Sunday, November 03, 2013

Karbala's Property Values

Property values in the central district of the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala, Iraq are now comparable to those in downtown Tokyo:
Real estate prices in Iraq’s southern city of Karbala are rocketing. Recently the price per square meter for a hotel located between two of the holy shrines that draw so many visitors to Karbala was recorded as US$3,900...
The expansion of the shrines is going to raise property prices throughout the city, says local economist Khalid al-Taei. Given the huge numbers of visitors coming to Karbala every year and the development of various international business complexes here, al-Taei predicts that prices per square meter could even go as high as US$4,500...
The agents overseeing the funds dedicated to the shrines of Imam Hussein and the shrine dedicated to his loyal brother, Abbas, have already purchased a lot of agricultural land around Karbala and those sites are supposedly earmarked for the construction of things like tourist villages, more mosques and other commercial buildings. So far, three tourist villages are being built and they’re located on the Karbala-Najaf and the Baghdad – Erbil roads.
Judging from the article, there are two reasons for this.  One is the fact that lots of high government officials in Iraq's Shi'ite-dominated government are buying homes in the holy city.  The other is the huge boom in pilgrims to Karbala, with estimates ranging from 15-25 million visitors per year.  Right now, Karbala is more expensive than Baghdad.



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