Ekaruna - - State Of The Market -

Mireille Korab Abi Nasr, Head of Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at FFA Real Es­tate, com­ments on the in­crease in de­mand to­wards smaller, more af­ford­able homes.

Ev­ery decade or so, Le­banon’s real es­tate mar­ket wit­nesses a shift in de­mand; in­vestors and real­tors un­hur­riedly adapt to changes, mak­ing for a some­what sta­ble mar­ket. Or at least, that was the case. To­day, in­vestors’ buy­ing moods and needs change prac­ti­cally ev­ery cou­ple of years, bring­ing about con­fu­sion and per­plex­ity to a “ha­bit­u­ated” real es­tate mar­ket.

The in­crease in prices along with a di­min­ish­ing pur­chas­ing power has re­sulted in peo­ple set­tling for much smaller apart­ments in or­der to live within the cap­i­tal, or choos­ing to re­lo­cate to the sub­urbs to af­ford more spa­cious homes.

The new gen­er­a­tion is also hav­ing an im­pact on hous­ing in Le­banon, as more and more young peo­ple are opt­ing to move into their own places, usu­ally af­ter com­plet­ing their col­lege stud­ies. The re­sult of this change in hous­ing re­quire­ments and the tar­get mar­ket’s new ap­proach to­wards a more prac­ti­cal lifestyle, means smaller one bed­room apart­ments or stu­dios are now very much in de­mand. This, in the­ory, should al­low them to live in the heart of the city and en­joy the vi­brant lifestyle while be­ing in close prox­im­ity to their work and home ad­dresses.

The rapid change in con­sumer’s wants and needs has pre­dom­i­nantly af­fected the ‘older gen­er­a­tion of de­vel­op­ers’, whom were used to build­ing big­ger units – of an av­er­age to 250 square me­ters in the city’s cap­i­tal, Beirut. As a re­sult, the mount­ing de­mand for smaller apart­ments – rang­ing from 50 square me­ters stu­dios to 120 square me­ters two bed­room apart­ments – has dra­mat­i­cally in­flu­enced the way in which these de­vel­op­ers do busi­ness.

Also, in re­cent years, house prices have risen dra­mat­i­cally, es­sen­tially due to the law of scarcity that gov­erns the ex­pense of plots of land. In this way, the prices of plots ei­ther in­crease or re­main sta­ble – they do not de­crease, how­ever. This is es­pe­cially true in Beirut where there are very few plots of land avail­able to build upon, and even these are be­com­ing lesser and lesser.

In my opin­ion, the key to buy­ing a plot of land and plan­ning a de­vel­op­ment at this point is car­ry­ing out suf­fi­cient mar­ket re­search be­fore­hand – a prac­tice that wasn’t al­ways so com­mon among lo­cal de­vel­op­ers. In or­der to keep up with the ever-chang­ing in­dus­try, we too must change and adapt ac­cord­ingly.

Mireille Korab Abi Nasr, Head of Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at FFA Real Es­tate

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