Study reveals average residential prices in Beirut

The average starting cost for apartments under construction in Beirut vary from $2,000 to $8,500 per square meter, according to a new study conducted by a Beirut-based real estate advisory firm.

The firm RAMCO studied apartment asking prices in 67 Beirut neighborhoods, including popular downtown districts such as Saifi Village and Manara.

According to the study, between 2016 and 2017, prices have dropped in 34 out of the 67 Beirut neighborhoods, especially in central neighborhoods between Bachoura and Kaskas.

But researchers say there has not been a significant drop in apartment prices in the highest tier of the market. The most expensive neighborhoods, Manara and Saifi Village, have the same asking price as last year.

SEE MAP OF BEIRUT’S MOST EXPENSIVE NEIGHBORHOODS:

Beirut_Prices_Neighbourhood_2017_EN

Other neighborhoods, classified by the study as “mid-market” areas, have seen their average prices increase. Areas such as Sioufi, Beddawi and Sakiet el Janzir, along with 23 other neighborhoods, posted  a price hike over the last year.

Price hikes, the study says, are due to the introduction of new residential projects, which pull prices upward.

PRICES DROPPED

  • Central neighborhoods between Bachoura and Kaskas
  • Most neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Achrafieh

PRICES INCREASED

  • Mid-market neighborhoods
  • Sioufi, Beddawi and Sakiet el Janzir

PRICES REMAIN THE SAME

  • Neighborhoods in good demand
  • Sursock, Saifi Village, Monnot, Kobayat, Kantari, Manara

Researchers say the study looked specifically at asking prices posted by developers, and excluded any margin of negotiation or potential discounts offered during the purchasing process.

According to its website, RAMCO is a Beirut-based full line real estate advisory company, providing agency, marketing, and consultancy services.

Brazil’s Lebanese president faces calls for impeachment

Brazil’s Lebanese president Michel Temer is facing calls for impeachment after allegations of corruption and cover-up were exposed by a Brazilian newspaper.

Temer is accused of offering hush-money to jailed associate in exchange of his silence in the country’s biggest-ever graft probe.

Brazilian “O Globo” newspaper said it obtained recordings which showed Temer discussing payments to silence the jailed former Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Cunha was sentenced to a 15-year prison term in March for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, as part of an investigation into corruption at Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

Cunha led the impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff, who Temer replaced in August 2016.

According to the “O Globo” article, Temer is heard on audio tapes discussing hush-payments with Chairman Joesley Batista of meat giant JBS SA. Temer’s office acknowledged the meeting with the businessman, but denied any part in alleged efforts to offer a payment.

“That clandestine recording was manipulated and doctored with bad intentions,” Temer said at a news conference on Saturday. “I will not resign.”

Temer said he had filed a petition with Brazil’s supreme federal tribunal to suspend the corruption investigation until audio experts can analyze the recordings.

WATCH:

Qatari initiatives launch loans to support young Lebanese entrepreneurs

(DOHA, QATAR) — Qatar-based Silatech and Ibdaa Lebanon have announced the launch of two new loan products specially developed to help young entrepreneurs start and expand businesses in Lebanon.

Expected to create over 2,000 additional employment opportunities for Lebanese youth over a three-year period, both loans will be phased in gradually at six
Ibdaa branches.

While Silatech is a regional social initiative that works to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young Arabs, Ibdaa is a leading Lebanese microfinance institution.

Through the Mashroui (My Project) loan product, Silatech and Ibdaa will provide an early-phase loan to help young entrepreneurs finance their startup businesses. The Shabab (Youth) micro loan product is designed to help finance the expansion of already-existing businesses.

Both products target 18-35-year-old Lebanese entrepreneurs who have businesses in operation for less than six months.

The launch of Mashroui and Shabab follows the signing of an April agreement between Silatech and Ibdaa Lebanon to jointly finance a Youth Loan Fund and collaborate on financial and non-financial products and services for Lebanese youth.

In addition to providing loan capital through Shabab and Mashroui, Silatech and Ibdaa are delivering enterprise training and financial literacy education to help young entrepreneurs sustain and grow their businesses.

Earlier in 2015, Silatech conducted a two-day “training of trainers” workshop for Ibdaa Lebanon credit officers, outlining effective communication and marketing techniques for Ibdaa to attract younger clients, as well as relevant criteria to consider when assessing risk among prospective youth clients.

