Chaos for a property in Larnaca
Those involved in the real estate sector, as well as the local authorities of Larnaka, characterize as unprecedented the demand for real estate shown in recent months, mainly by foreigners. This is mainly attributable to the very strong growth prospects opened up after the removal of oil companies and to the large investments planned. The consequence, however, is the constant increase in prices, with some areas now considered out of reach for locals.
"Especially in the last six months, demand has risen sharply for all types of properties. Larnaca has never been in such demand before. We are talking about an increase in demand of about 200% compared to the previous period," Vassos Zakos, real estate agent, director of fox's office in Larnaca, told F.
The greatest interest comes from Israelis, who choose Larnaka because of its prospects and proximity to the airport. However, there is increased demand from both Lebanese and residents of European countries. "The large investments in the marina and the port, as well as in the area of the former refineries, played a big role since everyone sees that the next hot spot in Cyprus is Larnaka."
Lately, however, the availability has decreased sharply, especially of properties for rent, which in some areas are counted on the fingers. "We have a problem with the availability of properties for rent. In terms of sales, resales of second-hand apartments have decreased, while almost all new ones are sold from the plans."
Meanwhile, prices in some areas, Zakos noted, have started to approach those in Nicosia, but remain well below those in Limassol. "A new two-bedroom apartment is sold for about 2,200 euros per square meter in the periphery such as Livadia, Oroklini and Aradippou. In the centre of Larnaka, however, prices are rising exponentially. They are over 3,000 euros per sq.m. and are no longer addressed to the Cypriot market. The same happens with residential buildings. Until before the increase in demand and the high prices, Cyprus was also a good market in Larnaca. With the increase in prices and interest rates, demand from the Cypriot market has been affected, although there are people who can still buy."
Asked if estimates predict a spike in prices to Limassol levels, Zakos said that this will happen if large foreign companies are established in Larnaca along with their employees. "In Limassol this has driven up prices. In Larnaca there is currently no availability of large office space. We have many requests from large companies abroad, but in the end they do not come to Larnaca, firstly because there are no large offices and secondly because there are no properties available for rent for their employees to live in."
The areas with the highest demand
Apart from the city of Larnaka, which is almost saturated, demand for real estate skyrocketed in Oroklini, Livadia, Pyla, Aradippou, Kiti and Pervolia.
The lion's share, as was natural, is reaped by Livadia and Oroklini which, along with Larnaka, have the greatest benefits from the movement of oil tanks. It is noted that in a year the two areas will be municipal districts of Larnaka Municipality.
In Oroklini, which did not have the same restrictions as Larnaca and Livadia since the Seveso directive ended last May, demand for real estate is at an all-time high since last year. "Last year and this year the demand is unprecedented," said community president Neophytos Fakontis, indicating that interest comes from both Cypriots and foreigners. "Russians, Israelis and Lebanese want to stay and invest in Oroklini, but we also have a lot of Cypriots. We are a community that is constantly growing and now has over 11,000 residents." He also added that complexes with dozens of apartments, apartment buildings and many residences are currently being built. "Applications for planning permits are constantly being submitted and plots are constantly being divided within the community. Currently there may be only 4-5 apartments available for rent in Oroklini. Also, there is tremendous demand in the tourist area for the purchase of land for the construction of large villas. Many people ask for shops to rent but unfortunately there are none."
Demand is also at unprecedented levels in Livadia, which has even greater prospects for residential development due to the land released after the removal of Seveso. Lately, in fact, in some areas of the municipality, apartment buildings are springing up like mushrooms. According to Mayor Marios Armenis, some Cypriot land developers are now active exclusively in the area.
Despite its peculiar status, which until recently prevented many from choosing it, there is also great demand in the mixed community of Pyla, on whose coastal front very large investments are planned. Community President Simos Mitides said the area is mainly chosen by Cypriots. "Prices in Pyla have been higher in recent years than both Oroklini and Livadia, because there is a lot of demand that has increased recently."
The case of Aradippou
Of great interest is the case of Aradippou, the demand in which increases year by year, due to its free land and its proximity to the motorway, the airport and the city of Larnaka.
Mayor Evangelos Evangelides indicated that the growth rate of Aradippou is the second largest in Cyprus after Limassol and this is due to the potential offered by the large area of the municipality, which is one of the largest in Cyprus. "As a municipality we receive about 500 applications for new homes every year in our region. Young people who want to build houses prefer our municipality, because in Larnaka there is no available land and in Aradippou there are all the infrastructure and many schools. But we still have a big advantage. We are against tall buildings and we have up to four-storey apartment buildings, which are close to the highway."
They are looking for an antidote to rising prices
Despite the satisfaction with investments and residential development observed in Larnaca, price increases, especially in the city centre, are causing concern with the municipality moving towards providing incentives to land developers to build houses and apartment buildings aimed at the middle and lower strata.
"Larnaca on the one hand has great growth potential, but on the other hand we are concerned about the fact that prices are rising and young couples are struggling. In order for this development to be beneficial, it must be combined with measures for the benefit of Larnaka, in order to have access to affordable housing", the Mayor of Larnaka, Andreas Vyras, told our newspaper, noting that various scenarios are being worked out in the municipality in order to achieve the availability of properties at affordable prices.