January 12, 2017

Housing Bank lowers its rates: Mortgage interest cut from five to three percent

Banque de l’Habitat, a housing loans specialist, has announced it has lowered its interest rates from five to three percent. Beneficiaries include loan applications that were accepted starting January 1, 2017.

Joseph Sassine, Chairman of the bank, said: “The objective is to provide low-to-middle income expats with better access to housing financing.”

Sassine said that because of the low-interest facilities provided by the Central Bank (BDL), the bank’s profit margins have risen, even if interest rates are lowered.

The decision follows BDL’s policy to boost demand and stimulate the real estate sector.

The move helps Banque de l’Habitat circulate its accumulated assets in lira.

Banque de l’Habitat has made LL160 billion ($106 million) worth of loans in 2016, almost the same level as the previous year.

Most loans have been taken out by expats working in the Gulf. About half of these loans are being used for personal house buying purposes. A high percentage of about 30 percent is for the purpose of buying houses for family members.

“This is a unique phenomenon that does not exist elsewhere,” he said.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh