We have all experienced strange and unprecedented times these last few months due to Covid-19. This crisis has impacted a lot of companies, directly and indirectly, most of them in a negative way, while others that were highly driven by online sales have experienced huge growth. The current situation has also affected extensively the real estate market. Online meetings and presentations are part of our daily routine. However, this situation has also affected the buying behaviour of the buyers, such as the reasons behind a purchase, the place to buy, and even the size of the house itself.
Following a lot of questions we have received recently through our potential clients, we answer below the most commonly asked questions. These are questions that everyone involved in the real estate market must be able to answer and the more favourable the answers are the better the chances to reach a deal.
- Is your country self-sufficient in terms of food and energy?
We all used to take food and other necessities for granted, but we have all noticed food disappearing from the shelves in the last few months. Luckily Cyprus is situated in the Mediterranean Sea and enjoys the unique Mediterranean climate. This climate allows the island to produce on its soil vegetables, herbs, nuts, and fruits that can cover all of your needs. The Mediterranean diet is famous around the world for its health benefits and it can be easily enjoyed in Cyprus even from your backyard garden. During this pandemic, no Cyprus resident has experienced a lack of food.
Cyprus is not currently producing any primary sources of energy other than renewable and relies heavily on imported petroleum products, which account for 90% of final energy consumption in the island. Fortunately, in 2004 huge amounts of gas reserves have been discovered in the EEZ of the island. Since 2011 many drillings took place by all the big players in the Oil and Gas industry in the Cyprus EEZ. Following the agreement for the EASTMED pipeline, Cyprus will become a strategic partner of Europe as for the first time ever Europe will produce its own gas, creating opportunities for further growth and a more stable economy.
- Is a comprehensive health insurance policy included in my application fee?
There is a common belief among all the people around the world that health is the most important thing we have and especially today the value of health has increased dramatically. Therefore, it is crucial for potential buyers to have peace of mind with regards to their healthcare when it comes to the place to purchase a house. GHS is the universal health system in Cyprus. It has been launched in 2019 and received loads of positive feedback so far. The response to Covid-19 has been extraordinary and proved the quality of our healthcare system. The high standard and quality service provided by the hospitals under GHS is available to all the residents and citizens of Cyprus who are only paying a very small contribution per year (see PwC publication for more info). Cyprus healthcare system ranks 24th among the 100 countries studied by the World Health Organisation.
In case your current private health insurance does not cover you for the few days you might spend in Cyprus before everything is set up for your residency or passport, this can be covered by Domenica Group, assuming you have already finalise the agreement with the Company.
- How did your country fare during the pandemic?
There is no doubt the pandemic affected everyone; however, Cyprus was one of the few countries who responded proactively to this crisis and took measures early on. The government followed the guidelines of the experts and took the right measures, showing its ability to respond quickly and resolve issues. New York Times has published an article regarding the spectacular response of our small island to Covid-19. Cyprus ranks 6th in Europe in tests/million people and 12th worldwide. It has also one of the lowest mortality rates worldwide which again builds confidence to the people living on the island or even visiting this year. In fact, due to the low number of Coronavirus cases, Cyprus is among the countries accepting travellers in 2020.
- Will your country organize a repatriation flight for me in times of crisis?
Cyprus acted very proactively with regards to repatriation flights. Since the lockdown and the closure of airports for commercial flights, the government has been repatriating every day between 200-300 people. Priority has been given to the vulnerable groups (elderly, people with serious health issues and students).
- What is the population density in your country (people/Km²)?
130 – Cyprus;
281 – UK;
8358 – Singapore.
- What is it like to actually live in your country? Can I find work, leisure activities I like, other people like me, and schools for my children?
Living in Cyprus has been a dream for a lot of foreigners. It is an island in the Mediterranean Sea with generally dry long summers and mild winters. The sandy beaches can be accessed throughout the year since the sun shines here for over 300 days per year. At the same time, you can access the ski resorts during the winter season in Troodos Mountains, all within 40 minutes drive from each other. The spectacular landscapes of the island have something to offer for every person and every taste.
Working in Cyprus is easier than anywhere else in Europe. The low corporation tax, standing currently at 12,5%, has attracted the eye of tax planners worldwide. Many international companies have operations in Cyprus due to its cost-effectiveness, tax, flexible legislation, skilled workforce and the very high quality of living offering to their employees. Sectors such as banking, hospitality, accounting, law, shipping and soon energy are flourishing in the island. The main language used by these companies in their daily activities is English and not Greek (local language), making it very easy to foreigners to find a job.
At the same time, creating a company in Cyprus is very simple and tax-effective especially for foreign residents, who can withdraw money from the Company in the form of dividends taxed at 0% (locals are taxed at 17%), while taking advantage of the 12,5% corporation tax. Our Company can help you create your own company through our large network of partners and associates all over the island.
Following a survey from PwC in 2019, foreigners acquired 45% (2482/5560) of all the properties sold in the first quarter of 2019, of which 70% were non-EU residents and the rest 30% were EU residents. Therefore, Cyprus is a multicultural country that respects diversity, and every person, irrespectively of nationality or religion, is welcome.
For all of us who have children and they are our priority, the public schools and universities are free, and any Cyprus resident and citizen can access them. For those who want their children to attend international schools, there are 36 private international schools all over Cyprus from which you can choose from.
Considering taking the plunge and investing in the real estate market in Cyprus? Contact Domenica Group today to find out more on options for living and doing business in this amazing place.
Michalis Doukanaris (Mr)