Cyprus Housing

Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) - The Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) is a state-owned organization governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Council of Ministers, normally for a three-year term. The main aim of the HFC is to provide long-term housing loans, with a priority to the lower and middle-income groups. To implement the purpose of its establishment the HFC provides a range of savings accounts to attract deposits from the public. It uses most of these funds to provide mortgage loans to families for the acquisition of their first home. Besides providing its own housing loans, the Corporation is instrumental in the implementation of the Government's social policies, especially in the area of housing. It provides several special housing and social loans, including schemes for:

a) large families, with four children or more
b) small and isolated rural and mountainous communities
c) very low income families
d) depressed urban and rural areas, along the Attila military zone
e) various types of housing and other social loans for persons who were displaced during the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

The terms of the HFC loans compare very favorably with the loans provided by other financial institutions. The repayment period varies from 20 to 25 years. Loans are normally secured by a mortgage on the property to be financed. The Corporation accounts for a very substantial part of the market for new housing loans in Cyprus. Its total market share in this respect is estimated to be in excess of 33%.

Cyprus Land Development Corporation - The Cyprus Land Development Corporation operates in the field of social housing.

The Corporation's main objectives are:

  • To facilitate the housing needs of low and medium income families
  • To promote optimal use of available land in accordance with the prevailing Government housing policy
  • To offer dwellings and building sites at reasonable prices and attractive terms of sale.

In order to achieve its above-mentioned objectives, the Corporation acquires land, with private agreements or by compulsory purchase, throughout Cyprus. The land is then divided into building sites or developed into comprehensive housing estates and apartment buildings. The Corporation's activities in the housing sector are fully harmonized with broader Government objectives. Such activities concern the expansion of the Corporation in rural areas thus enhancing the Government's efforts of keeping population in these areas. The Corporation's efforts are also intense in offering housing in areas bordering the so called 'green-line.' These efforts fall within the Government's attempts for the revival of these areas.

The role of the Corporation has significantly increased with the introduction of the Low-Income Housing Scheme. The Scheme is extended to families earning a combined gross income of less than CYP 12.000 p.a. and to single persons with a gross income of less than CYP 6.000 p.a. Under certain conditions (i.e. health problems, families with 6 members and over etc), the Scheme's income criteria may extend up to CYP 16.000. At the same time, the Corporation's interest in satisfying the housing needs of medium-income families remains undiminished.

The Special Service for the Care and Rehabilitation of Displaced Persons - The Special Service for the Care and Rehabilitation of Displaced Persons was established in August 1974, as an emergency Service aiming to confront the problems faced by the 200,000 Greek Cypriots, forcibly displaced from their homes by the Turkish invasion. Until the end of March 1978, the Special Service provided food, financial aid, clothing, basic household equipment and housing for the displaced families. The housing problem was one of the most serious problems created by the Turkish invasion.

The Special Service gradually confined on this particular sector and adopted the following Housing Schemes:

a. Low - Cost Government Housing Scheme
Through this scheme, low-cost houses are provided free of charge to low income refugee families. All housing estates are comprehensively planned to include basic services such as shopping centers, community centers, open spaces, schools, play grounds, medical centers and homes for the aged. Also the Government bears the yearly costs of management maintenance and repairs of the estates.

b. Self - Help Housing on Government Land Scheme
This scheme is also intended for the low-income refugee families. Under this scheme the Government implements all the necessary infrastructural works and other facilities. Serviced building plots are allocated to refugees accompanied by financial aid towards meeting part of the cost of erecting their houses.

c. Self - Help Housing on Private Land Scheme
This scheme provides grant-in-aid to eligible refugees to cover part of the building cost of their houses on their own land.

d. Purchase of a House/Apartment Scheme
This scheme was introduced in 1981 and provides grant-in-aid for purchasing a House/Apartment from the private sector. The eligible applicants are given grants-in-aid towards meeting part of the acquired cost for purchasing their own housing unit. The Special Service in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, issued the “Citizen's Charter“ by which refugees are informed about their rights and obligations as well as information they may ask, before they decide on what housing scheme they choose.

Erection/Improvement of Churches - The Special Service provides an annual amount of CYP 250,000, for the erection/improvement of churches located on refugees Housing Estates/Self-Help Housing Estates on Government Plots as well as for churches located in communities all over Cyprus, where refugee people live.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005