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Are Golf Properties in Cyprus still a hot investment?

Until the early part of 2008, any estate agent would tell you that golf properties in Cyprus were the wisest possible investment. But is this still true in today's economic climate?

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When the government announced that it would put Cyprus on the international golfing map by issuing in-principle permits for the construction of fourteen new golfing venues across the Republic back in November 2006, few people foresaw the global economic meltdown which was to follow just eighteen months later. Nor did anyone seem to have considered the extra strain Cyprus’ new golf courses would put on the nation’s water supply.

 

Main Cyprus Golf Courses Page
Larnaca Golf Course
Vikla Golf Course
Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort
Secret Valley Golf Course
Elea Golf Resort
Tsada/Minthis Hills Golf Course
Limni Golf Resort
Cyprus' 14 New Golf Courses?

Otherwise those permits would probably never have been issued in the first place

But issued they were, and something happened which many believe the Ministry of Tourism, whose brainchild the new golf permits originally were, had never considered. The Republic of Cyprus went totally golf-crazy, with everyone and his brother putting in tenders for the construction of golf courses from Polis to Protaras.

And while some of the wilder proposals, such as the ill-fated Oroklini golf course, were rejected out of hand, there were still far more proposals than permits on the table when all was said and done.

 

The first Tee at Secret Valley

Approaching the Green at Aphrodite Hills Golf Course

 

So the long process of assessing the many proposals for new golf courses began

With an average three tenders for every permit on offer, this assessment process was quite an arduous one, and every proposal was scrutinised in great detail. Then, when things finally seemed like they were settling down, something else happened which would prove to be a serious setback for many of the courses.

Cyprus was struck by a severe drought during the winter of 2007/2008. By spring-time, the island’s dams were empty, and the Cypriot Water Board introduced heavy water-rationing which lasted for almost a year and a half.

With the drought came the realisation that the nation’s water supply could not support the hundred and fifty four million gallons per year necessary to irrigate fourteen new 18-hole golf courses, let alone the extra consumption caused by thousands of associated golf properties. In Cyprus' water supply there was no room for leeway

The rules of play had changed, and now the new directive was: “No water, no fairways!”

Everyone would now have to solve their irrigation problems without tapping the nation's supply. What’s more, the next generation of Cyprus’ golf courses would not be allowed to sink boreholes and use the island’s groundwater to irrigate their fairways. In the wake of this new set of government instructions a number of proposed courses were simply dropped, despite some having already sold villas and apartments on their leisure resorts to eager speculators across Europe.

Suddenly, golf properties in Cyprus didn’t seem like such safe investments anymore. And that’s about the time when the bottom fell out of the global economy, delivering the deathblow to another handful of course proposals. The rest, as they say, is history. Faced with far greater expenses for furnishing their resorts with adequate water through desalination plants*, and with far fewer buyers eager to sink their hard-earned money into what were still merely proposed golf resorts, the majority of the remaining courses were abandoned.

Less than two years after the whole of Cyprus started fighting about the fourteen licences, only a handful of courses were left in the running.

Now, in 2010, the first of the survivors (Elea Golf Resort) is nearing completion, while final planning permission was issued for another (Larnaca Golf Course & Country Club). A third, the Limni Golf Resort near Polis, championed by golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, is currently in the final phase of gaining planning approval following endless feasibility studies and alterations to its specifications.

So where does all this leave golf properties in Cyprus?

Like the existing golf courses at Aphrodite Hills, Secret Valley, and Tsada/Minthis Hills, Cyprus’ new golf courses will be part of leisure resorts, complete with on-site residential developments of villas, townhouses, and apartments. And, like most of their counterparts globally, these will be of a highly exclusive nature. Essentially, this means is that real estate prices in the Republic’s golfing resorts are likely to fare better than those of most homes on the island. In short, these investments will make substantial returns.

However, what the potential investor must realise is that golf properties in Cyprus will simply not produce the short-term returns most overseas estate agencies claim them to produce.

If you’re thinking about buying a home on one of Cyprus’ golf courses, existing or forthcoming, you are realistically looking at a medium to long-term investment which will take five to ten years to reach maturity, regardless of what any estate agent or property website claims.

*The desalination plant being built for the Tersefanou golf course near Larnaca, for instance, will cost an estimated six million Euros.

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From Polis to Protaras

Despite the fact that many of Cyprus' new golf courses will probably never be completed, the Republic still has a lot to offer the prospective home buyer.

From Polis and Latchi on the north-west coast, to Ayia Napa and Protaras in the south-east, Cyprus' towns present buyers with a wide choice of environments. Ranging from modern tourist resorts to traditional Cypriot villages, there are still plenty of invetment opportunities to be found, so long as one carries out the necessary research to tell good from bad.
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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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