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Jordan real estate sales up 31 pct year/year so far in 2011

Jordan real estate sales up 31 pct year/year so far in 2011

$5.35 bln property deals overall, 31 pct rise vs last year, Foreign buying picks up 41 pct in first seven months of 2011, Property sector boom driven by apartment demand

August 4, 2011 8:49 by

The value of property deals in Jordan rose 31 pct to 3.8 billion dinars ($5.4 bln) in the first seven months of the year on strong demand for apartments in the capital, official data showed on Wednesday.
“The residential housing market of mainly small apartments … these are the engines behind the current boom,” said Mohammad Afifi, managing partner of Century 21 Jordan, a franchise of the U.S.-based property consultancy.
Foreign buying of apartments jumped 41 percent in the first seven months of the year to 250 million dinars compared with the same period last year, the data from the department of land surveying showed.
Iraqis bought 154 million dinars worth of property, topping the list of non-Jordanian investors, followed by Saudis, who purchased 18.8 million dinars worth of real estate.
Strong demand also came from Palestinians, expatriate Jordanians and even Lebanese seeking a safe haven in a country with a record of political stability.
The aid-dependant economy has been hit by a downturn as investment flows from the oil-producing Gulf region slowed along with a drop in remittances from its sizeable expatriate labour force.
Industry executives expect the residential real estate market to show signs of further recovery in heavily populated urban areas driven by demographic factors, but oversupply will continue to depress the capital’s commercial sector for the next year at least, worsened by a sluggish economy.
Prices for prime real estate in the capital Amman, including apartments, have risen by at least 20 percent in the last 18 months and should pick up by around 10 percent by the end of 2011, analysts said.
The residential apartment market has also been given a boost by a government stimulus package introduced earlier this year that lifts fees on registration of sales to help rejuvenate the sector.
Gulf Arab investors flush with oil revenue had poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the real estate market over the last decade, attracted by free-market policies and relatively low prices compared with other regional markets.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi)

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