Despite the country of Lebanon going through one of the most significant economic crises the world has ever seen since the 1900s, real estate sales remain strong, without any signs of slowing. It looks like there are still ways to make money in the Lebanese real estate market.
The country is going through a unique economic stagflation, which is typically characterized by high inflation, high unemployment, and low economic growth. In an effort to stave off further challenge, banks have placed a freeze on access to local US dollars – the de facto currency next to the Lebanese pound – and putting those with access to ‘fresh dollars’ (currency coming from outside the country and commanding a 3-4x premium in value) at an advantage, with real estate investors turning to alternate payment methods including bank cheques and fresh dollars to finance the purchase of undervalued properties in prime locations in Beirut, regarded by many as the Pearl of the Levant.
The Lebanese real estate market has seen unprecedented growth in transactions taking place in 2020 and 2021. But it’s a group of savvy investors that have capitalised on the unique opportunity, coupled with a recent surge in the prices of cryptocurrencies, that are really making a splash. They’re buying up properties using Bitcoin. And it’s a local real estate agency facilitating the innovative sales model.
“Ray White Lebanon is the first real estate company to have facilitated the sale of a property using Bitcoin. In fact, we’ve already been involved with a number of transactions using Bitcoin in Lebanon”, confirms Oussam Ayoub, Sales Director at Ray White Lebanon.
The firm reports that young entrepreneurs with significant profits from cryptocurrency are moving away from fast cars and expensive brands, and are instead making longer-term investments into real estate properties.
“You sell your property in Lebanon, and get paid in Bitcoin. It’s really as simple as that, and our team is delighted to be leading this initiative to facilitate transactions using this unique model”, explains Paul Marc Zeghondi, CEO of Ray White Lebanon.
The situation has seen Lebanese expats from all around the world, as well as residents from GCC countries including the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, taking advantage of the lucrative opportunities and investing in the Lebanese real estate market, boosting the local economy.
“The Lebanese market has certainly retreated in the wake of a challenging economic situation, but no matter how much it drops in value, Beirut and Lebanon remain the prime real estate locations in the region. Most of our buyers are purchasing for the longer-term, either as value investors or those buying their first home. They’re investing for a promising future,” adds Mr. Roy Saker, Chairman of Ray White International Real Estate for the Middle East, Africa, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.
With the backing of Ray White International, Australasia’s number 1 real estate company with a combined monthly turnover of AUD $6.8 billion per month in properties, the team at Ray White Lebanon are proving to their clients and international investors that technology is paving a path to conduct business in the Lebanese real estate market.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes