The cost of living is relatively low in Cyprus, with prices around 25 per cent lower than in most northern European countries. Limassol was recently highlighted as one of the five least expensive cities in Europe. As expected, prices have risen slightly since the country’s EU accession, and a survey carried out by the Cyprus Consumers’ Association in 2004 showed that prices had risen on average by 1.6 per cent since then.
According to the results of the Cypriot government’s Household Budget Survey 2004, average monthly outgoings for a single person were at this time CY£647 (€1,105.47), for a couple CY£970 (€1,657.34) and for a couple with two children, CY£1,358 (€2,320.28). A couple owning their home could live fairly comfortably on a net income of between CY£6,000 (€10,251.61) and CY£7,000 (€11,960.21) per year (many pensioners lived on less). However, as in all countries after the introduction of the euro, prices have risen. As the euro is still relatively new in Cyprus, prices are still simply converted on the basis of CY£, without being rounded up. Yet this might change very soon leading to further price increases.
It’s obviously difficult to calculate an average cost of living, as your expenditure depends on your circumstances and lifestyle. Shopping for expensive consumer goods such as hi-fi equipment, electronic goods, computers and photographic equipment, for example, is generally better value than in many other European countries and North America, with many well known brands available in shops in the main towns. The difference in your food bill, on the other hand, will depend on what you eat and where you lived before coming to Cyprus.
Food is cheaper than in most northern European countries and around €430 will feed two adults for a month, including (inexpensive) wine, but excluding luxuries like fillet steak, caviar and imported delicacies. Local wines and spirits are good value and eating out is affordable, a meal for two averaging €40. It’s a good idea to avoid the tourist areas, where prices are higher than average. The Consumers’ Association publishes The Cyprus Good Food Guide, which is updated annually and includes information on eating out and restaurants which offer good value.
Consumer publications from the UK, US and Ireland are available at the CA’s reading library in Nicosia (Tel. 22-516 112–4, www.cyprusconsumers.org.cy).