The Hayek Group Newsletters and Reports

An Open Letter to the President of the Lebanese Republic - Aug. 2012

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Dear Mr. President:

Portrait.jpgBeginning in the late 1960’s our country has experienced multiple security issues, civil unrest, foreign invasions, occupations, and political turmoil far more times than any one nation can bear, especially our very small nation that has been made to suffer unbearable calamities, There have been times where the entire government system has imploded and been divided, numerous assassinations and assassination attempts, boycotts, and even lingering sit-in demonstrations in the Downtown, Beirut. Politicians have hammered the administration and dragged it to the deepest trenches of deceit and corruption.

Despite all this, our nation has lived on. Despite our turbulent history, as a people, we have lived on. Despite a worldwide market crash, we survived and housing prices were always on the uptrend. Currently we have a political state, a fully operational administration, as well as security forces. By and large we are not occupied by any foreign nations. That said, why is it then that our real estate market is experiencing the worse status it has seen in decades?

Mr. President, our housing sector and the real estate market in Lebanon are depressed. An impending market crash is likely on the horizon. What are the preventive measures being taken by our government to prevent such a disaster? None for sure.

Mr. President, your family and mine made a choice to live in our homeland amongst over 4 million of our fellow brothers and sisters. All of us, as citizens of this most unique and precious Republic, deserve this basic right of protection. A crisis in the housing sector now combined with shaky economy and political situation being as it is, is detrimental to our livelihood and the livelihoods of our families.

Amazingly, our real estate market has held up and made steady progress during the global and regional market crisis in 2008 when in so many countries around the world, things were crumbling. Even in the absence of major foreign investments, our market held its status due to the young generation of energetic investors in the private sector. 

Expats came from Africa, North America, Gulf countries and from all over, they poured their seed money in our homeland, Billions of dollars flooded the real estate market, this period of wait and see and the absence of any new regulations to protect their investments and encourage them to stand still in the market, is not healthy, they will flew the market to new emerging markets leaving us with a crisis. It is our obligation to preserve the rights and privileges of Lebanese expatriates to keep as major players in our national economy.

It is fair to say that our country will always be a survivor state. Should the market crumble, and out of the ashes a phoenix will rise. The magic of this land is second to none in the region. While we enjoy beauty in the green nature, others suffer from the desert heat.

Mr. President, what our market needs today more than ever, is discipline. Investors in the housing sector need to have guidance for making proper decisions based on fresh and reliable data. Making a complete and concise Housing Index available to the general public would be a start in the right direction. Why do we not have liaison establishments for the market such as Tayseer, Tarweej, Tamkeen and Tanmiya like in Dubai? Why there is no ministry of housing and property development?

There are a vast number of excellent economists and building professionals who are able to help sustain the sector by providing advisory panels for proper regulatory measures as well as feasible market solutions. Why are we not using these invaluable resources? An example of these strategies could be as simple as granting incentives for parking facilities in congested areas, green technology, exceptional architecture and design, special zoning and land use, etc. Did you know Mr. President, that investing just $1 USD in a new office space would inject the economy with $2.6 USD in facility management and services? And investing in the public infrastructure and utilities will accelerate the economy and GDP rate.

Despite the current regional turmoil, investors in the real estate sector are still perceived as a safe hedge against volatility in world stock markets and low interest rates. New markets are expected to open up in the areas to the north and the east of Mount Lebanon. Promising hospitality and retail projects are in the pipeline. It is imperative that your administration protect this sector and imminent housing projects because no one else can.

No person, syndicate, community, ministry or NGO can divert our country away from such a fearfully bleak future we are contemplating than your esteemed self. 

Your Excellency, as a citizen and for other citizens, I urge you to waste no time and spare no effort in establishing an advisory team dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and publishing of our real estate market data - a team that would be available to communicate and interact with industry leaders, societies and major investors, keeping the sector under your watchful eye without the influence of politicians and policy makers. We entrust the real estate market of Lebanon, our futures, and the futures of our families, to you; 

Mr. President.


Abdallah Hayek, Concerned Citizen of the Lebanese Republic 
Hayek Group s.a.r.l

Beirut - Aug.  2012

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