ECONOMY

Cyprus property prices fall up to 9.6 percent in Q3

Property prices in Cyprus declined by up to 9.6 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter, surveyors said on Thursday, with demand sapped by a lack of bank credit and high unemployment.

On an annual basis, asking prices for retail space at the end of September fell by 9.6 percent, while for apartments they dropped 6.3 percent and for homes 4.4 percent, an index compiled by the Cyprus branch of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed.

Property prices in Cyprus have been sliding progressively since 2009 after several years of rapid expansion, particularly in the holiday home sector.

However, the fall appears to be slowing, with declines starting to slow as of the second quarter of this year.

RICS said the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, previously more resilient, saw the most pronounced drop in prices in the last quarter. Other districts were showing signs of bottoming out.

Cyprus’s property slump is a headache for banks and mortgage holders, with homeowners left out of pocket with huge debts on property now valued at significantly lower prices.

Cyprus is working through a three-year austerity programme mandated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund after accepting a 10 billion euro international bailout last year. [Reuters]