30/09/16A view from…Cyprus!

A view from...Cyprus!

I don’t know whether its ‘Blog protocol’ to use a holiday picture-but here we are! myself on the left, then going around clockwise; Tina (my wife) our good friend Ria who lives in Cyprus, my son Noah and our good friends Janette and Carl who came with us.
So what-I hear you say-has this got to do with a financial blog?

Well….I thought I’d try something different. A bit ‘Alan Whicker’ meets ‘Robert Peston’ type thing….your feedback will tell me whether this worked..or not!

Cyprus-a population of 1.17m as of 2016 and a land mass of roughly 9,000 km2, Wales 3m population on a land mass of 20,000 km2 is almost proportionally the same size with regards to population and land mass.

So it comes as no surprise, that in certain beach areas along Cyprus’ southerly coastline, the five of us were virtually alone and had swathes of beach and Mediterranean Sea as well as 34 degree heat, all to ourselves. We were staying 15 minutes drive from Larnaca Airport in a village called Pervolia. The picture was taken around 7.30pm on a Saturday Night…It seems that the tourists were more interested in Paphos, Ayia Nappa, Downton Larnaca or Limassol, as opposed to this little village and as far as the locals and the tourists that were there, that suited everyone fine.

It seemed to me, in this part of the world, taking it easy while working was the mantra. Nothing too busy please…just a gentle trickle of customers, with plenty of time on their hands is what there all about. As a relaxing holiday, that suited us fine-but…That ethic? in a Eurozone country? what’s that all about? and that, readers, is what bugged me. Now don’t get me wrong, Cyprus has every right to want to be chilled-200 miles east & Southeast is Lebanon/Israel 200 miles Northwest is Syria, 100 miles north is Turkey and a couple of hundred miles south is Egypt, so its not surprising that Cyprus becomes a relative Oasis of calm. Even the busy town of Larnaca, franchise owners of Haagen Das, KFC, Burger King etc, sit outside drinking Iced Coffee, inviting the lovely ladies to sit down and enjoy a similar beverage, appearing to pay no attention to the fact that the restaurant is quiet and maybe, like a few years ago, he should be offering menus and discounts to passers by, in the hope they’ll sit down and spend a few Euro’s.

On building sites (on which there were several) the laissez faire attitude appeared to exist along the banal decision to lay tarmac at 11am in 30 odd degree heat hoping it will set. With no signs put up, a lot of people walked onto to the path, becoming temporarily stuck and the workmen tutting as they had to re-apply the tarmac. Far be it for me to suggest laying it at 5am and then finish the day at 1pm! these workers toiled in the heat until 4pm most days. It was also interesting to note the half finished buildings. It turns out that the government demand taxes on built-but empty properties-from the developers, so the developers build a shell and wait until they sell it, before completing it-consequently, there are plenty of what looked like ‘Abandoned builds’ and houses with no roofs, swimming pools etc, as the developer waits to sell it.

But the quietness of this space between Paphos and larnanca and Larnaca and Ayia Nappa may not be quiet for long. 5 and 7 million Euro mansions are being built in areas such as Limassol and Pervolia. why? because wealthy Lebanese and Russians are buying them up. Why are they buying them up? because according to the locals, spent upwards of 5m Euros on a property and you get a Cypriot Passport & residency. Spend 300k Euros on a property and you get residency. A boardwalk is being built from Pervolia to Larnaca. The boardwalk will have houses to left, which will look over the sea to the right. This will not only sell the houses, but must surely indicate that restaurants, Bars, clubs, supermarkets, etc must soon be opening, to cater for these newly found ‘residents’

‘Passports for Houses’ in Cyprus first raised its head in the FT in 2013. There are clear concerns about whose buying the properties, the money laundering checks that go on etc. That aside, Cyprus could become a quiet little spot for a lot of money and with that money, Cyprus could become a jewel in the severely dented and tarnished Euro Crown. Only time will tell.

Hope you enjoyed a different type of blog from me-please let me know!


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