Man Without Qualities


Monday, October 17, 2005


Companion Pieces

A little while ago a friend of ours, a senior member of one of the wealthiest and best connected families in Jordan, sent me this report, which he viewed as a bad sign of what is happening in Iraq:
Jordan's property boom has been attracting new investors and start ups both locally and from further afield recently, with the kingdom's political stability, reforms in foreign ownership and bank initiatives catching property buyers' eyes. At the same time, more negative factors are also feeding the boom, as an increase in Iraqis fleeing their war-torn country has sent real estate prices through the roof. Recent claims in the sector suggest that Iraqi purchases of Jordanian real estate may have gone up by as much as 170% in the last 12 months.
Now, with the Iraq constitution tentatively accepted, we have this interesting companion item, which I have forwarded to our friend for comment:
A five-bedroom river-view house sold three years ago for $45,000. Two years ago it sold again, this time for $80,000. It sold a third time in August. The latest price tag? $300,000. It's not in Charlotte or Kansas City or Philadelphia; it's in Baghdad. The market here is booming. ... Still, despite steadily increasing levels of violence, a great deal of money flows into Iraq, enough that property values have increased close to 1,000 percent in the past three years in parts of town.

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