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Race is on for Cypriot property revaluation

Land Registry employees have been racing to reassess the value of all Cypriot property before the June deadline. Staff have been putting in extra hours without pay to ensure real estate in the country meets the specifications given under the island bailout, Cyprus Property News reported. Until now, property in the country was taxed according to their 1980s value and many were not even registered. This has made it difficult for the government to create a fair Immovable Property Tax.

Deputy Land Registry director Kleanthis Kleanthous explained to the newspaper that workers were pulling 12-hour shifts to reevaluate 500,000 properties across the country. "Seeing the huge need, a lot of colleagues from all districts, have volunteered to work for at least one Saturday," he added. State property, including those belonging to semi-state organisations and municipalities must also be evaluated. "We will all take to the streets or work in the office, to give the message that we know what is going on and we do not want additional taxes on Cypriot society," Mr Kleanthous said.

Over the next 20 months, international leaders have also demanded titles to be issued for 60,000 as part of the bailout. Currently, the Land Registry department issues 1,000 title deeds per month - a number that will need to increase to 3,000 for Cyprus to meet the deadline. Consequently, it isn't surprising Mr Kleanthous is urging the public to show understanding, as other duties and tasks will take place much slower than normally expected. Foreign property investors should also be aware of potential hold-ups as a result of this.

Meanwhile, the Cypriot property market as a whole will no doubt feel the brunt of the reevaluation programme. Mr Kleanthous explained to Cyprus Property News that there will be areas in Limassol, Nicosia and Larnaca where prime property is being built but there isn't a building permit in place. As the government tackles the valuation of real estate, this will be addressed and developments could be placed on hiatus - even if just for a short time.

Although ensuring the Cypriot tax regime is correct is vital, more bad news for the property sector isn't what it needs at the moment. House sales have reached record lows and figures from the Department of Landlords and Surveys showed that in April, just 285 contracts were deposited at the Land Registry. This is the lowest figure on record.
Article by +Steve Binge on behalf of