+357 25 3136 91
Settings
EUR

Buying property in Cyprus

Chris Michael
by Chris Michael
Updated: June 20, 2024

Buying property in Cyprus offers a unique opportunity for foreigners to live on a beautiful island and invest in a promising real estate market within the European Union.

This guide provides concise information on the legal, financial, and practical aspects of purchasing property in Cyprus to help you make informed decisions.

Buying property in Cyprus

Cyprus at a glance

  • Cyprus is a republic and a full member of the European Union.
  • Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean with thriving business, tourist, and real estate sectors.
  • The currency is the euro.
  • Based on UN data on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the population of Cyprus was 1,226,486 people (including the occupied areas).

The Cyprus legal system and land registry

Cypriot law is a common law system, which means, among other things, that similar cases have similar decisions, and rules developed in cases are followed in similar cases later. The Cyprus legal system is based on the British. Many laws are based on legislation from Britain.

While Cyprus was a colony, the British did a general survey and established the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS). The British project recorded all land. Today, all land is registered in Cyprus.

Interests and rights over land are registered at the DLS. There are district land offices for Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta, Paphos, Kyrenia, and Paralimni. The district offices are responsible for all land registrations and transfers and all land-related business dealings.

There is a DLS electronic portal; however, land registration and transfer can only happen in person at the relevant district office.

Note:

  • The title deed is the document which certifies ownership in Cyprus. It mentions the details of the owner and the land, such as plot number, property type and size in square metres.
  • Mortgages must be registered.
  • Long tenancies (15 years or more) must be registered.

Cities and regions

The main cities and regions of Cyprus are:

The regions of Cyprus are either coastal or close to the sea. Nicosia and Limassol are cosmopolitan and sophisticated, while Larnaca and Paphos are more relaxed. All are good places to live in terms of climate, family life and safety.

As of June 2024, Limassol is the most pricey city in Cyprus, with a median listing home price of € 670,000. At the same time, Larnaca claims the title of the most affordable area, with a median listing home price of € 370,000.

The median listing home price in Paphos is € 590,000, in Nicosia — € 445,000, and in Famagusta — € 592,000. However, since we mainly focus on real estate in Limassol, the number of listings we have in other districts negatively impacts the accuracy of the calculations for these regions.

Choosing location and property

When you decide where you are going to live, you may think about:

  • What use will you make of the property – residence, business, holiday place or investment?
  • How far will it be from your work and amenities?
  • If you have children, is the area child-friendly and near schools and tutorial centres? Our website provides the distances to nearby schools for every residential listing.
  • You might want a bigger place if you plan to have a larger family.

Property types to choose from

Cyprus offers an excellent variety of properties, including villas and detached houses, bungalows, apartments, penthouses and land for your own development projects. Check our listings for all the details.

As of June 2024, the median price for a Cyprus apartment listed on our site is € 550,000, with the median price per square meter being around € 4,359. On the other hand, the median price for a house or villa is € 690,000, with the median price per square meter being around € 3,289.

The preparation

Who can buy property in Cyprus

  • EU nationals are not restricted from buying property in Cyprus.
  • Third-country nationals must apply for permission from the Council of Ministers.
  • British nationals fall into the category of third-country nationals after Brexit.

Professionals you need to get in touch with

The two professionals you need are a real estate agent and a lawyer.

The real estate agent knows the market, the developers, and how things are done. Real estate agencies operate according to a strict code of professional conduct and honesty.

The lawyer (or law firm) is there to help with the documentation, ensure that the proper legal process is followed and protect your rights. He/she will explain the relevant law and help you avoid problems. Also, the lawyer will perform due diligence, which means that he/she will search the land registry to find any charges, tenancies, planning rules or other burdens that may affect the property.

Additionally, you might need a currency exchange specialist to help with money transfers from abroad and the complexities of currency rates. Note that all Cyprus banks offer currency exchange services.

Buying without visiting the country

Buying real estate in Cyprus without visiting is possible by finding local professionals and using a proxy document. The proxy appoints a person (for example, a lawyer or real estate agent) to act as your agent and representative during the sale and transfer of land/ real estate or the rental agreement discussion and negotiations.

The proxy can be specific, that is, for a particular purpose or general, for general purposes.

The person appointed as your proxy is in a “fiduciary position”. This means that they must act in an honest, loyal and responsible manner towards you.

A foreign proxy document must be stamped and certified at the Cyprus Embassy or Consulate to be valid in Cyprus. The rule is the same whether your country is an EU member state or not.

Costs of buying and budget matters

When designing your budget, be realistic. There will undoubtedly be extra costs of buying property in Cyprus:

At the same time, your earnings for the future may not be as high as expected. So, develop a practical and viable payment plan before deciding which property to buy. The lawyer or real estate agent may work with you on this.

