Purchasing property in Cyprus offers numerous opportunities for locals and foreigners alike. Cyprus has become an attractive destination for real estate investment with its legal system based on the British model, robust protection of purchasers’ rights, and favorable tax regulations. This article provides a comprehensive guide to navigating the legal process, mortgage financing options, and taxation aspects when buying property in Cyprus.
1. Legal Information
The Cyprus legal system, modeled after the British system, offers strong protection for property purchasers. To safeguard the purchaser’s rights, the Cyprus land registry employs an effective legal measure called “instrument-specific performance.” Once the contract of sale is signed and the deposit is paid, the contract is registered at the land registry, protecting the ownership rights until the title deeds are transferred to the purchaser’s name. Once lodged with the land registry, the contract cannot be withdrawn by anyone other than the purchaser, ensuring security in property ownership. The property cannot be leased, sold, transferred, or mortgaged without the purchaser’s authorization.
2. Cyprus Property Ownership
Foreigners can easily purchase property in Cyprus without restrictions if they hold a European passport. Non-European individuals are entitled to freehold ownership of two properties, provided the land area does not exceed 4014 sq. meters. For European buyers restrictions on land ownership have been abolished since Cyprus entered the EU.
3. Mortgage Advice
All commercial banks in Cyprus offer mortgage facilities to assist property purchasers.
4. Taxes and VAT
Payable by the purchaser upon property registration, transfer fees are based on the property’s market value on the day of purchase.
The rates applied are 1.5% on the first €85,000, 2.5% on €85,001 to
€170,000, and 4.0% on amounts exceeding €170,000.
Capital Gains Tax
Payable upon property disposal, capital gains tax is charged at 20% on gains over €17,000, with various allowances available for the seller.
The purchaser is liable for stamp duty payment, calculated at 1.50 Euros per thousand up to €170,000 and 2.00 Euros per thousand beyond that amount.
VAT on Cyprus Property
New-built properties may be subject to VAT, with rates depending on usage and residency status. VAT rate in Cyprus is 19% but Cypriot law provides for the use of a reduced rate of 5% for the purchaser of real estate subject to the following conditions:
1) Individuals (not companies) 18 years of age or over
2) The purchased property must be for the applicant’s main residence during his/her stay in Cyprus whether the property is used all the year round or just for holidays.
3) The property must be used only by the purchaser and his family and not for profit (i.e. renting)
4) The applicant must have not purchased any other property in Cyprus at the reduced VAT rate.
The reduced rate of 5% applies for properties of up to 130 sq.m provided that its value does not exceed €350000. For properties of 190 sq.m or less, 5% applies for the first 130sq.m and 19% for any square meterage over 130sq.m and up to 190sq.m. The value of the property must not exceed €475000.
All properties with value over €475000 and/or square meterage over 190 are subject to 19% VAT.
Purchasing property in Cyprus is straightforward, with robust legal protection, accessible mortgage finance, and clear tax regulations. European and non-European buyers can acquire property, and the country’s EU membership enhances its investment appeal. By understanding the legal, financial, and tax aspects, investors can confidently explore the lucrative opportunities Cyprus offers in its real