A Reigning District

March 2021
By Eng. Anthony Mitri

+961 1 566 666 | | Saifi,Beirut


I would like to give my sincere thanks to the working team that never failed to support me and provide me with all the necessary resources. There are plenty of people who have helped me bring this report to life, and I am grateful for all of them.

First, I have to thank Ms. Sarah Lee Habchi for her constant followup and encouragement. Her accuracy and time management skills made it easier for me to deliver the work on time.

I definitely wouldn’t be able to present this report without Eng. Maura Azar who worked on all the statistical analysis in the paper, and also Eng. Elie El-Moussa, Elias Rady, Roger Khoury and Marie-Lynn Chamoun for their real estate assessment. It wouldn’t have been the same without their provided help.

Lastly, I would like to thank copywriters Rita Camilos, Jeremy Tawedian and Christelle Abi Samra for taking the time to edit and proofread the report to make it mistake-free.

Excellent work requires a strong team, and without the unified work of all members of this group, I would have never been able to deliver such a delicate and intricate piece of work.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

a. Lebanon in brief

Lebanon is a country located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is considered one of the smallest states in the world. On November 22nd, 1943, Lebanon achieved its independence from the French mandate, with Beirut as its capital. Lebanon is bounded to the north and east by Syria, to the south by Palestine, and to the west by the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon consists of 851 cities. The top ten cities with the largest number of residencies are shown in the table below.

Distribution of the Population Across Lebanese Cities

City Population
Beirut 1,916,100
Baabda 500,000
Tripoli 229,398
Sidon 163,554
Tyre 135,204
Nabatieh 120,000
Habbouch 98,433
Jounieh 96,315
Zahle 78,145
Baalbek 30,916
El Naquora 24,910
Jbeil 20,784
Batroun 10,852

Table 1: Lebanese Population Count

Lebanon stood tall against all the hardships that it faced. From wars, to economic crises, and a global pandemic, this country still stands on its feet to maintain its continuation. This paper will focus on the importance of Baabda on the general economy of Lebanon and on its real estate market.

b. Baabda in brief

Baabda is the capital of the Mount Lebanon Governorate. It is the home of many embassies such as the Italian, Japanese, Jordanian, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Indonesian, and Spanish. The residence of the presidency of Lebanon is also located in Baabda, which was built in 1956. The population of Baabda district is distributed along several cities. The table below shows the most populated cities of Baabda District.

Distribution of the Population Across Baabda District

City in Baabda District Population
Ghbeireh 28,000
Bourj el-Barajneh 25,000
Hadath 20,500
Chiyah 17,000
Furn el Chebbak 17,000
Baabda 9,000
Ras El Matn 8,000
Abadiyeh 7,900
Hammana 7,750

Table 2: Lebanese Population Count

Due to the high population density of these cities, they will play a major role in both the economy and the R.E. market of the district.

c. The Economy of Baabda

It is known to a certain extent that the higher the quality of infrastructure, the higher the level of economic development is in the city. Therefore, more investors would be attracted to it. This also implies a lower level of poverty or the absence of refugees. According to the Lebanese Center of Policy Studies, there is a large variation of allocation of projects in Lebanon across all districts. The projects are composed of 269 infrastructure projects in eight different sectors: water (124 projects), wastewater (82), transport (24), electricity (17), infrastructure for tourism and heritage (11), telecommunication (8), infrastructure for industries (2) and solid waste (1). The allocation of the project values is shown in the chart below.

Chart 1: Lebanese enter of Policy Studies (2019)

The cost of projects was the highest in Mount Lebanon ($6.3 billion), half of which is allocated for transportation. The figure below shows the distribution of projects along sectors and their cost.

Chart 2: Lebanese Center of Policy Studies (2019)

Both the value of allocated funds for the projects and its representative number exhibit significant variations within governorates and across districts. In fact, within each governorate, there is one main region that will receive most of the funds that are given. The chart below explains how the funds will be divided along districts and sectors.

Chart 3: Number (Left) and cost in milliob of USD (Right) of CIP projects by qada and sector. Lebanese Center of Policy Studies (2019)

As shown in the graph above, Mount Lebanon has received the highest amount of funds, representing one third of total CIP projects. This amount is mainly divided between Metn and Baabda districts.
A lot of projects are done to improve Baabda’s economic situation. The overview of top projects, their respective costs, and number of phases in Baabda district are shown in the table below.