All Cyprus banks offer mortgage deals. A stable source of income is necessary to get a mortgage.

With the mortgage to buy property, there must be a life insurance contract and one for fire and earthquake insurance (that is, insurance for the structure of the house or building). However, you do not need to have all three contracts with the same people; the bank cannot demand this. You can do the two insurance contracts separately.

The legal side explained

Reaching an agreement

When you reach an agreement to buy the property, make sure that the important points have been clarified. Put all the important points in writing.

These important points are:

  • price;
  • method of payment (payment structure);
  • location;
  • which property is being sold;
  • are there any mortgages taken on the property, and can the seller pay them;
  • are there title deeds;
  • what is the condition of the property;
  • when can you move in;
  • timeline.

Discuss any extras or repairs that may need to be made to the property. Agree on who will pay for them. Put these issues in writing.

The seller does not have to reveal all details (“no duty of disclosure”). However, if you ask a question, the seller has to answer truthfully. He/she must not use dishonesty to persuade you to sign, and he/she must not put inside contract terms that are inaccurate.

In any of the above situations, if the seller breaches (“breaks”) the contract, you have a claim against him/her. Going to court is expensive and takes a long time in Cyprus; first, you might wish to negotiate with the seller or discuss the matter with a third neutral person who will help with the problem.

The contract of sale

The contract of sale is the central point in the agreement. The lawyer should ensure that the contract is drafted clearly, in a manner that deals with your personal situation and contains the essential points mentioned above.

Specific performance – protection for the buyer

The Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law No. 81(I)/ 2011 protects a property buyer in Cyprus.

This is because the property is often mortgaged by the seller, who may then delay transferring the title deeds to the buyer. This situation is considered one of the most common pitfalls of buying real estate on the island.

To be protected under the new law, the buyer must register the contract of sale at the Land Registry and repay the mortgage him/herself. Then, the buyer will ask the court for an order of “specific performance”, that is, to make the seller transfer the property to the buyer.

The buyer must register the contract within 6 months.

Once the buyer gets the order from the court, he/she has 1 year to apply to the land registry to have the property registered in the buyer’s name.

If the contract is not registered, the court can still order specific performance if, first, it is just and reasonable to do so and, second, it will not affect the rights of any third parties (third persons involved in the matter).

Note

It is the buyer’s responsibility to stamp the contract of sale at the Inland Revenue. The stamp duty must be paid within 30 days of the contract's signing. Read more about stamp duty rates in Cyprus.

The buyer or the buyer’s lawyer registers the contract with the Land Registry.

The seller’s lawyer must provide a tax clearance certificate (i.e. show that all the taxes concerning the property have been paid). For more details, see below.

When the property is delivered, the buyer connects the utilities (water, electricity, telephone & etc.).

Filing the contract of sale

Filing the contract of sale with the district lands office is essential in protecting your property (see above).

Transfer through the Land Registry

After signing the contract and paying, the seller and buyer (“the parties”) will transfer the property through the Land Registry in Cyprus. For this, they must appear at the district lands office. If they appear in person, they must have ID cards or another document proving their ID. The parties can carry out the transaction (i.e. the transfer) through their authorised agents, such as their lawyers.

Forms to complete

  • Form N. 270 (declaration of transfer of immovable property) attaching the property's certificate of registration (title).
  • Form N. 313, which certifies that all taxes regarding the property have been paid.

Transfer fees

The buyer pays the transfer fees to the DLS. Our article explains how to calculate the transfer fee.

There is no transfer fee if VAT has been paid (see below).

Buying property without the title deeds

It is recommended that, before buying property without the title deeds, a buyer should try to find out why title deeds have not been issued.

A Land Registry search, carried out by a lawyer at the Land Registry, will show any mortgages and other useful information about the property (see due diligence above).

Although buying without title deeds is not recommended, there is protection for the buyer who buys mortgaged property.

For contracts signed before 12 December 2023, the buyer may repay the existing mortgage and, if the seller does not transfer the title (title deeds), ask the court for a specific performance order against the seller. The effect of this order is to make the seller fulfill their obligations, i.e. transfer the property.

For contracts signed after 12 December 2023, protection is enhanced by an amendment to the Sale of Property (Specific Performance) Law 2011 by Law 132(I)/ 2023.

Under the new rules, the seller should get a search certificate for the property from the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS). This is a document showing any mortgages. The search certificate will be included in the contract of sale and must not be more than 5 days older than the date of signing the contract.

