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The suspension of interest rate subsidies on housing loans in the beginning of the year caused demand for properties in the first quarter of 2018 to drop by 23.7 percent compared to the same period of 2017, according to Byblos Bank Real Estate Demand Index.Many commercial banks have responded by offered housing loans in dollars with an average interest rate of seven percent.Commenting on the results, Nassib Ghobril, chief economist and head of the economic research and analysis department at the Byblos Bank Group, said, "Demand for housing in Lebanon declined sharply in the first quarter of 2018 due to the suspension of interest-rate subsidies on housing loans at the beginning of the year". He added the central bank, in cooperation with commercial banks, has subsidized the interest rates on housing loans since 2009 .According to a survey by Byblos Bank Real Estate Demand Index, only 3.8 percent of Lebanese residents had plans to either buy or build a residential property in the coming six months compared to 5.1 percent in fourth quarter of 2017 .
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