Infrastructure Projects in Baabda (2018)

Sector District Cost in Million $ Description
Solid Waste & Waste Water National (Baabda Included) 1400 Solid waste management to cover all of Lebanon including collection, sorting, treatment, and landfill sites
Transport (Périphérique highway) Beirut, Metn, Baabda 486 Beirut Périphérique Highway (Phase 1)
Transport (Périphérique highway) Beirut, Metn, Baabda 496 Beirut Périphérique Highway (Phase 2)
Transport (Périphérique highway) Beirut, Metn, Baabda 648 Beirut Périphérique Highway (Phase 3)

Table 3: Lebanese Center of Policy Studies

As noticed, Baabda district is very busy economically since the government has given it more resources for infrastructure projects. However, further studies are necessary to fully understand the extent to which technical, institutional, and political factors determine the distribution of projects across all sectors and regions. Nonetheless, the Baabda region is an important factor in Lebanon’s economy. This directly reflects on the local real estate market, as better infrastructure gives a better living condition. Hence, investors would be more attracted to check out this district.

2. Real Estate Analysis of Baabda.

a. Before COVID-19 and the economic crisis

A study done by BankMed in 2018 detailing the volume evolution of real estate transactions shows that most districts in Lebanon maintained their share in terms of real estate demand between the years 2010 and 2018, with a small drop of 15%. Nonetheless, Baabda still makes up the highest share of the total volume in the market, accounting for 23% in 2010 and 21% in 2018. The chart below shows the variation of real estate transactions across major regions.

Chart 4: Source: BankMed (2018)

During the first quarter of 2019, the average value of property transactions in Lebanon fell by 5.05% to LBP 202.84 billion (US$134,676) from a year earlier, according to the Directorate of Real Estate and Cadastre. When adjusted for inflation, property prices declined by 8.78%. Quarter-on-quarter, property prices rose by 2.8% (1.6% inflation-adjusted) during the latest quarter.

Specific regions in Baabda had a higher number of housing permits issuing. This is mainly because of the high population in this district.

Below is a graph showing the summation of housing permits across the regions of Baabda. Although Chiyah and Baabda did not have the highest population number (Table 2), the two regions managed to have the highest numbers of housing permit issues between the years 2009 and 2018.

Below is a graph showing the summation of housing permits across the regions of Baabda. Although Chiyah and Baabda did not have the highest population number (Table 2), the two regions managed to have the highest numbers of housing permit issues between the years 2009 and 2018.

Chart 5: Order of Engineers and Architect - Beirut (2020)

It is also important to study the number of building licenses issued per area across Baabda regions. Chiyah and Baabda are expected to have the most building licenses across areas, as these districts had the highest amount of housing permits. The graph below represents the issuing of Building Licenses Across Baabda Regions between the years 2009 and 2019.

Chart 6: Order of Engineers and Architect - Beirut (2020)

After studying both housing permits and building licenses across Baabda districts, it is important to take a look at the variation of prices across some areas in Lebanon.
According to Global Property Guide in the Middle East, the variation of property prices by region are as shown below:
• In Beirut, which has the most expensive housing in Lebanon, property prices fell by 1.32% (-6.97% inflation-adjusted) to an average of LBP 768.5 million (US$ 509,659) during 2018.
• In Metn, property prices fell by 6.01% y-o-y (-11.38% inflationadjusted) to LBP 306.61 million (US$ 203,345) in 2018.
• In Baabda, property prices fell by 1.35% y-o-y (-6.99% inflationadjusted) to LBP 203.93 million (US$ 135,245) in 2018.
• In Kesserwan, property prices rose by 4.21% y-o-y (10.53% inflationadjusted) to LBP 228.27 million (US$ 151,388) in 2018.

Beirut and nearby areas, including Baabda and Metn, accounted for the largest share of total market activity in 2019 with a combined 65% share, but Beirut’s properties are considered exceptionally high (about 4 times the average price). This all caused investors to move out of Beirut and consider living in a cheaper place that can still provide a similarly attractive way of living. Less expensive areas nearby, such as Baabda, Metn, and Kesserwan accounted for almost 50% of total sales in the first eight months of 2018, an increase from 47% in 2007.

The number of constructions permits in Lebanon decreased. The chart below shows the construction permits approval in Beirut from 2003 till 2018.

Chart 7: Order of Engineers and Architect – Beirut (2020)

Chart 8: Order of Engineers and Architect – Beirut (2020)

Construction activity is falling nationwide:
• In Beirut, the area where construction permits are given, fell by more than half to 348,000 sq. m. in 2018 from a year earlier
• In North Lebanon, the area where construction permits are given, fell by 33.7% y-o-y to 132,600 sq. m.
• In Baabda, the area where construction permits are given, fell by 25.2% y-o-y to 4.55 million sq. m. in 2018
• In Bekaa, the area where construction permits are given, fell by 23.4% y-o-y to 1.15 million sq. m.

During that time frame, Baabda was one of the cities least impacted by the national-level decrease of construction permits.

b. During the Economic Crisis and COVID-19 Outbreak.

