The Cyprus economy continues to pull away from the meltdown of 2013, in the process making the Mediterranean state and increasingly attractive proposition for those seeking an EU investment visa. Various measures of economic activity all show that Europe’s second Greek speaking nation is slowly putting the problems of the 2013 banking crisis behind it.
Unemployment figures for August 2015 were down 10.1% on 2014, tourist numbers increased 13.7% year on year to April whilst property sales are steadily increasing. The property market is both a key barometer of the country’s overall economy as well as a vital element within it.
A series of measures including government’s removal of transfer fees, planning incentives and a freeing up of trapped property buyers (a legacy of 2013’s crisis) represent tangible steps towards establishing an increasingly healthy economic picture. Anyone buying property until December 2016 will qualify for a 50% discount on the property Title Deeds transfer fees tax. Additionally, there will also be no future capital gains tax for those buying in this timescale – a saving of 20%.
Recognising the underlying level of activity signalled by these moves, credit rating agencies such as Standard and Poor (S&P) and Moody’s have upgraded their predictions for the Cypriot economy. S&P, for example, now rate the Cypriot economic outlook as ‘positive’ rather than ‘stable’.
Admittedly, a downturn in the Russian economy has led to a decrease in inward investment – as a consequence the number of property sales to overseas buyers this August was down 30.2% on 2014, falling from 86 to 60 – but that marginal negative aside domestic demand continues to improve showing a 6% increase over the past eight months.
With Cyprus offering some of the most attractive investment visa criteria anywhere in Europe as well as the third highest savings rates (1.66%) across the EU (behind the Netherlands and Belgium) and markedly ahead of the European average of 0.68%, Cyprus continues to represent a unique investment opportunity with in the EU.