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Chinese developers set sights on Cyprus

The Cypriot property market could be about to receive a boost from China, with developers from the country looking to Europe for investment. Christos Mavrellis, managing partner with Chrysses Demetriades & Co LLC, told the China Daily that Asian developers are planning to buy land in Cyprus or enter into joint ventures with local developers to build homes for Chinese people.

While Mr Mavrellis did not reveal the names of those entities with their sights set on Cyprus, he explained that the residency scheme, offered to foreign buyers who purchase property in the country, is attracting the Chinese market and developers are eager to take advantage of this. Under Cypriot immigration law, a person from overseas on an income of no less than €30,000 (£25,267) that purchases a home with a value of €300,000 (£252,676) or over may be eligible for a residency permit.

China and Russia have been the target markets for such a scheme - the same audience sought by Spain for their own residency programme. At the end of 2012, figures showed that Cyprus had received 590 applications from Chinese developers to build homes in the country, indicating that investors are taking the bait. Stavros Loannou, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton Cyprus, told the China Daily that to cope with "Chinese companies' growing interest in investing in Europe" they had set up a desk in China in April.

Nevertheless, growing interest from foreign buyers has yet to prove sufficient to reinvigorate the Cypriot property market. The Global Property Guide reported in May 2012 that real estate prices were continuing to fall in the country. This is a trend that seems to be continuing into 2013, with the sector unable to recover the verve it enjoyed during its boom.

Price growth in the country halted at the end of 2008 and the country has since been working to get the market back on a stable footing. One measure cited by lawmakers as integral for stimulating growth is the abolition of a bill to increase annual immovable property tax (IPT). It is believed that the document, which was part of the island's bailout, is unfair and based on 1980s values.
Article by +Peter Mindenhall on behalf of