The real estate sector was heavily impacted by the financial crisis. Investors believe that this sector is one of the easiest and safest routes for investments, considering it a way to release their deposit from the bank.
In Baabda, according to the data extracted from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre (LRC), the number of Real Estate (RE) transactions rose by 55.81% yearly to stand at 68,881 transactions by November 2020.

The value of total RE transactions stood at $12.27B by November 2020, compared to $5.74B in the same period last year, up by 113.78%. As such, the average value per transaction increased from 129,949 in September 2019 to 178,296 in the same period this year. The graph below shows the yearly change of real estate transactions in Baabda.

Chart 9: Bankmed

A regional analysis of real estate activity published by BankMed in 2020 revealed that the demand on Real Estate was distributed across the different regions of Lebanon during this month. For instance, a substantial 1,309 transactions (or 16.37% of total RE transactions) were concentrated in the region of Baabda alone in the month of November 2020. Metn, Keserwan and South follow, each grasping the respective shares of 12.71%, 11.73%, 6.62% of the total RE activity in November 2020.

c. Why are People Choosing to live in The Suburbs?

It is well known by now that living in Beirut has become very expensive for the average person. Maintenance cost is relatively high, and the prices of apartments have been skyrocketing for the past few years. Middle-class families are leaving the city to move to nearby suburbs in search of more affordable options.

This is not the only reason that is leaving Beirut streets empty. The tragic explosion that hit Lebanon’s capital was a key cause for people to leave, especially the ones who were left without a home.

Most working people will move from the economic hub of Beirut to its eastern and northern suburbs in Alay, Baabda, Matn, and Keserwan.

According to the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre (GDLRC) at the ministry of finance, in the past 22 months (until October 2020), there was a major uptrend in the real estate activity of Beirut, Baabda, Matn, and Keserwan despite all the problems that hit Lebanon one at a time. The table below shows the real estate transaction increase between 2019 and 2020

Chart 10: Source: Real Estate General Directorate

As shown in the graph above, Baabda remains one of the most popular regions for middle class families to move to.

d. Real Estate Analysis

To give extra proof as to why citizens are leaving Beirut to live in the suburbs of Lebanon, the sales and taxes of Beirut and Baabda were compared. Most people believe that living in the capital of Lebanon is a strategic way of life, hence it is thought to have the highest number of sales operations amongst all Lebanese districts. However, in comparison to Beirut, Baabda bloomed in sales operations. Below is a graph that shows the sales operations in Beirut and Baabda for the past 10 years.

Chart 11: Hayek Group (2020)

Real Estate General Directorate

The graph clearly shows the big difference in sales operations and the preference of residence for the citizens of Lebanon. It is known that sales operations and taxes are directly proportional, hence an increase in sales operations will lead to an increase in taxes. Below is a graph showing the sum of taxes in Beirut and Baabda over a period of 10 years.

Chart 11: Hayek Group (2020)

Real Estate General Directorate

The graph shows that even with the high sales operations of Baabda, Beirut remains one of the highest districts in taxes. This is one of the main reasons why people now prefer living in the suburbs of Lebanon. Lower taxes are a major attraction for buyers that’s why districts like Baabda are blooming in sales operations in comparison to Beirut.

3. Conclusion & Recommendations.

The unfortunate events that hit Lebanon between 2019 and 2020 were very harsh. A lot of people immigrated from the country, and a good portion of the population is either considering immigrating or wishing to but cannot.

Despite all of that, the real estate market in Lebanon still stands on its feet. Amid the ongoing financial crisis, investors are using real estate as a possible solution to release their money from banks. The number of R.E. transactions almost doubled from 2019 to 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated suburbanization, which shed light on another big R.E. market.

According to all of the data presented in the report, Baabda is one of the major districts in the Real Estate sector, since it has a very high budget for infrastructure projects, in addition to investors who are interested in buying properties in its regions.

Construction companies are providing investors with new and unique solutions in order to keep their attraction to Lebanon. For example, Hayek Group is investing in fractional real estate. This new project will permit property owners in Lebanon to issue shares for sales through a platform provided by Hayek Group.
Small investors can take an advantage of this opportunity to become partial and silent owners of the property, which further allows them to be involved in cash flows and real estate appreciations. All of the solutions above will keep the real estate and construction sector blooming in Lebanon, especially in its suburbs.

4. References

Atallah, S., Dagher, G., & Mahmalat, M. (2019), “Investment Plan: Scrutinizing the Allocation of Projects and Funds Across Regions”, Retrieved From:

De Guzman, M. (2019), “Lebanese Property Market Remains Depressed”, Retrieved From:

Fattah, N., Hariri, Z., Nehme, R., & Soueid, M. (2018), “Analysis of Lebanon’s Real Estate Sector’, Retrieved from:

Hayek, A. (2019), “Fraction Real Estate Ownership”, Retrieved From:


Nasrallah, T. (2020), “The Real Estate Research Blog”, Retrieved From: