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Lebanon Real Estate sales up 41 percent Sector benefits from Strong Economic Growth.

Oct 6th 2010 at 12:07 PM

BEIRUT: Real estate transactions in Lebanon in the 1st quarter of 2010 jumped by 41 percent compared to the same period of 2009, reaching a little more than $2 billion, according to figures released by the Directorate of Real Estate.

“Lebanon’s property sector flourished in the first quarter of 2010, benefiting from strong economic growth, continued large remittances from Lebanese working abroad, large inflows of foreign capital, population growth and robust tourism,” said a report carried by Bank Audi’s Weekly Monitor.

The first quarter of the year 2010 witnessed a significant increase in the number of property sales transactions, coupled with an even higher rise in the value of such transactions.

“The number of property sales transactions went up by 41 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to reach 22,059 transactions, a record high compared to previous years,” the report said.

It added that a surge of 19 percent in sales transactions to foreigners showed a continued upward trend, proving the ongoing interest by foreigners, mostly Gulf Arabs, in purchasing properties in Lebanon.

Arabs from the Gulf countries tend to invest in vacation homes in Lebanon.

“Despite the rise in property prices in Lebanon, such prices remains quite competitive relative to comparative property prices in the Arab region at large,” the report said.

The value of property sales reached a record high LL3.188 trillion (close to $2 billion) in the first quarter of 2010, up by 110.3 percent compared to the same period of last year.

The significant increase in the value of property sales transactions relative to a lower rise in the number of such transactions has resulted in a rise of 49.3 percent in the average value per property sale, which attained LL144.5 million in the first quarter of 2010. This increase in the average value per property sale is most likely driven by the strong increase in prices in the high-end segment.

The surge in property prices does not raise concerns about a potential overheating of Lebanon’s real estate market as there is not a lot of speculation and high prices are supported by a relatively strong demand coming from Lebanese residents and expatriates and Gulf Arabs.

Beirut witnessed the highest increase in property prices in Lebanon, attributed to the increasing scarcity of empty plots in the capital and the fact that it is home to high-end property projects.

The value of property sales in Beirut grew by 87 percent in the first quarter of the year, mainly due to the surge in prices, as the number of property sales in the Lebanese capital registered a rise of 27.7 percent during that period.

As such, average value per property sales in Beirut registered a 46.5 percent rise in the first quarter of 2010 relative to the same period of 2009.

This steady increase in prices in Beirut has made it out of reach to many locals seeking housing, prompting them to purchase property in the suburbs

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