The Constitutional Council annulled yesterday 7 articles in the 2018 budget including Article 49 which allowed any foreign national who invests in a real estate starting at around $500,000 inside Beirut and $330,000 elsewhere to obtain a permanent Lebanese residency.

The article was seen by many as paving the way for naturalization while those in favor of the article saw in it an opportunity to attract foreign investments.

Personally speaking, I was against it for several reasons which I raised in an earlier post and I’m sharing again here:

– Why was this article passed in the first place and who will benefit from it the most? If the argument is that Syrian refugees don’t have money to acquire real estate and Palestinians can’t even own real estate legally speaking, then why insist on passing it? Do you really think Saudis & Kuwaitis are interested in buying any real estate here when they’re not even visiting for tourism? On another note, who will guarantee Lebanese political parties not investing in large residential projects and handing them to refugees in the hopes of naturalizing them one day?

– On another note and assuming this has nothing to do with naturalization. Did anyone consider the fact that a lot of Lebanese can no longer buy apartments and that this might drive the prices up once more? And what about foreign nationals buying apartments and staying abroad? How will inhabited buildings and apartments help the economy?

– Last but not least, who will make sure this article is implemented properly? and that the percentage of real estate acquired by foreign nationals will be respected? From what I’ve read and know, the percentage of land owned by foreigners in Lebanon is over 20% (vs the allowed 10%) in Beirut and over 5% (vs the allowed 3%) outside it so this article makes no sense at all since the quote has been reached and exceeded already.