Anfisa Chernaya: The Balance Between Demand and Supply

Anfisa Chernaya: The Balance Between Demand and Supply

  • Вторник, 23 января 2024 08:15
  • What is happening with rental property prices? What kind of property is in highest demand? What does the future hold for Cyprus’ real estate market? “Successful Business” spoke with Cypriot real estate expert and leader of several projects, Anfisa Chernaya.

    Can you tell us what is happening in the Cypriot real estate sector? Where is everything heading, how is the market changing, are there any new requests that developers and builders need to adapt to?

    The beginning of 2023 marked a downturn in the rental market in Limassol. Those who rent out properties hoped that tourists would come in the summer and that more large companies would relocate to the island in 2023, bringing some of their employees with them. But the miracle didn’t happen. There were rumours that the war with Hamas would force Israelis to move to Cyprus, meaning they would rent and buy property.

    However, the Israelis who did arrive tend to rent the most affordable properties, as they plan to return to Israel as soon as possible. The usual Limassol segment of luxury or (even) business-class properties doesn’t interest them.

    Can we expect any changes?

    From experience, I can say that the real estate market is prone to fluctuating up and down approximately every one and a half years. This is due to global economic processes, currency rate dynamics, military actions, the pandemic, and so on. There will definitely be a rise. I expect it around the middle of 2024. I think the interest in renting is stimulated by changes that have occurred in Cypriot legislation.

    How significantly have rental prices in Limassol fallen?

    I would say by 30%. In some cases, even 40%. That’s a lot. Clients have plenty to choose from, as the market has seen new, recently-built houses and apartments. New housing competes with secondary market properties, and as of today, supply has greatly exceeded demand. However, I believe that in 2024, rental prices will increase again, and a balance between demand and supply will be restored.

    Is the situation similar in the sales sector?

    For professionals in the real estate sector, the picture is much more positive regarding sales. Many large investors have turned their attention to Cyprus. They have specific requests: now, investors want to purchase projects that are ready for execution and have obtained all construction permits. The average investment cheque for such projects is around 3 million euros.

    What kind of property is currently in demand?

    The greatest interest is in two-bedroom apartments costing up to 450,000 euros. In second place are three-bedroom apartments not exceeding 800,000 euros. I try very hard in my projects to fit into this price segment. One-bedroom apartments in Limassol are often purchased on credit, people take loans from banks. In this case, the buyers are looking at properties ranging from 135,000 to 185,000 euros in the economy class segment: this is quite affordable housing without heating and often built without using quality thermal insulation materials.

    Is the demand for buying apartments higher than for buying houses?

    Yes, definitely. Currently, 70% of enquiries are specifically for apartments. Houses, especially in Limassol, are not cheap. For example, five years ago, you could buy a house for between 380,000 and 450,000 euros. Now, the average cost of a house is 1 million euros. And that’s far from the best option; such houses often require major repairs.

    What are the trends in the Cypriot real estate market in 2024? What will happen with sales?

    Changes in the citizenship acquisition legislation will greatly affect the market. And they are already having an impact. This will attract digital nomads who are hesitating between living in Thailand, Malta, and Cyprus. They will be coming here.

    Additionally, I believe that Cyprus joining the Schengen Area is not far off. We mustn’t forget the tax advantages. I know of at least five companies seriously considering relocating to Cyprus because of these reasons.

    This indicates that demand for modern, quality housing will not decline. Despite everything happening in the world, people continue to earn money, buy property, and invest in construction projects. It’s clear that buyers are evaluating the market to see who is working conscientiously and who is just in it for a quick profit.

    What does this mean?

    Now, construction companies really need to work well on their product and think through the details, as the buyer has become more demanding. It’s necessary to increase room sizes, create storage systems (remember when our homes had built-in wardrobes, storerooms, and mezzanines?). If the product is well-thought-out and made for people’s convenience and comfort, it will sell well (of course, if it has a reasonable price).

