Reasons for optimism in construction sector

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said that the real estate sector is now showing dynamic growth that allows optimism about the future.

Addressing the General Assembly of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association (LBDA), he said "The real estate market is moving at a satisfactory pace at all levels, both in terms of sales and number of building permits, where we find today that real estate sales are at about pre-crisis levels, with even more optimistic prospects.” He added that this also has a significant social dimension, as employment in the construction sector is increasing at a similar rate, the Cyprus News Agency reports.

The President pointed out the important and effective measures and incentives that the Government has adopted and which, beyond any doubt, have been beneficial and have contributed to the improvement of the business environment.

He also noted that Cyprus last year was among ten countries that have made most progress in attracting investment.
"Today, a significant part of economic activity in our country is the result of new investments, either with foreign or local funds," he said.

He also referred to government incentives such as town planning, tax and other incentives for new developments, which, as he said, played a key role in halting the recession and returning to growth.

The President said that although there has been significant progress in improving the business environment, there is still a need for further simplification of procedures, faster licensing of investment projects and more facilities to businesses.

In this context, he said, the government enhanced the framework for growth policy through the bills it has submitted to the House, concerning the creation of three executive, independent ministries, for growth and competitiveness, tourism and shipping. He also expressed the conviction that the House and the political parties will approve these bills.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the President emphasized the need for constant vigilance to promote the necessary reforms in the country. He added that this persistence is based on the observation that, where the reforms are either completed or progressing, the results are undoubtedly positive and are reflected not only in growth rates, public finances and investment confidence, but also in specific international competitiveness indicators. Chairman of the Association Pantelis Leptos, addressing the General Assembly stressed that more than four years after the events of March 2013, the real estate industry has not only managed to stabilize but it also shows strong signs of substantial recovery.

He also noted that according both the Association`s and the state`s estimations, the amount invested in the Cypriot economy by foreign investors in the real estate market over the past three years is estimated at over € 4 billion. He also said that the land and building development sector employs over 35,000 people and offers opportunities for cooperation to thousands of other professionals in many industries.

President of the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEB) Christos Michaelides referred to the need for practical measures and incentives to help the growth of the real economy.

He said efforts to attract foreign capital should continue uninterruptedly and that the role of the land development sector remains essential.

Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) President Christodoulos Angastiniotis said that the exploitation of schemes for citizenship by investment, is of crucial importance for the economy, and he appealed to members of the Association and to all those involved in the field, to promote these plans, strictly based on the spirit and the letter of the law and regulations.

As he said, in case of malfunctions and short-sighted practices, the impact will be negative not only for the industry but also for the whole economy of the island.

Addressing the conference Melanthi Nicolaou, on behalf of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI Cyprus), said that both the Association and FIABCI members in recent years have made a major contribution to the recovery of the economy of Cyprus, proving that no economic disaster is irreversible.