Payments Methods for Real Estate Transactions in Lebanon: a complex formula!

21st January 2023
Home > News > Payments Methods for Real Estate Transactions in Lebanon: a complex formula!

Following the economic & monetary crisis by end of 2019, Lebanon witnessed a surge in property sales in 2020-2021 as many transactions were closed at that time via bankers’ checks i.e. depositor’s money trapped in Lebanese banks. This era was followed by an era of sharp drop in prices in 2022 compared to 2019 prices pre-crisis: Yes, in 2022 the vast majority of real estate transactions was done via real dollars and hence comparison of 2022 real estate prices vs. 2019 prices is a comparison apple to apple. As a matter of fact, the drop in prices across Lebanon was of roughly 30% to 50% compared to 2019 pre-crisis prices and in Achrafieh the price drop witnessed was 30% to 40% depending on areas.

The best time to buy Real Estate in Lebanon

This drop in prices meant that literally 2021 was the best year to buy real estate in Lebanon. If you ask any real estate expert within JSK Real Estate, their first recommendation is “buy real estate in Lebanon today!” Now is the best time to buy real estate in Lebanon! Add to that the increasingly high inflation rate worldwide, and their sound advice is during times of inflation, one should not save. One should spend or invest! and what better investment than investing in real estate in Lebanon today given the historically low prices.

Matching payment methods between sellers & buyers

Despite the above, real estate transactions faced an increased complexity in 2021: Payment methods! Obviously, the real estate transactions were done in 2021 with Fresh Dollars as mentioned before: either through cash banknotes or through bank-to-bank transfers outside Lebanon. The payment method however presented an added layer of complexity: In many deals in Achrafieh during the past year we had to reconcile payment methods between buyers and sellers. Some sellers requested their money to be transferred to their bank accounts outside Lebanon whereas the buyers had their money in cash in Lebanon i.e. in bank notes. And sometimes it was the opposite: sellers wanted cash money whereas the buyers had their money in bank accounts and withdrawing that cash money in totality by sellers from Lebanese fresh accounts had the added complexity of very high commissions!

As team leader for the Achrafieh branch, I had to match between two payment methods.

So once we reached a deal between a buyer and a seller, I had to match the payment methods as well. This presented an added layer of complexity in deal closing in 2021.

As a result, one of my first questions to prospective buyers is their payment method. If I have sellers that want their money in their bank accounts outside Lebanon, and the prospective buyer has his/her money in cash notes then this is a very difficult match. So Real Estate nowadays in Lebanon is not only matching Listings vs. requests and agreeing on price that is suitable for both buyer and seller; we need also to make sure that payment methods between buyers and sellers match.

If you are a seller, and you accept either methods – your chances of closing a deal is much higher. 

Zeina Kosseifi
Team Leader Achrafieh

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