LPS CHINA TALKS: EPISODE 3: MR. MICHALIS HADJIPANAYIOTOU – CYPRUS MARKET
EPISODE 3: Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou | CEO | Cybarco
In this third episode of LPS CHINA TALKS, we are glad to present you Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou, one of the most important real estate leaders in Cyprus, acting as both the CEO of Cybarco (one of Cyprus largest real estate developers, part of the Lanitis Group, one of the biggest corporations in Cyprus) and also as the Chairman of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association.
Today, we are discussing with Mr. Hadjipanayiotou about the China market, and the vision of Cybarco.
LPS: Dear Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou, thanks for joining this interview. Everyone has his own definition of what is a luxury home. What is yours?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：‘Luxury’ is entirely subjective. ‘Home’ is a place of belonging, security and comfort. Put the two together and you should be able to define someone’s ideal surroundings for living – whether on a permanent or temporary basis. At Cybarco we focus on the high end of the market which means we create luxury homes for people who can afford the very best on offer.
The best craftsmanship, concepts, design and interiors within destination developments that offer a unique lifestyle and unrivalled facilities in the most premium locations in Cyprus.
You get far more than a luxury home when you choose a Cybarco property. You invest in a secure community with its own world-class services and facilities. A luxury home to me is a place that meets all your personal needs – at your standards. A place where you feel complete.
LPS：What is the contribution of Cybarco to the general development of Cyprus economy?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：Cybarco is a member of the Lanitis Group – one of the largest and most reputable business groups in Cyprus, in operation for more than 120 years.
Historically, we have always committed to projects for the benefit of the social and economic environment. This is the mission at the forefront of everything we do: we create pioneering destinations that transform lives and communities.
Cybarco has been shaping Cyprus since 1945 with its development and construction projects – it has also had ample activity in the Middle East – but even long before that, the Lanitis Group and the Lanitis family have been playing a leading role in the country’s sustainability.
Our Group is behind many Government, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health projects across the island. It is still active in a diverse range of industries from construction, property development, tourism, travel, hotels, transport, leisure and entertainment, to restaurants, golf, marinas, solar energy, trading and agriculture. As such, we are continually pushing the boundaries to deliver projects that change our country and our economy for the better by creating new jobs, upgrading areas around our developments, upgrading the calibre of our tourism, boosting local businesses and encouraging new investment.
LPS：How important is the China market to Cybarco?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：China is a priority for us. We are known to go beyond what’s expected until everything is perfect so we rarely open a new market unless we know it inside out and we are confident we can offer a suitable portfolio and service. We have new projects now, like Trilogy Limassol Seafront that is mainly targeting Chinese buyers who want luxury high-rise living in a secure environment.
This is the ultimate investment opportunity on the island, with beachfront apartments and offices at very competitive prices, near private international schools and in the city centre. Each tower has world-class services and facilities of its own, but the project also boasts a vast private oasis and public plaza.
This is one of the main reasons why our Chinese-speaking team has been growing for almost a year now and our office in China is opening imminently.
LPS：What are the main challenges that you are facing when dealing with Chinese investors, and how do you overcome them?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：Inevitably the way of doing business in China differs from the Western way. Understanding the values and behaviours of different cultures is of the essence.
We work with interpreters, where necessary, and we appreciate that differences in our form of expression require patience. Chinese investors are, for example, often reluctant to openly speak their mind. They are very careful about expressing a negative opinion in front of others out of respect. Decisions tend to take longer to reach and questions demand detailed consideration.
We therefore dedicate time to build the rapport and trust that is needed. It’s important Chinese investors know they are dealing with a reliable company with history and integrity, people knowledgeable in their field.
You must earn their respect, be tactful, transparent and honest. All investors, irrespective of nationality, want investment returns and at Cybarco we have a proven record of attracting many HNWI to our projects with a proven above rate return on investment. We care about our customers and want the best for them – I believe this is clear very early on.
LPS：Which advice would you give to Chinese luxury property buyers willing to invest for the first time in Cyprus? And which mistakes should they avoid when entering the market?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：I would advise all Chinese investors to study the real estate market in Cyprus well before taking up their property inspection trip. Going through a due diligence on the possible investment options will enable them to have a better picture of the market and reduce the possibilities of taking any wrong decisions.
I would also recommend that they choose a prime location for their luxury property which will secure a steady value appreciation of their investment and the highest possible rental income for those who intend to rent out their properties.
Comparing all investment options based on type and location is wise. I would then endorse paying very close attention to the pricing transparency and trustworthiness of the company they are in contact with.
I would urge them to make sure they buy from a reputable, established real estate developer with a long history and proven track record of success. At the same time the choice of a local reputable legal representative is crucial. Implementing the above, someone can secure a sustainable investment.
LPS：How would you describe the current supply of new luxury real estate developments in Cyprus? Is it under or oversupplied?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：There is an increased demand and supply of new luxury real estate in Cyprus – residential and commercial. It is a highly attractive destination for a first or second home and for business.
Beyond the traditional lifestyle and tax benefits, this can be associated with other fields of the Cyprus economy. We will soon see Cyprus becoming an energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean through the discovery of substantial quantities of hydrocarbons in the EEZ of Cyprus.
The thriving shipping industry, capitalising on its strategic location offering attractive legislative and operational shipping infrastructure, makes Cyprus one of the top shipping destinations worldwide.
We have a superyacht marina, golf resorts…tourism’s steady growth in the last ten years has proved to be one of the most resilient, with further prospects for growth.
All these sectors continue to support a good balance of supply and demand of luxury real estate overall.
LPS：How do you foresee the evolution of the Cyprus real estate market for the coming 5 years?
Mr. Michalis Hadjipanayiotou：A few weeks ago I would have spoken much more optimistically about our steady growth rates, tax incentives, the Cyprus Investment Programme, the new tax residency scheme and the prospects emerging from the discovery of natural gas as stated previously.
The scenario for the development of the market over the next few years continues to be very positive but we must not ignore the potential impact of the recent pandemic on the global economy.
Cyprus has successfully been established as a trustworthy, secure and friendly business destination but bouncing back is also dependant on people’s confidence.
We have all the necessary ingredients to recover when it returns. Cyprus remains an attractive proposition, a highly sought-after destination in a strategic location.
It has all the advantages offered by an EU member state and member of the Eurozone, security, first-rate education, low crime rate, high quality of life, quality services, no pollution and a superb climate.
For these reasons, I believe things will get better soon. I believe in the silver lining!