositing a Sale Agreement, the title deed of the property you purchased will need to be transferred into your name. You will need to book an appointment with the District Land Registry Office, where you must produce the relevant application and supporting documents.

On the day, any balance of the purchase price must be settled while transfer fees (if applicable) must be paid to the Land Registry Office. Ownership of the property will then be transferred to you and a title deed issued in your name.

Applicable Costs Once the Transfer is Completed

When the transfer process has been completed, an owner of property in Cyprus is liable for the following taxes/dues:

  • Municipal fees, that  comprise an annual tax of 0.015% to 0.025% on the property’s value, refuse tax, and various other fees.
  • Sewerage tax, which is approximately 0.05-0.065% of the property’s value, is payable to the district Sewerage Board.
  • Water and electricity bills are payable to the Water Board and Electricity and Communications Authority respectively.

There is no property tax in Cyprus, nor is there an inheritance tax.

*Disclaimer: This guide should not be construed as legal advice as it may become subject to changes depending on law and regulation enactments and amendments. If you need particular and tailor-made legal advice, don’t hesitate to contact Michael Chambers & co LLC, or send us an inquiry at: info@chambers.law

 

By: Christiana G. Georgiou
LLB / Barrister at Law
Head of Legal at Michael Chambers & Co LLC.

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