    What else is lacking on the island in terms of real estate?

    There’s a lack of a certain community that would help create products based on public opinion. I think any construction company would be interested in this. We also lack initiative groups to qualitatively improve our cities. Much needs to be organised through the state, philanthropists, and businessmen who live here and benefit from tax advantages. It’s easier to sell in beautiful cities.

    Can you tell us about your activities in 2023? And what are your plans for 2024?

    In 2023, I took on three projects. The first project, named Elvis, is a modern complex building comprising 11 apartments and two magnificent penthouses. This building is designed for the Russian-speaking target audience, prioritising quality heating systems and high three-metre ceilings. Our complex is located near a municipal park. It faces low-rise buildings, so all apartments have a beautiful view. The project is expected to be completed by July 2025.

    The second project is called ‘Diamond Valley’. It’s a club village in the Agios Tychonas area, currently in the early stages of construction. It will be completed in exactly two years, possibly even earlier. There are 45 apartments for sale, including studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments. The exterior facades of the buildings resemble villas or townhouses. It looks very modern. The roof slopes resemble the facets of diamonds, hence the name ‘Diamond Valley’. This project will feature luxurious infrastructure: a large swimming pool, sauna, beauty salon, kiosk, gym, co-working area, dietician’s office, yoga corner, café, a modern large hall for various events, and round-the-clock security.

    The speed of construction is impressive. All this in two years...

    Yes, we strive to build quickly without compromising on quality, paying due attention to each construction stage. And I want to emphasise: our prices are very affordable. A studio can be purchased from 210,000 euros. Three-bedroom apartments from 875,000 euros. This is incredible for projects with such a level of infrastructure.

    Tell us about your third project...

    It’s not just a project. It’s a new construction company with an innovative approach to each project. We called it Real Onyx Development Group. Our first project is a building named Fancy Urban near the Era shopping centre on Makarios Avenue. Cyprus has not seen such facades before. It’s an absolutely innovative design and layout.

    Why is your company called ‘Real Onyx’?

    While studying at University, I read a lot about various finishing materials and panels. Onyx particularly caught my attention. It is hardly used in Cyprus due to its high cost. But it has healing properties, relaxing after a hard day, helping with insomnia, relieving stress. Therefore, we use onyx in bathroom finishes, showers, and kitchen countertops. Essentially, such an apartment will aid in recovery.

    We have two more projects planned, but they are unnamed so far, only the location has been determined, near Ygia Polyclinic and Papas Supermarket. Prices are affordable: one-bedroom apartments start from 235,000 euros plus VAT. This is a brief overview of our plans for 2024.

    I hope the coming year will be successful for everyone working in the real estate sector in Cyprus! And for buyers and renters, it will be a good year as there will be even more options for choosing suitable housing.

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    According to the official Cyprus House Price Index, the first quarter of 2023 showed a quarterly increase of 2.1% and an annual increase of 7.7%. Prices for residential real estate grew most significantly, particularly, apartment prices increased for the seventh consecutive quarter. One of the reasons is the country’s new policy, requiring foreign companies operating in Cyprus to relocate their headquarters to the island. As a result, company owners, managers, and other employees start looking for accommodation. By August 2023, foreigners and expats from non-European Union countries accounted for a third of all sales. Property sales increased by 15% in September 2023, reaching 1,336 transactions compared to 1,157 in the same month of 2022. From January to September 2023, the total number of sale agreements filed across Cyprus was 11,519
    compared to 9,610 for the same period last year, representing a 20% increase.

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    Anfisa Chernaya
    Expert in Cypriot real estate, leader of construction projects in Limassol, and head of the marketing agency Digital Factory. Born in Moscow, she graduated from school with a gold medal and obtained a higher education degree in ‘State and Municipal Administration’. In 2023, she graduated from Neapolis University in Paphos, earning a master’s degree in ‘Real Estate’.

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