The Cyprus real estate sector is recovering both in volume and value, and demand for luxury property continues to be high, says Cybarco CEO Michalis Hadjipanayiotou.
Cybarco has a long history of real estate development in Cyprus, what is the secret to your success and how do you see Cybarco developing in the next five years?
Cybarco celebrated a significant milestone in 2015, a year that marked the 70th year of a successful history as one of the largest construction and luxury real estate development companies in Cyprus. Innovation, quality, a client-centred relationship and a commitment to its people and partners are all values that attribute to the solid foundations of Cybarco and its future growth. We aim to continue creating projects that positively impact the way we live and work in Cyprus. From a company strategy standpoint, in the next five years we’ll continue focusing on the premium and luxury segment of the real estate market offering unique and exclusive projects at the right value to our customers.
Limassol Marina constitutes an important development in Cyprus, how would you assess the success of this project?
Limassol Marina has become a solid example of the breadth of our capabilities here in Cyprus. The development’s results to date, coupled with our customers’ and visitors’ feedback, reflect the standard and quality we are able to produce with a work ethic of vision and dedication at its core. We started construction in the middle of a global crisis in 2010, and had to endure the aftermath of the collapse of the Cyprus banking system in 2013, yet despite all these difficulties and challenges we managed to deliver a full-service operational marina with a brand new residential and commercial destination in Cyprus. Our property sales have exceeded €200 million, with all phases delivered according to schedule. We can now proudly say that 95% of our apartments and 60% of our completed villas have been sold, and we have attracted superyachts of up to 110m in length to Cyprus’ waters for the very first time in our history, as well as generating a flow of traffic of an average of 3,000 people to the marina on a daily basis. We have opened new markets for the island, enticed some fantastic new brands to the shopping area like Graff Diamonds, Halcyon Gallery and given Limassol a new landmark to enhance its image on an international scale. I am confident the project will continue to have a positive impact on Cyprus, our tourism and our economy. It really has changed the face of Limassol.
Cybarco is currently constructing The Oval, a structure that is set to become an iconic landmark in Limassol, could you give a brief overview of this project and are there more similar projects in the pipeline?
The Oval, soon to be the most state-of-the-art office building in Cyprus, is the latest development attracting international companies to the island. Setting new standards in workplace design, it is located just 100m from the sea in Limassol, Cyprus’ key business district. Now in its final year of construction, The Oval will stand 16 floors high at 75m when it is completed in 2016. Each of the building’s light-filled floors enjoys uninterrupted sea views, while the flexible open plan design makes it simple to adjust to the requirements of any business. The project’s distinctive design is complemented by a luxury reception area on the ground floor, landscaped gardens and a cafeteria, as well as the services offered including property management, 24-hour security and controlled access to both the building’s premises and the two underground parking levels. With an energy performance certificate of ‘A’ rating, the project is a sustainable development using geothermal energy to minimise carbon emissions. The Oval is a very unique opportunity for investment, a true international business centre in all its sense, comparable with the ones found in Europe. Our focus is to have unique and exclusive developments in our portfolio, therefore the next two projects in the pipeline are The Lanitis Seafront, which will consist of three skyscrapers with residential units, offices and a commercial area that will create a new destination to live, work and entertain in Limassol and Limassol Greens, the first in-city golf course only five minutes from Limassol Marina.
How would you describe the current situation of the real estate market in Cyprus, and where do you see the most opportunity for investment?
Worldwide challenges such as financial banking problems, reduction of oil prices or regional conflicts contribute to the sense of worldwide instability. This affects all businesses and it is only natural for this to have a knock-on effect on real estate. However, in Cyprus this sector seems to be recovering both in volume and value. Where luxury property is concerned, there continues to be great demand and limited supply. This trend is most evident at Limassol Marina, where prices have been increasing due to a strong demand for its residential component.
What key markets are proving most fertile in terms of business and what new markets are you targeting?
In our case we are focusing and will continue to focus on Russia, the Middle East and Asia. Despite the economic crisis, Russia is still the market that we feel will drive luxury sales in the future.
What key advantages and incentives does Cyprus offer to foreign investors looking to break into the real estate market?
Cyprus offers a series of financial benefits to investors. Upcoming exclusive projects like Lanitis Seafront and Limassol Greens offer sound returns in term of IRR generated by capital appreciation and price increases in the years to come. There are good rental yields in the market plus other important benefits as zero capital gains tax, lower VAT and zero transfer fees.
How could Cyprus and its government further help support the strengthening of the real estate sector?
The government has contributed vastly to the current recovery of the sector through the launch of new incentives, the permanent residency programme and the citizenship scheme. We are competing for high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in a global market so we need to make investing easy and have a more business-friendly attitude. It is also vital that we speed up the process for the acquisition of title deeds and project planning permits.
What are your expectations for 2016 and what message would you like to relay to the international business community?
There is great potential with the recovery of the Cyprus economy, and we are receiving international recognition and country financial upgrades from the international evaluation bodies. The instability in the Middle East makes Cyprus the perfect place to invest and attract buyers both from the region, as well as from Asia and Europe. Cyprus is a great place to live and work and I am confident that 2016 will see great improvement in the economy.