House Hunter: 'Should we buy new or old in Cyprus?'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Some family members and I have recently inherited some money and are now contemplating buying a holiday home abroad. Originally we considered Spain but having made a recent inspection visit there we weren't convinced that it was right for us, so lately we've been thinking about buying in Cyprus.

THE PROBLEM

Eve Burchell writes: "Some family members and I have recently inherited some money and are now contemplating buying a holiday home abroad. Originally we considered Spain but having made a recent inspection visit there we weren't convinced that it was right for us, so lately we've been thinking about buying in Cyprus.

"The main priority for me is buying a place where I can spend time in the winter months but I also like the idea of a sound investment, as this will be my pension fund one day. I had the feeling that in Spain prices may have peaked somewhat and perhaps capital growth would be slower. I know that Cypriot property prices have also experienced a recent boom but I would like an opinion as to future growth in the market.

"Our budget isn't fixed yet. We're considering around £200,000, but could be tempted to spend more if we find the right place. I will be sharing the property with other family members so we would prefer as many bedrooms as we can get for our money. We definitely hope to rent the property when we are not using it ourselves and understand that rules have relaxed recently with regard to letting.

"We would appreciate some advice on which areas are best for lettings. I have heard that the north west coast is particularly beautiful but is this a good area for holiday rentals? I'd assumed that the east coast is more popular. I am also wondering about northern Cyprus although I've read that currently it can be risky but I've also heard that property is cheaper and we could stand to make greater profits by buying there.

"We would like to go an inspection visit but really want to look at older and new properties, which most companies don't seem to offer. In Spain we saw only new build and out of interest would like to compare prices for resales although we wouldn't want to take on a major project."

THE ADVICE

Cherry Clift replies: "We are now seeing all sorts of people choosing Cyprus above Spain. It is now the most returned-to holiday destination in the Mediterranean with people coming back until they buy here. It used to be primarily a retirement option but that is changing.

"Compared to Spain you get more floor space for your money, lower density and larger terraces. Cyprus has strict planning regulations so there are no high-rise or large-scale developments as there are in Spain.

As for property prices, in 1998 the average spend was £55,000 but by 2003 it was £130,000. Last year prices rose between 20 and 30 per cent and we forecast that the next year will see similar growth.

"Eve's £200,000 will certainly get her into the detached villa market. On the eastern side near Larnaca you can still buy villas from around £130,000, and on the Paphos side they start from £160,000, but where she chooses is a matter of personal taste. The west is much more hilly, the Troodos mountain range is here and there are some beautiful rugged coves. It is also more residential, and there are three golf courses here, so it's more of a year-round market in terms of rentals. The eastern side has sweeping miles of glorious, sandy beaches and is full of tourists in high summer when you can charge high rental rates but parts of the east are virtual ghost towns in the winter when many restaurants close down.

"We do not sell in the north, but I'd advise anyone contemplating it to find an English-speaking local lawyer to ensure that they make a safe purchase.

"We sell only new property, which comes fully guaranteed with full title deeds. Older property is harder to come by and can actually work out to be more expensive. Skilled local labour is expensive and hard to find. The properties I've suggested are all good value but Argaka in particular is in a beautiful unspoilt area in the north-west, which is about to get a new road so this would definitely be a good investment and one to get into before everyone else does."

Cherry Clift is sales executive for Parador Properties (0800 458 5497, www.paradorproperties.com)

THE SOLUTION

Property one: Mandria Villas.

Price: Three-bedroom villas start from £149,000. (Larger plots with pool from £200,000.)

Agent's details: Ten kilometres from Paphos, these villas offer views over quiet countryside and the sea beyond. These are modern and open-plan with large plots. The area provides gentle walks, a sandy beach, and for the keen golfer, the renowned Secret Valley Golf Course is nearby.

Property two: Serene Gardens.

Price: Three-bedroom villas from £175,000.

Agent's details: The Serene Gardens complex at Paphos has picturesque charm and a more traditional feel. Just a couple of minutes' drive from the hilltop village of Konia, these plots provide a good-sized garden and room to add a private pool at extra cost.

Property three: Argaka Village.

Price: Three-bedroom villas from £194,600.

Agents details: The beautiful north-west coastal stretch is known as Chrysochou Bay and is just a few kilometres from Polis. This development is in a quiet cul-de-sac with gardens and lawns, and offers a variety of homes of a high standard.

THE VERDICT

"This has given us a good overview of the type of property we can get for our money. I'm particularly interested in the north-west stretch especially as it sounds like a good area for investment. The next step has to be to go on an inspection visit and really look around both the eastern and western sides of the island.

"We hadn't realised that all the golf courses are in the west, which could help to let the property off-season. We need to decide our priorities but we like the idea of being in a more residential year-round resort.

"Rental income is important and we'd like to find out more about potential income in the winter months versus the advantages of possible higher rental income in the east but for a shorter period. I would also still like to see examples of older-style property but think that new build will be better for rental income as there will be less maintenance involved."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail with full details: househunter@independent.co.uk

Comments