|By Wehbe, Mouhamad|
"Trade in property and real estate speculation raised the prices artificially until it became almost impossible for people working in this country to live in it," says former minister
"Those who want to live in
The city's native population can no longer afford to live in it. Their income levels are very far from meeting the minimum standard of living in
The Lebanese system, with its politics, dientelism, confessionalism, and classism. has led to an unjustified soaring of prices of apartments. The latest example was revealed in the
The study also shows the wide disparity between the city's two peripheries and the center; the downtown districts under Solidere in comparison to west
The average price of an apartment in downtown
The study indicates that the average size of apartments decreased by 18 percent in the past four years, to reach 252 sq meters (2712 sq ft). The median price of this area reached "an unprecedented level for apartments in the capital, despite the stagnation in the market and the low sales volume in the past months," according to RAMCO Director
Nahas conducted a comparative study on the average prices of apartments of two French cities, which are similar to
It showed that the cost of one square meter in
Nahas's figures show an enormous and excessive difference between
Thus, the disproportionate figures for income and property prices between
In this sense, rents impose themselves in the economic and social fabric and the dependency spreads quickly to the other cities and villages.
This situation did not come by accident. It came out of the essence of the structure of the Lebanese system, which has turned society into tools for rentier operations. Lebanese citizens became shackled to funding those who benefit from the rentier system, whether those who made their fortunes from interest on treasury bonds or those who built their wealth through real estate speculation, wholesale and retail, buying properties at times of stagnation in the market and selling them at a multiplied price after a while.
The economy, on the macro and the sectoral levels, was the biggest loser in this domain. This system was financed with public money, directly or through subsidies and political and clientelist benefits. The share of rents from the GDP (related to trade in property and interests) started to overwhelm job producing rents and industrial sectors. Thus, the flurry in property trading and building construction would raise its head every five years then hide under the ashes of inflation, to come back later.
Worst of all, the system has blocked and rejected all reform attempts. During the year in which minister Nahas took over the
In fact, the cost of property is a clear indicator of the cost of living. Real estate prices are leading prices in the market, which means they pull all other prices up or down. They did not decrease in the past years, despite all the "calamities" plaguing Lebanese society, its economy, and its security, in addition to the repercussions of the global financial crisis. This means that the system continues to finance rents from the pockets of the Lebanese.
- AI Akhbar, edited by TAAN for style and space.
|Copyright:||(c) 2014 Arab American News|