Jad Nazih Hilal, General Manager of Hilal Agency
Real Estate: E-marketing Reviews of Supply and Demand
After graduating from the University of California, where he studied business administration, Mr. Jad Nazih Hilal chose to set up an online real estate marketing company through www.hilalagency.realestate.
“Al Mal Wal – Alam” met with Mr. Hilal and held the following dialogue regarding the real estate marketing sector in Lebanon, which is already suffering from a temporary standstill, awaiting the start of the Lebanese government to recover this vital sector, which operates many other sectors of production.
- What distinguishes you from others in the real estate marketing sector electronically, and what are the marketing conditions you follow in this field?
We are working on selling and buying real estate electronically, including houses, buildings, apartments, and plots. Customers can post their ads on our website for ten dollars as a first allowance for three ads for a full month. We also work as intermediaries between the seller and the buyer by offering a variety of services through the possibility of searching on the “website” for an apartment for sale or rent, and in the area where he/she wants to live, also the price is available on the page. In addition, those who wish to sell can use our website to view the details of their properties. From our side, we provide marketing support on our web pages and social networking sites.
What distinguishes us from others is working with a new concept of advertising so that we do not charge the sales commission of the value of selling any property or department. In addition, we provide technical support through a group of real estate experts jurors, photography service to capture images suitable for marketing and that will be against a fee agreed by the parties. Day by day, the company’s customers are increasingly sophisticated. Hilal Agency is an online agency without any commission. It provides comprehensive real estate consultancy. We can estimate the value of the apartment or property. We also advise the buyer to look for the most cost-effective income of any entity offering residential offers. Furthermore, everything related to sales and purchase announcements is available on our website.
Eng. Marwan Al – Osta On the other hand, we interviewed Engineer. Marwan Al-Osta, a consultant at HomePro on the decline in the demand and the impact on the real estate market.
We, as a Hilal Agency company specialized in real estate marketing in the various Lebanese governorates, do not take a specific advertisement and publish it. We allow the advertiser personally to enter the page and put the ad he/she wants. Of course, considering the recession emergency and the low demand for apartments, demand is no longer as it used to be. It should be noted that we were not affected much because the desire of the developer or the owner to promote their departments available for sale still exist and at a higher rate, that it is the desire of the buyer because of the lack of material liquidity, which negatively affected the demand factor.
- Could it be said that lower real estate prices are now a good opportunity to buy or are there other motives for further market demand later?
In fact, dropping the price of real estate can be a motivation for a citizen to buy an apartment. Where the price of real estate is a key element of the price of any department, commercial or residential. The city of Beirut will not record a significant drop in the price of real estate, unlike other Lebanese governorates. But this decline alone will not help to increase demand significantly without providing payment facilities through the provision of sponsored housing loans and long-term.
- After the announcement of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to allow their nationals to travel to Lebanon, will the demand for real estate in Beirut and the mountain increase?
The period since the assassination of previous Prime “Minister Rafik Hariri” has been a state of security and political instability, which has been a major economic downturn. And prompted many Gulf states to ban their nationals from traveling to Lebanon on more than one occasion. However, re-lifting the ban this time, I think will not have a positive reflection on the real estate market. Where the economic situation is worrying and the openness of the Gulf citizens to other countries such as Turkey, this would make the real estate sector in Statico, but negative. It should also be noted that there is an opposite movement in which many properties are offered to Gulfers for sale at prices below the parity price.
- What are your expectations for the future of the real estate market in Lebanon after the start of the implementation of infrastructure projects under the Cedar Agreement, which provides thousands of new jobs that can contribute to the revival of the real estate sector?
The reality of the situation is that the crisis today is like a crisis that took place in the mid-nineties, where there were about 100 thousand apartments for sale. Although a residential section is not considered an entertainment product or luxury, it is an essential need, especially small and medium-sized apartments. Today, we have a delusion in the supply market, offset by frozen capital in banks, whose owners are afraid to dispose of them and are benefiting from high rates of interest. Even promoted loans are not available. There is only a free loan from the banks, which is not suitable because of the high-interest rates. In this environment, there is little hope that the real estate market will move. However, we hope that the Cedar Agreement, if implemented, will reflect a positive reaction from the Lebanese who are working abroad, especially in the Gulf, expatriates and foreign investors. As a conclusion, I think that the real estate market needs three to five years in order to absorb this crisis and come back and revive the real estate market. This is, of course, in the case of important economic growth and security stability.
- Do you want to clarify things I did not ask about?
The real estate sector is considered as the economic influence of many other sectors. Therefore, we hope that the State, and especially the “Banque du Liban”, will adopt a plan on the level of housing loans that allows low- and middle-income people to buy apartments. This is one of the fastest solutions in our current situation. We also hope that owners of large capital to remain supportive of this sector through additional housing projects, but a new strategy also encourages citizens to own property in all provinces.