April 6, 2011

Prices rise 25% a year over last 5 years, and still rising


Beirut's real estate market is continuing to boom, according to the Middle East's largest private developer DAMAC Properties.

Property prices in Beirut have increased by an average of about 25 per cent a year, for the past five years, according to RAMCO Real Estate Advisers, based in Beirut. Whilst the rate of growth in property prices has slowed over the past year, to about 10 per cent, prices are still rising.

"Lebanon is currently one of the best performing property markets in the region. There are strong economic fundamentals underpinning growth in the property sector, which means this growth cycle has longer to run and is sustainable growth," said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director DAMAC Properties.

A recent report by international financial institution Standard Chartered supports the claims. The report indicated that property demand in Beirut remains strong and Lebanon's economy will expand about 5.5 per cent this year, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the region. The expanding economy is fuelling population growth, which is currently outpacing the supply of available quality accommodation. Increasing demand for housing is pushing up rental prices, which are now amongst the highest in the Middle East.

"The growth in Lebanon's property market is being driven by end users, but the smaller and mid-range apartment sectors are still undersupplied. Demand is coming from wealthy young Lebanese leaving the family home, as well as a growing number of Lebanese expatriates returning home." El Chaar added.

DAMAC Properties is currently developing 'DAMAC Tower', one of Beirut's leading developments in partnership. DAMAC Tower, Interiors by Versace Home, is located at the trendy Solidiere marina district in downtown Beirut. DAMAC Tower is the first exclusive VERSACE Home branded residential tower in the region and on completion will have extensive views of the Mediterranean.

DAMAC Tower is already receiving plaudits and recently won a prestigious Bloomberg International Property Award, which is one of the highest accolades awarded in the property sector – it won the global award for 'Best High Rise Architecture.'

Lebanon's property market differs from some of the GCC real estate markets in that demand is being driven largely by organic growth, rather than speculation, according to a recent report by Bank Audi. Bank Audi's report on Lebanon's Real Estate market outlined that the double-digit real estate price hikes in recent years have, to a certain extent, brought property prices in Lebanon in line with regional and global averages.

El Chaar commented; "There is a lot of pent-up domestic demand for property, following years of political instability. However, we are now seeing confidence return to the real estate market, and that is proving to be a big impetus for end users and investors alike."

DAMAC Properties is a highly respected regional developer, and is currently working in partnership with Italian designer VERSACE to provide the luxury lifestyle concept at DAMAC Tower in Beirut.