Looking at Lebanon’s real estate activity, we infer that the number of real estate transactions in January 2020 added 27.3% totaling 4,668 transactions. However, the upbeat figures only take into account the operations of big depositors who continue to diversify their holdings since the outbreak of the country’s economic crisis in October 2019. In fact, the more interesting evidence lies within the country’s Construction sector which is currently suffering a sharp slowdown with barely any projects undertaken amid the looming national uncertainty.
As such, the total number of construction permits slumped by a yearly 29.7% to stand at 591 permits in the first month of 2020 according to the Orders of Engineers in Beirut and Tripoli. Accordingly, the Construction Area Authorized by Permits (CAP) was also slashed by an annual 64.4% to 178,775 square meters (sqm), which mainly reflects the feeble interest of investors in undertaking any new projects, regardless of the size of the construction areas.
The regional breakdown reveals a stark slowdown in the construction activity across all governorates. In detail, Mount Lebanon (36.9% of total permits) accounted for 218 construction permits in the first month of 2020, down from last year’s 314 in Jan 2019. The South of Lebanon (24.9% of total) and Nabatieh (13% of total) followed, with their respective number of permits totaling 147 and 77 permits in January 2020, compared to 164 and 109 in the same period of 2019. In turn, the North (14.4% of total) witnessed a 34.6% annual slump in the number of permits to 85 in Jan. 2020. In the Bekaa and Beirut, 36 and 28 construction permits were issued in Jan. 2020, respectively, down from 70 and 54 permits in the same period last year.
Number of Construction Permits in January
Source: Orders of Engineers in Beirut & Tripoli