Lebanon Businessnews News

Real estate sales
to foreigners has risen
Nine percent growth

in sales in the past three years

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Foreigners are buying more real estate locally. The Real Estate Registry at the Ministry of Finance has recorded a growth in the sale of land plots and apartments to foreigners, across almost all regions, in the past three years.

“Foreign ownership has not lost stamina and has remained almost stable since 2010,” according to Georges Maarawi, Director General of the Real Estate Registry. “This is good news,” he said.

Foreign ownership of property increased nine percent to almost 40 million square meters (m2) this year compared to 2014. Foreigners now own 0.38 percent of total land across all cazas.

Maarawi said: “The vast majority of new foreign owners are Syrians.”

The main areas where foreigners own property by order of size and number relevant to the area of the caza are Beirut, Metn, Baabda, and Aley. However, ownership in the past two years has gone down in Metn and Baabda.

Maarawi said: “The categories of people who purchase property today are different from those who used to buy during the 2009-2010 boom, in terms of budget.”

Foreign ownership has increased in Beirut and remained stable in Aley. “Property in Beirut is desired by everyone, by wealthy Syrians, Gulf nationals, and even Europeans,” he said.

Investors are aware that property prices can never get better. It is because of this that they are taking advantage of discounted prices in some areas and their stability in others.

Foreign ownership in remote areas increased in parallel to the decrease in the main areas of property where it is usually purchased. Regions that have seen large sales to foreigners include Baalbek, where the area of foreign property rose one and a half times, West Bekaa and Zgharta, and Akkar.

Maarawi said: “People who are buying in these areas are second generation descendants of Lebanese-origin who live permanently outside the country.”

Foreign owners are divided into two categories: Individuals and companies. The number of individuals is higher, totaling 63,000 owners. Foreign companies reached a total of 13,670, up 14 percent.

Maarawi said: “Some of these companies might actually have Lebanese owners, but their type allows share ownership to be by foreigners.”
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Oct 24, 2016
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