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This article was published on Tuesday 05 February, 2013.

Why choose cyprus for buying a property

The Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the European Union on 1st May  2004.

According to the provisions of Protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union, the entire territory of the Republic of Cyprus, including the areas that have been under occupation by Turkey since 1974, became part of the EU. The Turkish occupied area in the northern part of Cyprus is an integral part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus. However, the application of the EU rules and regulations [knows as the acquis communautaire] is suspended in the occupied areas, because the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is unable to exercise effective control in those areas.

The island of Cyprus is unquestionable a very attractive destination for all prospective international property investors. Having said that, prospective buyers should, nevertheless exercise great caution before exploring property purchases in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus because of potentially serious legal complications related to the rightful ownership and title deeds of the land.

Buying property in the areas of the island where the recognized government exercises its effective control  however is relatively safe and in this sense prospective property investors should consider the many advantages offered by Cyprus, including:

● The fact that Cyprus is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean and offers diverse scenery and vegetation. Its mild climate is one of the healthiest in the world with virtually 340 days of bright sunshine per year.

●The prime geographical location of Cyprus, which is situated at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa and is also easily accessible by ship or plane. The two international airports of Larnaka and Pafos both operate daily scheduled flights, as well as charter flights to destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East and the rest of the world. Both airports can boast of modern terminals and other relevant facilities and handle a high volume of passengers and cargo each year.

● Cyprus is particularly rich in history and culture. Remnants of these are found spread throughout the island and bare witness to its turbulent history. The cultural scene is also vibrant with festivals, concerts, cinemas, theatre and opera performances, often held in the unique setting of ancient theatres under the clear, starry sky.

● Cyprus enjoys political stability and is a free market economy with a strong currency, as the country joined the Eurozone in 2008.

● Cyprus offers its residents a relatively low-cost, high standard of living, low taxation rates, international investment opportunities, excellent educational and medical facilities and a very low crime rate (e.g. 6% of that of UK s). Additionally, Cyprus was ranked 31st in the United Nations 2011 Index of Human Development.

● There is virtually no language barrier in Cyprus as English is widely spoken by almost everybody and many Cypriots can also communicate in several other languages as well.

● Getting around is easy as highways link all of the major towns and cities and road signs are also in English. Driving is on the left and there is also a public transport system which includes transurban buses, urban buses, rural buses and buses for airport transfers. The telecommunications network in Cyprus is excellent and prices are low. Indeed Cyprus can boast of state of the art telecommunications infrastructure, that render it one of the most important telecommunications hubs in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

● There is a very modern, legally sound and stable banking system.

● Property transactions are regulated by various laws and an efficient Lands and Surveys Department.

● There are also numerous excellent sports and recreational facilities. The completion in the near future of the construction works for new marinas will add to the diversity of the facilities offered. Moreover the pending construction of additional international golf-courses will make Cyprus an even more attractive destination for golf-lovers.

Useful tips for prospective buyers:

● The immovable property industry in Cyprus is effectively regulated to the benefit of the buyer. Information can be easily obtained through contacting the relevant Ministry responsible, which is the Ministry of Interior ( Moreover, prospective buyers can always seek independent legal advice from one of the many reputable legal firms established on the island, many of which specialize on property law.

● It is strongly advised that buyers deposit all contracts for the purchase of property with the Government Lands and Surveys Department, especially if the property has no title deed and the ownership transfer cannot be completed immediately. Deposits of contracts should be made within 60 days from the initial signing of the contract. This acts as an encumbrance (charge) on the property for the benefit of the buyer.

● A professional registered valuer can provide a written report on the zoning, limitations, prospects and valuation. Obtaining such a report can protect the prospective buyer from the risk of purchasing overpriced properties, while at the same time it provides useful information for the financiers.

● If buying through a real estate agent, prospective buyers should be fully aware of the provisions of Law 273 (1)/2004, according to which Real Estate Agents have to be registered with the Estate Agents Registration Council, to take out a professional liability insurance and be in possession of a valid annual license to practice. Prior to transacting with a Real Estate Agent, prospective buyers are advised to ask to see their registration number, annual license and insurance coverage.

● Property can be bought directly from a developer. Most developers are members

of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association.

● It is recommended that for older property, the services of a civil engineer are acquired to advise on the structural stability of the building and any other risks and loopholes not visible to the untrained eye.

● For technical information prospective buyers should consult the Technical Chamber of Cyprus, which is the umbrella organisation for architects, engineers, quality surveyors, property valuers and town planners.

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