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In my annual look at the housing markets I have inadvertently left out one important one: Cyprus.

You all know by now that I dont like certain markets. I have consistently warned against buying in the Middle East, and that includes Egypt and Turkey. I still stand by my opinion. However, there is one other market that sits right on the edge of this zone, and that is Cyprus.

I first visited Cyprus many years ago on one of the horrors of the sixties; a foul tub of a ship called the Kypros. Some of you may be unlucky enough to recall that particular outrage to modern travel. To get off the boat at Limassol you had to jump overboard into a dinghy. Some of us did, and a very pleasant island we found. Not any more it isn't.

Cyprus is still divided: Greek and Turk, and they have been fighting each other since the days of Homer. They dont seem to have gotten tired of this nonsense. Factor it into the equation.

I have been involved in several East European property deals. They have all been brokered from Cyprus. Note that Greece is financially up the creek. Most Greek financial deals are brokered in Cyprus. The country has become a haven for laundered money, and it is a haven for Russian hot money. Factor all that into the equation.

Since the country has become so useful to Russian oligarchs the economy is resting on a Russian based mafia. Factor that into the equation.

Cyprus is yet another of those countries that was allowed in to the European club for political reasons, not economic ones, or any sound reasons at all. Factor that into the equation.

The financial system is shaky in the extreme. I would avoid the country like the plague.


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