Access to finance is a major stumbling block for young, would-be entrepreneurs in the Arab world. According to the World Bank, young people in the Middle East and North Africa region have the world’s lowest levels of financial access.

The region also has the world’s highest rate of youth unemployment, topping 30% in 2015.

While lower than the regional average, Lebanon’s youth unemployment rate of 21% is still markedly higher than the global average of 13%.

Silatech acting CEO Mohamed al-Naimi said, “Specially-designed loan products such as Mashroui and Shabab provide much-needed access to new financing and business support services for young entrepreneurs who are important job creators of the future, while also opening profitable new markets for financial institutions.”

“The Youth Loan Fund will aim at answering the needs of both existing business owners through the Shabab loan and startups through the Mashroui loan,” said Bachar Kouwatly, CEO of Ibdaa Lebanon, adding that the partnership with Silatech is part of a global youth-focused co-operation between Silatech and the Arab Gulf Fund for Development’s affiliates in the region.

Average price of first floor apartment in Beirut tops $800k

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A recent study conducted by RAMCO Real Estate Advisers has revealed that the average price of a first floor apartment under construction in Beirut is of USD 3,720 per SQM.

At an average size of 238 SQM, the average value of such an apartment stands at USD 885,360

This price does not take into consideration the negotiation margins that currently take place on the market.

“Given the slight drop in developers’ asking prices and the decreasing size of new apartments, the value of apartments is slightly lower as compared to 2014,” says Karim Makarem, Director of RAMCO sarl.

Completed in Spring 2015, the study, which covers 345 residential buildings under construction across Municipal Beirut, reveals that the average price of an apartment (on the first floor) has dropped by 4% between 2014 and 2015.

Beirut Central District (BCD) remains a differentiated neighborhood. It collects market highs by posting an average asking price of USD 6,679 per SQM on the first floor and an average size of apartments under construction of 331 SQM.

The average apartment is thus offered at USD 2,210,749.

Outside BCD, Beirut posts wide price disparities. High-end neighborhoods, such as Ain el Tineh or Sursock, post prices that very between USD 4,900 and USD 5,250 per SQM on the first floor.

On the other hand, the mid-market neighborhoods of Ashrafieh (such as Beddawi or Hay el Sirian) start at around USD 2,600 per SQM.

Average Price (on the 1st floor) of an Apartment under Construction in Beirut

Neighborhood BCD  Ashrafieh Ras Beirut Municipal Beirut 
Average Unit Price (USD/SQM)6,679 3,6073,5743,720 
Average Size (SQM)331 229229238 
Average Total Value (USD)2,210,749 826,003818,446885,360 

* in Municipal Beirut Source: RAMCO sarl – August 2015

Real estate group reveals average apartment prices in Beirut

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Beirut-based real estate advisory firm RAMCO revealed the average sales prices of apartments under construction in Beirut vary between USD 2,088 and USD 7,000 per square meter.

The BCD, the seafront stretch, and some neighborhoods in Ashrafieh are still the most expensive in Beirut. The central residential neighborhoods – from Bachoura to the North down towards Hamad and Rweiss in the South – are the least expensive in the capital.

The RAMCO research department produced a map of average asking prices of apartments in 346 buildings among 71 Beirut neighborhoods.

Beirut_Prices_Neighbourhood_2015_EN

The map of the prices of new apartments, by neighborhood, reveals several indicators of the real estate market of Beirut:

  • Logically, the seafront neighborhoods of the capital post the highest prices. From Ain el Mreisseh to Ramlet el Baida, averages vary between USD 4,583 and 6,925 per SQM. These prices, however, are not only for projects located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea but also for projects under construction on secondary streets, where certain apartments do not offer open sea views.
  • The Beirut Central District (BCD) has been divided into five geographical sectors. Averages on the first floor vary between USD 6,000 and USD 7,000 per SQM. Overall, prices have dropped over the past 12 months. As there are no projects currently under construction around the Bay of St. Georges, averages have dropped compared to last year. The highest averages are located in the area of Foch-Allenby, which enjoys views of the Port of Beirut.
  • Not a single neighborhood in the capital posts prices below the symbolic bar of USD 2,000 per SQM. The lowest prices are found in the central neighborhoods of Beirut, between Bachoura and Tarik el Jdideh, and vary between USD 2,088 and USD 2,400 per SQM.

Federal prosecutors pursue Lebanese-American businessman for fraud

(LAS VEGAS, NV) — A Lebanese-American businessman could face more charges in a $190 million federal fraud case, as a federal grand jury recently issued additional subpoenas to testify against the high-rolling entrepreneur.

