Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buying a property in North of Iran, Good Idea or not?

For a long time, coast of Caspian sea (aka Khazar lake), in the north of Iran has been a major destination for capital residents, Tehrani people. Caspian sea or Khazar or Mazandaran lake is the largest lake on the planet by area. beauties of the coast of Caspian in north of Iran is not limited to the sea shore, because of Alborz mountains and forests located in the area, Mazandaran and Gilan province are hosting a very beautiful and various natural sceneries. 
Caspian Sea shore in Iran
in many countries touristic areas are popular places for investors, constructors and holiday makers to build, buy and invest in holiday resorts and tourism facilities. Khazar's sea shore is not an exception. in high season period and during 3-4 days holidays, you can see people rushing from Tehran to Mazandaran and Gilan provinces causing huge traffic jams in Chalous, Haraz, Firouzkouh and Rasht highways. this fact had been shown a strong impact on local people's lives and income.
Villa in Sisangan area, Mazandaran
So Tourism has became a major economy key for this region and side businesses have experienced a significant growth during pas decades. one of these businesses is construction and property. Prices of properties in Khazar area has been grown for more than 1000 times during my lifetime (3 decades). with the property crisis and credit crunch in west, Iranian people who had invested in to overseas properties like Dubai and Europe, again attracted to national investment opportunities since they believed Iran has not any link to int'l economy (which is true) but they ignored the fact national economy doesn't have the potential to grow anymore as well as under recession international economy. So after a while we had a bulb on prices and obviously a crunch after that. and now we are in a 2 year old recession which I believe will last till another fresh air in tourism industry in Iran. some consequences of such recession are listed below:
  • many jobs have been lost
    construction has stopped in large quantities and many are out of job now. including Afghan and Iranian workers and labors, real estate agents, services etc
  • a big portion of capital is frozen on half completed construction sights
  • people who have invested their capital in properties face credit and cash problems
  • banks face problems with those who have borrowed
  • customer behavior has changed. for example now investors prefer to buy apartments rather than Villas, which was somehow unusual in Mazandaran and Gilan provinces so far 
still buying property in North of Iran, coast of Caspian sea is known investment method for many Iranian. and I believe the biggest challenge in future for them will be a competition which soon or late will begin with overseas properties. right now countries like UAE, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Turkey and Spain have attracted many Iranian as investors.
property prices in Mazandaran province vary from 200,000 USD up to millions depending on the location and construction quality, and with the same money you can buy a villa in Cyprus or even cheaper in Turkey. at the other hand property mortgages are not available for more than 10% at unbelievable rate of 12% interest!! and even for more portion mortgage like 60-70% you have to obtain it from private banks in Iran which will charge you up to 30% of the money annually. comparing to 4-6% rates in Europe this is completely crazy. another option buying a property in other countries can offer which Caspian region can't offer is residency. countries who offer residency upon buying a property have this advantage comparing to their national rival.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Iranian speak Persian not Arabic!

Achaemenid Standard
I have met many people from around the world and as an Iranian nationality, I have some major problems with the lack of knowledge among people (mostly Americans) about my country, Iran. I can't believe sometime how people can be influenced and mislead by the media propaganda and sometimes how they can get fooled by irrelevant and wrong information. one of these wrong issues is some people think we, Iranian or Persian people speak Arabic!! The language of Iranian people is Persian (also called Parsi or Farsi). We ARE NOT ARABS!!! Persia or Iran is a country with 4500 years of civilization and Arab countries were just colonies of Persian Empire till 1400 years back. And a country called United Arab Emirates or Bahrain or Qatar wasn’t exist 50 years ago!! Though I respect Arab race as human and our neighbors, but it’s very sad that some western people think Iranian people speak Arabic which is only due to their lack of knowledge and education.
I know most of people in US and Europe are aware of Iranian history and facts, but still it's funny to have such beliefs in a minority of people. 
Map of the Achaemenid Empire - 550-330 BCE
if you want to learn more about Ancient Persia, you can take a look at Achaemenid Empire in wikipedia.

Cyrus the great was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. Regarding the most known and trusted encyclopedias including Britanica and Wikipedia, it was under his own rule that the empire embraced all previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, to create the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Darius the Great
Just imagine the facet Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, which is not yet seen in many countries around the world (and I confess including today Iran). It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the work of Cyrus. Aside from his own nation, Persia (modern Iran), Cyrus also left a lasting legacy on Jewish religion (through his Edict of Restoration), human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as on both Eastern and Western civilizations.
I ain't a Racist in no way and I strongly believe in respecting all the nations and races including Turks, Arabs, Indians etc, but I don't know if you ever have experienced being misjudged and mistaken by your root and race facts. It's very unpleasant and today, because of news published over the world and the government we have (with its specific method of communicating with the rest of the world, which I don't agree or disagree) people around the world misjudge Iranian people. You have to consider people of a country independent and separate from their governors, especially in a country like Iran. Professor Patrick Hunt, an American archeologist and history author says: "If you are looking at the greatest personages in History who have affected the World, 'Cyrus the Great' is one of the few who deserves that epithet, the one who deserves to be called 'the Great'. The empire over which Cyrus ruled was the largest the Ancient World had ever seen and may be to this day the largest empire ever."