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News from Daily Star news portal:
Syrian demand for rented flats keeps market stable
May 18, 2013 12:56 AMBy Mohamad El Amin
|The Daily Star|
BEIRUT: Demand by Syrians for housing has kept the real estate market in Lebanon stable, real estate brokers said, with some also estimating that rentals by refugees from the conflict-wracked country has driven up rents for small apartments in Beirut.
“In some areas in Beirut over 50 percent of demand for rentals is coming from Syrians relocating because of the conflict,” Ali Saleh, a broker at a Beirut-based agency, said Friday.
“Small one- and two-bedroom apartments are in demand the most and what was priced at $1,000 [per month] a few months ago is now easily renting for at least at $1,200 or more depending on location,” he said, estimating that rental fees for small apartments had risen by up 20 percent.
Saleh said the highly desired areas by Syrians were in Ras Beirut, but added that there was also very clear demand in other areas both inside and outside the city.
Joe Ibrahim, a dealer at Plus Brokers, agreed with Saleh that Syrian demand had been significant for small apartments in the capital.
“In the small apartments segment, there is very little availability and high demand from both Syrians and Lebanese. This has diminished any price flexibility that we used to see before,” he said.
Some Syrian nationals who moved in earlier are considering relocating to more affordable apartments after initially rushing into expensive deals, he said.
Michel Abou Zeid, also a real estate broker, echoed Saleh and Ibrahim’s views, adding that demand from Syrian nationals had been soaring.
He said some flat-owners were hesitant to rent property to Syrians because many were cutting their stays short, leaving the apartments before their contracts expired.
“In any case now most owners are always requesting a year’s rent up front when the client is from Syria,” he added.
Abou Zeid noted that there was significant demand both for rent and sale from naturalized Syrians in areas of Metn including Sadd al-Boushrieh.
While Syrian demand seems to be keeping the rent market stable, real estate sales have dropped significantly in the first quarter of the year.
Real estate sales transactions went down 19 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Statistics by the Finance Ministry show the number of real estate transactions declined to 13,619 from 16,784 deals in the first quarter last year.
The aggregate value of real estate transactions decreased 4 percent to $1.5 billion but the average value of transactions rose by 18.4 percent, an indicator that prices were resisting declines.
The brokers also told The Daily Star that Syrian demand for buying apartments was expected to pick up.
“Compared to last year, there is definitely an increased interest in buying apartments,” Nicolas Mehshi, regional sales manager at Plus Properties said, but he agreed that the number of sales to Syrians remained low.
While some banks are hesitant to give credit for Syrian buyers, others say that this could be possible on a case-by-case basis, according to Mehshi.
He said Syrian businessmen residing in Lebanon attended a dinner organized by Plus Properties in April, at which premium projects were highlighted during a presentation.
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Business/Lebanon/2013/May-18/217509-syrian-demand-for-rented-flats-keeps-market-stable.ashx#ixzz2TvcY5L4u
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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