Number of foreign property buyers 34% up in August

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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.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Bubble

    Collapse of the economy once again if this scheme is stopped?
    If it is stopped the government would have to focus on real local issues immediately- re-organising public sector and crucially implementing foreclosure laws to get to the real problem of the economy.

    This sector is bringing lots of cash but a false reality of a property bubble and growing economy.
    Saying this, i am surprised the Guardian is not focusing on the UK passport scheme too… maybe too close to home…

    • Kevin Ingham

      I believe the UK “version” is more expensive with much longer residency rules prior to issuance – but still stinks. The people who are buying these passports are getting a much better deal than the existing citizens of these countries (except those profiting most from the selling of course) The relatives of the highest political figures in the county are actively involved in the selling process here in Cyprus (allegedly) ?

      • Bubble

        agreed! Looks like the winners are the developers that caused the problems in the first place!

  • Cadmus

    Please explain exactly what the ‘UK passport scheme is’.
    Thank you.

    • Peter G

      Look it up on Google.

      • Cadmus

        I looked it up on google. It explains a scheme for permanent residence, but not for a passport. I ask again, where is there a scheme to ‘buy’ a British passport?

        • Kevin Ingham

          If you find one you can pass the information to Mohamed Al-Fayed- he’s been trying for decades, but there is obviously something black balling him despite the wads of cash at his disposal

          Al-Fayed lives in the UK, operates a business in the UK , he creates jobs in the UK, but for whatever reason he doesn’t look like ever being a UK citizen.

          We might never know the reason for that, but being a citizen of a country is a privilege, not a tax perk or a money laundering exercise or a given right in exchange for a pile of readies

  • Kevin Ingham

    Selling passports that give the holder access to other countries through existing treaty obligations is totally unacceptable IMHO.

    If there was a central authority wiling to administer it on all EU countries’ behalf then fine and dandy, but passports are being sold locally with very few questions asked to all sorts of dodgy individuals who are either looking to run away from something or circumvent sanctions placed on their home state.

    • Cydee

      True. Makes a complete mockery of the whole ‘passport’ system and needs stopping until something like your excellent suggestion is put in place.

      • Peter G

        Nonsense. It is a state’s prerogative to decide how to extend its citizenship.

        • Kevin Ingham

          But surely not when one state’s “prerogative” allows the applicant to enter any of the other 27 nation states and gives visa free access dozens of other countries too?

          Without reasonably long residency requirements during which period an individual can be thoroughly and easily checked out, selling passports is a complete and utter nonsense given the above circumstances

    • Peter G

      How do you know what questions are being asked? Don’t *ALL* EU members and the USA have similar schemes?

      • Kevin Ingham

        Don’t care about the US, but all EU states who want to sell passports should have a standard procedure, cost and set of criteria to do so.

        If the applicant passes those criteria and then chooses a “Cyprus” passport then fine, give the money to Cyprus but I fail to see how Cyprus can set the criteria for individuals who have no intention of living in Cyprus and no history of living in Cyprus but can have the same rights of access to any other EU country as any other bona fide citizen once they pony up the dough to become a citizen of Cyprus

        The prime selling point for Cyprus is not even the cost, it’s the time scale.

        Whilst the UK takes a minimum of 2 years tax residency before selling a passport (and being tax resident means you will come under all sorts of scrutiny by HMRC and the Home Office) Cyprus issues the passport in 3 months !!! Three moths for a bureaucracy that can’t even get the issuance of dog licences sorted – I ask you !

  • Barry White

    The EU is onto the Cyprus passport for cash scheme and the dodgy applicants – not to say the dodgy providers. This little earner may be headed for an early shut down by the EU.

    Then the barber will take center stage again.

    • Peter G

      Rubbish. Just wishful thinking on the part of those who hate Cyprus.

      • They also want to normalise taxation across the eurozone.

  • Cydee

    Who needs to go to the Virgin islands for a dodgy offshore account???

    • Peter G

      Where in the article are “offshore accounts,” dodgy or otherwise, mentioned?

      And arn’t the Virgin Islands a British territory?

  • David Wilson

    Wow! 75 new property sales in Cyprus. I wonder how many of these buyers will actually get title deeds to “their” properties or does this mean they sold one house to 75 different buyers. When will people learn not to attempt to buy anything, let alone property in such a corrupt bakrupt franchise that is south Cyprus?