Ownership in Cyprus is safeguarded by the Constitution which provides for the equality of all persons and respect for human rights, including the right to ownership, without discriminations. Cyprus residents enjoy all rights relating to ownership of their property without any interference from either the State or individuals. The Department of Lands and Surveys provides all services related to immovable property in general. This department also monitors and protects all rights associated with immovable property, land surveying, cartography, registration, transfer and mortgage of immovable property, ownership of land, evaluation of immovable property and management of state land.
Who is entitled to acquire immovable property in Cyprus?
EU citizens are entitled to own any freehold property of unlimited size.
Nationals of non-European Union countries must obtain authorisation from the Council of Ministers before they can acquire any type of immovable property. Such authorisation is granted to all bona fide purchasers if they can provide evidence that the property was paid for with funds transferred to Cyprus from overseas. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, such ownership is limited to an apartment, a house or a building plot or land up to approximately 4.014 square meters. Buyers can take possession of their property without restriction.
The Acquisition Process
The process of purchasing property in Cyprus is relatively simple, thanks to an updated and sophisticated Land Registry, and a series of effective legal safeguards.
A Contract of Sale concluded between the Vendor and the Purchaser defines the binding obligations of both sides.
After the Contract of Sale is executed, the Purchaser is liable to stamp duty, before the Contract of Sale is registered in the Land Registry Department files, in accordance with the terms of The Sale of Land (Specific Performance) Law No. 81(I)/2011. This procedure protects purchasers’ ownership rights until the title deeds are issued and transferred to their names.
Stamp duty, which is payable by the Purchaser upon signing the Contract of Sale, is a scaled one-off levy linked to the contractual purchase price, as below. To avoid penalties, Stamp Duty must be paid within 30 days of signing the Contract of Sale.
- CONTRACT VALUESTAMP DUTY
- €1 – €5.000,00NIL
- €5.001,00 – €170.000,000.15%
- Over €170.000,000.20%
There is a Stamp Duty ceiling of €20,000.
Land Registry Deposition Fees
A fee of €50.00 is payable by the Purchaser when lodging the Contract of Sale with the Land Registry Department.
To transfer the Title Deeds of any property and register it in the Purchaser’s name, the Land Registry Department will charge a one-off transfer fee, which is based on the market value of the property at the time of purchase and is payable by the Purchaser. The rates are on a graduated scale and are calculated as follows:
- CONTRACT VALUETRANSFER FEE RATE
- €1 – €85.000,003%
- €85.000,00 – €170.000,005%
- Over €170.000,008%
1. No transfer fees are due if the property sale is subject to VAT.
2. For properties not subject to VAT, a 50% reduction applies to the above transfer fees.
Inheritance tax has been abolished and is no longer imposed in Cyprus.
Value Added Tax
The standard rate of VAT that applies to the sale of immovable property is 19%.
If a property will be used as the primary and permanent place of residence, a reduced rate of 5% applies to the first 200 square meters of a property, and the standard rate of 19% for the remainder (if applicable), based on the building coefficient.
The sale of land is exempt from VAT.
Capital Gains Tax
Capital Gains Tax is imposed at the rate of 20% on profits from the disposal of immovable property situated in Cyprus. Gains from the disposal of shares in companies which directly own such immovable property is also subject to Capital Gains Tax.
The following deductions are granted to individuals once in their lifetime:
- For sale of own residence€85.430
- For sale of agricultural land by a farmer€25.629
- For other sales€17.086
Any combination of the above exemptions may not exceed €85.430 per individual.
Immovable Property Tax
Immovable Property Tax is abolished as from 1 January 2017.
Local Authority Fees
Depending on the size of the property, property taxes by the local authorities are charged annually for regular garbage disposal, street lighting, and similar community services.
An annual Sewerage Tax, calculated on the market value of the property as at 1st of January 1980, is payable to the local Sewerage Board. Rates vary from 3% to 7%.
Common expenses are paid by owners of any property which has shared communal areas, services or facilities. The cost depends on the area of each property (m²) and the facilities and services available at each specific development.