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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Gaza Real Estate Grab - Prices Soar

Gaza Strip businessmen and real-estate moguls have in recent months begun secretly trading in land adjacent to the settlements slated for evacuation. In a number of instances, deals have been conducted with regard to land within the settlements themselves.

As a result of the trading, the price of land in high-demand areas such as Netzarim has skyrocketed. The price of land in the Muasi area adjacent to Gush Katif has also risen markedly.

According to real-estate businessmen and political sources in the Gaza Strip, land traders who have acted quickly in expectation of extensive development in the area, particularly along the coastline, have already purchased a portion of the private land along the beach in Neveh Dekalim. Some of this land is owned by residents of the Muasi area.

"The situation is uncertain, but there are also opportunities," says Abda-Rahim Mansur, a partner in Harzallah, one of the most well-known real-estate agencies in Gaza. "The Muasi area, where prices have risen by hundreds of percent in recent months, is the area with the greatest potential. Someone who invests one dinar in the Muasi area is likely to earn two or three within a short period of time... The election of Mahmoud Abbas had an effect on the prices already a few months ago, but the planned withdrawal is having a dramatic effect on them."

Mansur's sentiments have been echoed by a number of mukhtars in the Muasi area, who have confirmed the rise in prices and the visits by land traders to the area. More