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.


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