Looking at Lebanon’s real estate activity, we infer that the number of real estate transactions in by February 2020 added 37.85% totaling 10,834 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 33.73% to stand at 1,238 permits in the first two months 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 66.29% to 454,912 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 (42.25% of total permits) accounted for 523 construction permits in the first two months of 2020, down from last year’s 708 by Feb 2019. The South of Lebanon (23.67% of total) and Nabatieh (13% of total) followed, with their respective number of permits totaling 293 and 161 permits by February 2020, compared to 386 and 234 in the same period of 2019. In turn, the North (8% of total) witnessed a 60.71% annual slump in the number of permits to 99 by Feb. 2020. In the Bekaa and Beirut, 94 and 68 construction permits were issued by February. 2020, respectively, down from 170 and 118 permits in the same period last year.
Number of Construction Permits by February
Source: Orders of Engineers in Beirut & Tripoli