Ramon DeSage, 64, was charged with allegedly deceiving investors out of $190 million and defrauding the IRS out of $31 million. He is charged with 52 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.

According to court documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the grand jury issued subpoenas for witnesses to testify and provide transactions involving DeSage and his luxury gift supply business.

His company, Cadeau Express, was allegedly used to defraud investors between 2005 and 2012. According to the indictment, DeSage pocketed the money in the scheme to repay earlier investors, maintain his wealthy lifestyle, and cover millions of dollars in gambling losses at casinos along the Strip.

Court documents recently unveiled the names of several suspected victims, including former casino executive William Richardson, who allegedly lost $40 million in investments with DeSage.

DeSage and two of his employees have pleaded not guilty to felony charges. His trial, which is now set to begin on Jan. 26, has been delayed 10 times.

DeSage, also known as Ramon Abi-Rached, is currently under electronically monitored home detention since his arrest three years ago, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Damm has said in court that DeSage owned a 40,000-square-foot palace in Lebanon and more than $10 million in real estate holdings.

According to DeSage’s website, he was born into a “prestigious family” in Lebanon, educated in France, and worked for UNESCO for some time.

His website also says he is a “philanthropist” with a “noble character” and a “true example to all of us.”

DeSage has not been active on his Twitter account since Jan. 22, 2014, where he described himself as being “proud” of his Lebanese heritage. He also mentions he is a “father of seven children.”

Billionaire pays Lebanese teen $100k to skip college

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Move over, Mark Zuckerburg.

The billionaire co-founder of Paypal, Peter Thiel, has pledged $100,000 to a Lebanese teen for choosing to skip college.

18-year-old Jihad Kawas will receive the six-figure stipend and an elite group of mentors over the next two years — to participate in the Theil Foundation’s mission to inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Thiel founded the program in 2011 with the belief that college discourages students from being innovators and leaves them in piles of student debt.

Kawas applied to the program, along with 2,800 other applicants, and was accepted into the exclusive group of 20 fellows on June 5.

But it’s not all that surprising, considering Kawas started exploring the mobile app industry and launching mobile startups when he was just 13-years-old.

Then in 2013, at 16-years-old, he founded Saily, a social marketplace for people to buy and sell items on their mobile devices.

Meanwhile, in between business deals and marketing campaigns, he was a student at Houssam Eddine Hariri High School in Saida, where he recently graduated.

But Kawas felt school was obstructing — not advancing — his innovative aspirations. And that’s why he chose to skip college and focus on his growing businesses.

“We should spend less time learning about how things work, and spend more time making things work,” Kawas said during a TEDx talk in Beirut in February. “(School) does not relate to our interests and does not make us better at what we’re good at.”

Thiel, who has a net worth of $2.2 billion, agrees.

“Nothing forces us to funnel students into a tournament that bankrupts the losers and turns the winners into conformists,” Thiel wrote in The Washington Post. “But that’s what will happen until we start questioning whether college is our only option.”

Today, Thiel Fellows have raised over $142 million in venture capital and created at least $41 million in revenue.

Jihad Kawas is well on his way.

WATCH Jihad’s talk, “Why School is Not Ready for Us,” at TEDx Beirut:

Abu Dhabi police buy $3.4M ‘Furious 7’ car from Lebanese company

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Abu Dhabi police recently purchased the $3.4 million Lykan HyperSport — the same vehicle that appears in the movie ‘Furious 7’ — from Lebanese car company W. Motors.

The Lykan HyperSport is a 770-horsepower supercar that can go from 0 to 100 kilometers/hour in just 2.8 seconds. The model is officially limited to 7 units, making it one of the most expensive cars in the world.

29-year-old Lebanese businessman Ralph Debbas is the mastermind behind the car, which was first launched at the International Qatar Motor Show in 2013. His company, W. Motors, was founded in Beirut in 2012.

“It is a satisfaction and pride to drive it around Dubai and see all heads turn in its direction when it hits the highway,” Debbas told Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper. “People are starting to notice it more and more on the roads. They step aside to admire it and to take pictures.”

Lebanese-born businessman Ralph Debbas is the creator of the Lykan HyperSport. (Photo: Dubai Autodrome)

The Lykan HyperSport became internationally-known after appearing in ‘Furious 7’ as a vaulted supercar owned by an Arab billionaire. Actors Vin Diesel and Paul Walker manage to escape security and drive through a window at the Ethiad Towners in Abu Dhabi in the film.

