Despite the incremental drop in the number of RE transactions witnessed during the first 5 months of the year, the total number of transactions climbed by an annual 24% to 27,216 in H1 2020. Notably, the value of the performed transactions increased to reach a 3-year high of $5.4B by June 2020, up from 2019’s $2.7B and very close to the value of RE transactions in 2017 which amounted to $5.38B. Consequently, the average value per RE transaction grew to $198,276 in H1 2020, up from $124,163 in H1 last year. In fact, as the country’s negotiations with the IMF are in a stalemate and with no changes to imposed capital controls or concrete reform plans forward, investing in real estate remains perhaps the safest haven to depositors of the Lebanese banking system.
On a monthly basis, the number and value of RE transactions stood at a 6-year high of 8,339 in the month of June alone, which was almost 2 times higher than the 4,036 transactions recorded in May 2020. In addition, the average value of RE transactions in the past 6 years stood at $603.4M, compared to $1.7B in June 2020. It also seems that foreigners performed as much as 132 transactions of June’s total RE transactions, compared to only 62 transactions in June 2019. In turn, a regional breakdown of the RE activity interestingly revealed that demand on RE was allocated across the different regions of Lebanon during the month. For instance, a substantial 1,596 transactions (or 19.1% of total RE transactions) were concentrated in the region of Baabda alone in June 2020. The North, Keserwan, Metn and the South followed, each grasping the respective shares of 12.7%, 12.5%, 12.3% and 12.2% of the total RE activity in June 2020.
Meanwhile, a year-on-year breakdown of RE activity showed that Baabda also grasped the lion’s share of the total number of RE transactions (equivalent to 19. 2%) worth $796.8M in H1 2020. The Metn and the North followed, constituting 13.3% and 12.9% of the total, each worth $933.4M and $305.9M, respectively. Notably, the South and Keserwan regions respectively composed 12.7% and 12.3% of the total transactions, whose total values stood at $406.6M and $598.3M, respectively.