A look back at Real Estate in Lebanon in 2023

1st December 2023
Home > News > A look back at Real Estate in Lebanon in 2023

It is almost year-end for 2023, and you might be wondering how was the real estate market in Lebanon in this year? If you want to make the most informed decision possible, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about this year so far.

1- Sale transactions in 2023

It was the right time for investors to buy real estate in Lebanon in 2023. Let me try to summarize the sale transactions that investors are seeking:

a. Investors are looking for good deals.
b. Smaller units are in demand more than bigger units.
c. A lot of those investors are looking for rental investments.
d. The market is mainly a secondary market and hence more older units are being available for sale vs. newer properties. Older units do not scare investors as they are rentable with a bit of renovation.

Despite all the challenges, prices are climbing steadily – at a slow pace but undeniably climbing. If you are an investor, it remains a good time for you to buy nowadays. You need to have real-expert agents as your advisors to ensure you are informed about the best deals on the market.

The end-users however are experiencing more difficult time finding their dream property. Remember, more older units are available than new units. End-users may not have the appetite for renovation & hence the search is usually longer for end-users. And as the search take longer and longer, prices are going higher – further frustrating the buyers looking to buy their own residences.

2- Rent transactions in 2023

Let me focus here on residential rent as I will handle the commercial rent in an upcoming bullet point. We had two main factors affecting the residential rent in Lebanon in 2023:

a. High-supply of apartments For Rent especially that many depositors have opted to buy real estate in an effort to rescue their trapped deposits at the bank in late 2019. A big part of those properties bought have been put on the market for rent by the new owners; the new owners hope to hold-on longer to those properties hoping for higher prices when real estate picks-up again post the recent economic crisis; this is why you find that the new owners are more interested at the moment in renting those properties vs. selling them.

b. High-demand for residential rent as more and more people have better income in real dollars nowadays and yet in the absence of any housing loans, for the majority of those people the only option is to rent. Buying is not an option for the big majority in absence of any forms of loans. (don’t ask about lease-to-buy options: they are extremely difficult to find!

In short, the residential rent market is healthy and many transactions are happening there.

3- Commercial Real Estate in 2023

Summer 2023 has proven to be the rebirth of many new F&B outlets across Lebanon.  This meant that commercial real estate has boomed prior to summer of 2023 – especially the rent of ground-floor units in major parts of touristic-friendly zones. As an example, in the capital city of Beirut and in the aftermath of the explosion of August 2020, the areas of Gemmayze, Pasteur and Mar Mkhayel were almost completely deserted by F&B. However in summer 2023, you can see clearly that the area is again vibrant with as many new concepts of F&B opening as one can imagine. New restaurants and pubs have scattered and almost invaded every single Ground-Floor unit in the area.

Now, was summer 2023 as lucrative for those businesses as expected? Will those businesses be able to face the challenges of post peak or summer times? Especially with the war challenges and the expected fewer Lebanese coming home for the next big vacation period after summer – namely Christmas.

4- Administrative challenges in 2023

Maybe one of the key challenges in 2023 for real estate has been the administrative part. The departments of real estate affairs across the country have been completely paralyzed especially in Baabda, Zalka and Jounieh. Continuous promises are made to open the departments and start treating the piling files – and yet nothing has materialized so far. Many of the real estate sale transactions are happening at the public notary office and stopping there as there is no way to further finalize the sale file in the closed departments of real estate affairs. Many title deeds for sellers have been submitted to those departments prior to closure – for whatever reason such as removing the bank note from the deed after closing the loan. Those title deeds have been stuck for months now in the departments of real estate affairs and the sellers are unable to retrieve the deeds and hence it is extremely challenging to perform sale transactions on those properties.

5- War impact in Q4 2023

Q4 2023 comes with its own geopolitical challenges – especially in light of the war in Gaza and the possibility of extending the war to Lebanon. We may have indeed witnessed more caution from buyers in early Q4; We feel that the market has now assessed that the war can take longer than expected and the current situation of threats from both sides will be maintained. Investors are willing again to put sales offers – especially in light of the fact that the best time to buy is indeed in times of uncertainties like this – in the sense that the buyers may have better leverage on pricing and offers.

Bottom Line

It is time to buy real estate in Lebanon; if you want to unlock the best deals on the market, contact your expert real estate agents.

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