Then the seller and lender will sign a declaration that if the buyer pays 95% of the mortgage, they will release the property so that the DLS can transfer it to the buyer. If they fail to do that, the DLS will transfer the property anyway, provided the buyer brings a receipt that they have repaid the mortgage.

There are strict administrative fines for sellers who fail to observe the new rules.

Property taxes in Cyprus

VAT on property

First-time buyers pay a (reduced) VAT of 5% when they buy or build less than 130 sq m. Other buyers pay the standard rate of 19%. Persons with disabilities are entitled to a reduced VAT on the first 190 sq m of property.

The value of the residence must not exceed 350,000 euros, and the value of the whole transaction should not exceed 475,000 euros.

Mortgage registration fee

If applicable, it is 1% of the market value of the property.

Immovable Property tax

The immovable property tax was abolished in Cyprus in January 2017.

Inheritance tax

There is no inheritance tax in Cyprus.

Tax clearance certificate

To transfer property in Cyprus, the seller must get a tax clearance certificate (see also above).

To get the tax clearance certificate, the seller must pay:

As of June 2024, the form (Greek, PDF, available on the Tax Department website) still mentions the Immovable Property Tax, which was abolished in 2017.

The capital gains tax is taxed if the seller is selling privately (not as a business) and he/she has made a profit out of the sale, i.e., he/she sold the property at a price higher than he/she originally paid for it. The capital gains tax is 20%.

If the seller is selling as a business, the business will pay income tax on the property. For limited companies, the tax is 12,5%; for private traders, the rate varies according to received income.

Homeowners’ taxes

The taxes a homeowner will pay are:

  • Local authority fees to pay for charges like waste collection and street lighting.
  • Annual municipality tax.
  • Sewerage tax.
  • Communal expenses (this is applicable only for apartments or housing complexes).

The amount of tax depends on the municipality, so you are advised to check the municipality's official website. For instance, Limassol charged apartments 170 euros in 2023 for waste collection; the exact amount is the average for waste collection in Larnaca.

Municipalities levy a tax of 0,24 per thousand on immovable properties as the annual municipality tax. The amount varies based on each city's property value (Section 74, Municipalities Law 111/1985). The value is as of 2021.

Buying property in Cyprus for residency

Purchasing property in Cyprus will be of help if you wish to apply for any of the following residence permits (or “visas”):

  • Cyprus permanent residency by investment
  • Cyprus category F residency
  • Work
  • Category C and E
  • Freelance visa (Pink slip)

Note that:

  • The Cyprus investor visa is available with a property worth 300,000 EUR or more.
  • Category C is for business owners; Category E is for employees.
  • The Freelance visa is applicable only if you live on your funds; you cannot work in the Republic.

You can bring family members with you in all cases, but you should check with a good immigration lawyer for details about the paperwork.

Foreign nationals can acquire Cyprus citizenship after residing in the country for 4 to 8 years, depending on their proficiency in the Greek language.

Social etiquette

It is a matter of good social etiquette that you inform personal and professional contacts of your change of address.

Checklist of who to inform when you change address:

  • Relatives and friends;
  • Employer and landlord (if applicable);
  • Lawyer;
  • Government offices, such as social security, pensions, income tax, vehicle registration, municipality, and the post office;
  • Schools, colleges, universities;
  • Clubs, memberships, subscriptions;
  • Healthcare (doctor, dentist, veterinary doctor);
  • Creditors (bank, mortgage, insurance, credit card companies);
  • Utilities (phone, TV, internet company, electricity, water, heating/fuel/gas company).

When changing your address within Cyprus, phone the customer service centre to notify the telephone company (including CYTA).

For the electricity authority of Cyprus, visit the local customer service centre to obtain and complete the necessary forms. You should carry your passport and ID, proof of address, and payment for a deposit. 

You will also request that the electricity be disconnected from your previous address.

For water, notify the local water authority.

Foreign nationals should inform the Civil Registry and Migration Department at ecivil.crmd.moi.gov.cy (eCivil).

FAQs

Disclaimer

This Guide provides information and practical advice on buying a property in Cyprus. It is meant to give as accurate a picture as possible of the laws and practices concerning sellers and buyers. Every effort is made to keep the information precise and updated. However, this Guide is not responsible for any issues concerning your personal case and circumstances. For advice on your situation and property and the potential of the real estate market, it is highly recommended that you consult a professional lawyer, a financier and or a real estate agent.

Table of contents
  • Cyprus at a glance
  • Choosing location and property
  • The preparation
  • Costs of buying and budget matters
  • The legal side explained
  • Property taxes in Cyprus
  • Homeowners’ taxes
  • Buying property in Cyprus for residency
  • Social etiquette
  • FAQs