Cyprus Calling

By on April 5, 2012
Cyprus

Keen prices and a creative line in luxury real estate have stirred up the property-buying scene on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. So where’s the smart money heading?

It was around 1200BC when Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, emerged from the jade-hued sea at Petra tou Romiou, a sea stack that juts up from the south coast of Cyprus and staked her claim on the consecrated isle of Cyprus. Today, this coastal beauty spot remains as majestic as it did then; the surrounding curvaceous landscape steeped in a mystical allure that will never be erased.

Today that love-at-first-sight spirit lives on, the island wooing a steady influx of visitors (3m+) year-round assisted by the benevolent weather (300+ days of sunshine per year). Competitive prices and tax incentives have also attracted many of us to put down more permanent roots, with over 70,000 Brits now owning homes across its southerly reaches.

But while the past few decades has giving a freer reign to real estate development, moving it up the price-bracket, the market has also witnessed dramatic change, the recession taking its toll on the mainstream market with a cull in residential projects and a marked slowdown in sales volumes.

Green shoots of recovery are, however, starting to appear, with the Department of Lands and Surveys confirming a fillip in high-end transactions over the summer period compared to the same time last year, albeit with smaller margins. Tourism Board plans for several new golf courses, and a new marina in Paphos meanwhile, are whetting buyer appetites, with more budget flights servicing the island year round.

Still the favoured target for UK investors, Paphos to the west, with its strong expat community and “best climate” claim, is generating good growth, prime-letting areas such as Coral Bay sustaining tourism interest. “It’s a lovely spot,” says Sandra Atkinson from Kent who bought her £200,000 villa with pool in the Peyia district of Coral Bay in 2002 with husband Robin. “We’re just eight miles from Paphos town and about nine miles from the airport, so getting out and about is easy. In many other ways, Cyprus is just like being back home-but with the sunshine. You can swim in the sea well into November. Daily life is also easy-the locals drive on the same side, the food is fresh and inexpensive and there are plenty of leisure activities to keep you engaged.”

Drawing keen interest from UK buyers and set to rival the current gold standard for deluxe accommodation: Aphrodite Hills meanwhile, is the spanking new five-star development Elea Estate. The creation of Nicosia based development consortium S.Z. Eliades, this 120 hectare resort just 10 minutes from Paphos, will have just a 20% build density ratio, ensuring that all properties glean the full benefit from both wide open green and serene space and quiet seclusion. Sporting a backdrop of sloping plateaux, dramatic ravine and surrounded by protected forestland, the focal point of the development is the 18-hole, 71-par Elea golf course designed by six-time Major winner, Sir Nick Faldo, a verdant vista that will be partnered by a full-service golf academy, driving range, practice green and luxury boutique hotel. The majestic clubhouse with multiple terraces houses members only locker room, a wine-tasting lounge, library and restaurant.

The resort’s Village Square location meanwhile billed as the “social heart of the community” complete with cobbled passageways and cosy al fresco cafes, will be home to a choice of designer boutiques and dining establishments with additional on-tap leisure facilities including private beach club access, a spa and high-tech fitness centre.

With a soft launch held this September, Phase One villa construction is well underway. Skimming the easterly hillside plateau and directly overlooking the golf course, 56 luxury villas and garden villas make good use of the elevated site to offer panoramic sea views. All residences sit on large plots and come in a choice of 7 bespoke design styles, mixing traditional Cypriot style terracotta, textured marble, ceramic and wood finishes with multi-purpose lower ground levels, large first floor balconies and roof terraces, vanishing edge swimming pools, landscaped gardens and secure gated entrances. Parking is either underground or in a covered pergola. Prices start from £615,000 for a two-bed garden villa rising to £2.6m for a luxury five-bed villa with lift and guest house.

Says international property consultant, Jeremy Sturges: “Ambitious resorts like Elea indicate that the residential tourist industry still has room for growth providing the real estate consumer feed for the future. The island is also now an important gateway to the Middle Eastern markets and now that foreigners can also work there, investors will benefit from both corporate and seasonal lets. The island has always been well liked by the Brits, but its appeal is spreading. It’s a climactic hot spot, which makes a big difference. Everyone feels better in the sunshine.”

disparkys / Foter.com / CC BY-ND