1. Amid the current turmoil the country’s economy is passing through, why is it a good time to invest in real estate in Lebanon?
Real Estate in Lebanon has always been a safe and a sure investment. Up till 2010 the market has witnessed such unrealistic price increase and since 2011 due to the start of the Syrian unrest, and political and economic downturn in Lebanon the prices started a double action: a correction from the unrealistic increase and a price discount due to the decrease in demand. All these facts brought the sector to a buyer’s market status. Therefore since the summer of 2020 the banks depositors started to be concerned about their funds at the banks due to the monetary situation of the government and found the real estate the best refuge and safe haven especially as the value for money was very obvious. But unfortunately the sellers are becoming less keen to sell after most of them have paid their debts, also the available stock has noticeably decreased and companies or individual without debts have no interest in selling and depositing their money in the banks with the capital control and all the regulations banks are introducing…..I advise interested parties in purchasing any kind of real estate to do it now and not to delay as interesting deals are quickly becoming scarce.
2. What are the facilities offered by real estate companies in general and Legacy Central specifically?
The remaking Real Estate Developers with debts or even any individual or companies with debts continue to offer interesting deals to the purchasers and are the escape for depositors but their number is becoming less and less; after all more than 12 billion USD has been sold in less than a year. As for Legacy Central it has had an interesting turn around where it has focused on structuring Income Generating Properties Deals: either rented properties or sell and lease back all with a safe haven for the funds in well priced real estate producing better yield than the bank’s deposits so safer and better return. Legacy Central concentration on this sector has been rewarding for the company and for our investors.
3. Lebanese real estate companies have adopted in the past few years a successful regional expansion strategy. What were the motives behind this trend, what countries have been mostly tapped and how has it affected the companies and clients?
Few developers have faced difficulties in the local market specifically after 2011 this has forced them to look for opportunities in other flourishing markets such as Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Germany, some Eastern European countries as well. These markets have provided different types of investments for the variety of the investors. Nevertheless some of us decided to continue our efforts in Lebanon and looked for new opportunities in our country. We believe that the developers in Lebanon must look into new and creative development concepts such as: Environmentally friendly industrial parks well prepared with the correct infrastructure, the same for agricultural parks, technological parks…..all these ideas must be in cooperation with the government and or with the religious or families endowments. The PPP law has been approved and it must be taking advantage of. Moreover there is the pending law of Lease to Own and this should be approved by the parliament so developers could adapt some new developments accordingly.
4. What are your expectations regarding the future of real estate investment in Lebanon and to what extent will it (or will it not) be affected by the economic crisis?
– I see the market in 3 phases:In Short time, for a year, the market will continue to get back on its feet;
– In the medium term, 2 to 3 years, it will be calm, slow moving;
– In the longer term, 4 years onward it will recuperate from the slow momentum and will flourish again.
Obviously the economic crisis in the country will be the main reason for this journey.
The above must be the stimulant for developers to look seriously into the ideas listed above.