By Stelios Orphanides
The number of foreign property buyers rose 34 per cent in August to 75 compared with the respective month of 2016, the Department of Lands and Surveys said.
The number of non-Cypriots who acquired real property in Cyprus, incentivised by government schemes offering investors a Cypriot passport or a visa depending on the value of the investment, rose in the first eight months of the year an annual 4.2 per cent to 618, the department said.
According to reports in Britain’s The Guardian on Sunday, Cyprus extended more than 400 passports to investors as part of the government’s citizenship-by-investment scheme which allows investors to get a Cypriot passport by investing €2m in Cyprus or previously €2.5m.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, since the inception of the scheme in the months following the 2013 banking and fiscal crisis, the scheme triggered almost €5bn in investment in the economy, including €0.5bn in government bonds which are no longer an eligible option in the latest version of the scheme updated a year ago, €0.5m in deposits, also no longer eligible, and €0.7bn in company acquisitions, while the bulk of the remaining amount went into real estate. The number of persons who benefited from this scheme and a similar scheme introduced by the government under former President Demetris Christofias exceeds 1,200.
The report said that beneficiaries of the scheme, who can liquidate their investment at a later stage, excluding a residence worth at least €500,000, include Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs implicated with corruption.
The overall number of properties that changed owners in August rose 27 per cent to 572 and in January to August 20 per cent to 4,921.