Article
Property

Cyprus is failing the real estate profession

13 April, 2019 | Posted By: Antonis Loizou

With restructuring of the Banks, the NPLs, the pending management of repossessed real estate, debt for asset swaps and forced sales, have created a rather sudden demand for real estate valuers/administrators/architects and others.


The Banks, including auditors have already hired qualified people on the issue, whereas one financier alone has published its need for 40 people in this area of expertise (including property people, engineers and others).

 

This is good news for the technical profession, but one wonders if there is such an abundance of professionals (and more importantly with the suitable knowledge) to handle this spike in demand. New accounting standards (known more commonly as IFRS 13) make the life of real estate professionals quite difficult.

The new standards set all sorts of requirements which could be okay in an active market, but which is very difficult to respond in a dead market like Cyprus, with very few and in-between sales (or no sales in some areas/uses).

This lack of suitable professionals will end up in employing foreign (mainly British we add) professionals, but then at what cost? and what do they know of the Cyprus Real Estate Market?

We have reported in the past in this paper, that there are several local colleges and universities which teach the subject of real estate, but based on our own experience so far, the teachers/teaching is far behind the required standards. 

The standard of education is low whereas the teaching in the English language is anything but the English language. 

Greek-English is what is taught, whereas even exams are not required to be in English (it may be in Greek as well or a mixed language).  What a shame to have demand for the profession yet local standards of graduates are so low that one despairs.

As if the above is not bad enough, the Cyprus Technical Chamber, which is the appropriate body to issue work permits and verify the suitability of the graduates, accepts as a first degree all sorts of backgrounds, including physical education or religious studies graduates and in addition a couple of years of attending part-time education in local establishments!! 

So, you can see where we are ending up.  The end result will be a very localized education with limited expertise and knowledge of the job, falling well behind (the majority) international standards.

We feel tempted at times to report this state of affairs to the Ministry of Education and even (in fashion nowadays) to the Auditor General since nobody wants to know that we seem to be going in the other direction.

The original plan to turn Cyprus into an international education centre to have its degrees recognized by the international community has not paid off. 

We failed (as Cyprus) on this and we hope that we are not asked by foreign bodies to express our views on the local education level on our subject.

The whole system is so bad that we feel that we owe a duty to the younger generation, to protect them for their future career unless we want Cyprus to have second/third rate standards.

We understand that part of the problem is the cost of private Cyprus universities/colleges, which are in competition with the University of Cyprus which is free (what a huge mistake not to adopt the English language by this worthy institute).   

We are aware of the study cost in the U.K. (the most popular destination for Cypriot students) and graduates opt for the Greek ones which have an education system similar to the African countries (excuse us Africa) spending 4-5 years for an education out of which 2 years are wasted on strikes and student sit-ins.

 

We do not want to disappoint would-be students and parents, but if we are to compare costs Vs time, it is cheaper to study abroad rather than in Cyprus or Greece, the level of education and wider mentality and attitude are miles apart.

We expect to be called all sorts of names for our stance and we will take the criticism, but we will respond with evidence to back this argument up.