“The producers and stunt coordinators needed a car that was really different from the ones used in all the previous Fast and Furious movies, something that they don’t see everyday,” Debbas added.

WATCH the Lykan HyperSport in ‘Furious 7’:

The Lykan features a holographic display with interactive motion and tactile interaction. LED headlights are made up of a Titanium blade encrusted with diamonds and the taillights with sapphires. A 24-hour concierge service is also available.

It is also the first car to have headlights with embedded jewels containing titanium LED blades with 15-carat diamonds, although the buyer has a selection of rubies, diamonds, and sapphires to be integrated into the vehicle’s headlights.

Critics are questioning why Abu Dhabi police would need a $3.4 million police car. But reports say Abu Dhabi police are envious of Dubai’s fleet of supercars, like a Ferrari FF, Bugatti Beyron, and Lamborghini Gallardo.

WATCH the reveal of Abu Dhabi’s new supercar:

When you’re uber-rich, why not?

Take that, Dubai.

President Obama honors Lebanese entrepreneur

(WASHINGTON, DC) — U.S. President Barack Obama honored Lebanese entrepreneur Ziad Sankari for creating innovative heart technology during a White House global entrepreneurship event on May 11.

The White House invited emerging entrepreneurs from around the world to highlight the importance of investing in young businesspeople and innovative solutions. Sankari was among only five others who were honored.

Sankari started CardioDiagnostics in 2012, several years after losing his father to a heart attack. He pursued studies in understanding the electrical activity of the heart and how monitoring and analyzing that activity can save lives.

Today, his company uses FDA-approved wearable devices that are 24/7 GPS-enabled heart rate monitors allowing for heart monitoring centers to communicate diagnostic and preventive information to patients in the United States and Lebanon. The center has more than 40 employees.

In 2008, Sankari attended Ohio State University on a U.S. Fulbright scholarship. After returning to Lebanon, he was selected to pitch his idea at the 2011 Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s (GIST) Tech-I competition where he won first place.

Sankari received his first round of seed funding and traveled through various U.S. cities to expand his network, learn how to negotiate, and connect with mentors. Given his experiences, Sankari sees education as essential to successful entrepreneurship and to combat rising issues of poverty and extremism.

He hopes to support other startups and build a high-performing educational system in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East that leverages U.S. expertise and connections to open a world of opportunities to younger generations.

The event comes ahead of the President’s travel to this summer’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya and provides a unique opportunity to galvanize global attention on emerging women and young entrepreneurs.

Guest speakers during the event included Shark Tank stars Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, and Daymond John. The White House also named nine other top American entrepreneurs as Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, according to a news release.

WATCH President Obama recognize Sankari:

ArabNet conference highlights creative arts in Beirut

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — ArabNet Beirut, Lebanon’s three-day festival of digital creativity, e-business, and entrepreneurship, is back for its 6th edition.

More than 80 elite speakers and 700 attendees will convene in Beirut on March 17-19 to share international and regional perspectives on e-commerce, digital media, and innovation.

ArabNet Beirut will tackle the growing role of banks in the entrepreneur ecosystem, including entrepreneurship opportunities in the MENA region.

It will also host seminars that will teach video production for the web, online customer service, fashion, and entertainment.

“Lebanon is a key regional hub for digital business and entrepreneurship,” said Omar Christidis, founder and CEO of ArabNet. “This is evident by the interest that major global companies have taken in investing and acquiring Lebanese web sites and apps.”

Christidis said the recent acquisition of Lebanese company Shahiya.com by a Japanese company for $13.5 million is a small example of the potential for digital entrepreneurship.

The conference is held in collaboration with the Central Bank of Lebanon, Choueiri Group, BankMed, and The Beirut Digital District.

Speakers include several Beirut-based digital entrepreneurs and e-commerce experts, including chief officers of Souq.com, the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world.

The ArabNet TechFair will see more than 40 companies and start-ups from Lebanon and the Levant region showcasing their investment offerings.

For more information about ArabNet Beirut, visit arabnet.me.

The ArabNet Beirut conference will attract 700 digital professionals and entrepreneurs for a three-day networking and e-learning event. (Photo by Natheer Halawani)
The ArabNet Beirut conference will attract 700 digital professionals and entrepreneurs for a three-day networking and e-learning event. (Photo by Natheer Halawani)

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