This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Anbar Families Seeking Safety Sell Homes At Half Price, Fuelling Real Estate Boom

If there is one winner in the province of Anbar right now, it may well be those dealing in real estate. Families who have returned want to leave again, and are selling property at half price to be able to do so.

Ramadi local, Omar al-Hamdani, 48, says he never thought he would live anywhere else but his hometown. But things are becoming impossible.

“Working hours and transport is determined by the military leaders here, using security plans that often don’t appear to be very well organised,” he told NIQASH. “Sometimes one of the security teams at one of the checkpoints blocks a whole neighbourhood from going to work, using the excuse that there are security breaches that threaten the population,” he complains.

Security procedures in Ramadi are complex and time consuming and his family are only too well aware that there is still significant threat of extremist attacks. Additionally, al-Hamdani says, health care facilities are non-existent nor is schooling. On top of this, a business he had founded while out of Anbar was doing well and would support him in the semi-autonomous and far more secure northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

So he’s relocating. To move though, al-Hamdani has had to sell his house, a large property in a good central neighbourhood.

“In the past my house was valued at about IQD250 million [about US$208,000] but I sold it for IQD150 million. I know this is a low price but I didn’t hesitate,” al-Hamdani explains. “I wanted to stop paying anything toward the house – the payments were a terrible burden on us while we were displaced – and now I just want a safe, secure life for my family away from ideological conflicts or any threat of further displacement.”

While selling property at such a low price means a loss for the sellers, it is proving to be an opportunity for the buyers.