The Transformation of Ras el Nabeh

The area of Ras el Nabeh is a near perfect right triangle delimitated by three major highways: Abdallah Yafi (formerly called Fouad I), Bechara el Khoury, and Damascus. Ras el Nabeh is a central residential neighborhood that is located almost midway between western and eastern Beirut. The northernmost tip of the triangle is less than 350 meters from the southern border of BCD, making it a very short walk from the trendiest, most prestigious, and best planned urban environment in the capital. Thanks to the surrounding traffic axes, Ras el Nabeh is easy to access, while its inner streets are quiet, insulated from the surrounding traffic – and its noise. This island-like quality has confirmed Ras el Nabeh as one of the city’s most sought-after residential neighborhoods. Since 2005, the area has been undergoing a surge of activity – construction sites are counted by the dozens. Sales ratios seem to indicate that the area’s popularity is likely to endure in the face of the current general stagnation.

Something for Everyone

The residential market of Ras el Nabeh has a wide range of prices that cater to a varied profile of clientele. Prices vary widely depending on the project’s exact location within the triangle – whether it looks North or South, whether it is along a main traffic axis or on one of the smaller inner roads, whether it has unobstructed views or looks onto other buildings, etc. The area has such a high concentration of new projects throughout all its network of roads that it has something to offer to every size of budget. The vast majority of the projects currently under construction in the area post selling prices that range between USD 2,500 and USD 3,000 per SQM for apartments that vary between 150 and 250 SQM. The average size of an apartment in Ras el Nabeh is 207 SQM. The average price of an apartment on the 6th floor is USD 662,000. This is the asking selling price, which benefits from slight reductions after negotiation. Ras el Nabeh is thus an ideal destination for families with medium-sized budgets looking for a middle-market home in Beirut.

North is Normal

The northern section of the triangle is the most affordable. That part of Ras el Nabeh is the least attractive, with closely packed buildings, and narrow streets, giving the impression of a very high population density. Despite being literally meters away from BCD, northern Ras el Nabeh has no views of the city center and does not truly benefit from this proximity. This is what explains the quality of the products found at that end of the neighborhood and their prices. Projects are indeed of relatively poor quality and post asking prices between USD 2,500-3,000 per SQM on the first floor. Apartment sizes are small, usually between 150 and 200 SQM, thus targeting budgets as low as USD 375,000. These are among the most affordable new apartments that can be found anywhere in the capital.

South is Seductive

The southern part of Ras el Nabeh overlooks the Hippodrome, the residence of the French ambassador, the young pine forest, and the French Embassy grounds. It has beautiful open views and it catches the best southern light. Projects along Abdallah Yafi Avenue are the most expensive. Prices start at USD 3,500 per SQM on the first floor. This is the entry ticket to enjoy the unobstructed, green views. From the 15th floor upward, prices can reach USD 5,000 per SQM. With apartment areas varying between 300-400 SQM, minimum target budgets stand at slightly above USD 1 million. The area immediately behind the French Embassy is in full swing. It is being modernized apace with the emergence of new projects. It is a very pleasant neighborhood with wide, quiet, strictly residential streets, and mostly brand new buildings of good construction quality. Because it has slightly more obstructed views, prices drop to around USD 3,000 per SQM. Apartment sizes vary between 200-250 SQM, targeting budgets starting at USD 600,000.

Ravenous Growth

The popularity of Ras el Nabeh is a two-edged sword. The area is undergoing development at the cost of tremendous transformation in its urban fabric. As there are very few vacant plots ready for development, new projects are being built on the ruins of old buildings. Anything that dates back to before the 1960s is being torn down to be replaced by new stock. Growth in the area is eating up the old urban structure of Ras el Nabeh. The neighborhood is certainly in the process of being gentrified, but its previous tenants (particularly old tenants) no longer have room in their childhood neighborhood.

Ras el Nabeh at a Glance

  • Average apartment size 207 SQM
  • Average number of floors by project 11.5
  • Average asking selling price (1st floor) USD 2,887 per SQM
  • Average price increase per floor USD 63 per SQM
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