Let me ask you this: Why would I pay around 10,000,000 Syrian Pounds (Around $200,000) for a flat in this mess, when I can get something like that house in the other picture for less than that?
Yes, I know it's because of the geographic location. That mess is at home, while the beautiful house is thousands of miles away on another continent. But I also live on that far away continent and only come home for a visit. I'm not saying this will never change. My dream was always to make it back home. I also have my parents house where the only resident living there now is my mom.
On the other hand, real estate purchase in Syria is one of the best investments one can make. When I visited home in 2001 everyone begged me to buy a house. After my last visit this year, I realized this wasn't a bad idea after all. My family house is worth around 6 times more than it did in 2001. Read this report and you'll realize the effect of the Syrian real estate market on the economy. The report states that the real estate and construction sectors employed together a total of 735,931 people in 2007 out of a total active population of 4,945,977, or 15% of the Syrian workforce. In other words, the size of the workforce in real estate is around three times the size of the sector’s share of Syria’s GDP (4.27%). Beyond economics, the importance of the real estate industry derives from the strong impact it has on the social and border development spheres.
" Dear fellas, I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry"
I borrowed this phrase from my favorite movie The Shawshank Redemption . So many people, too many cars, trucks, busses...... Damascus looks like a constant rush hour in New York city. Every Damascene household had at least one car. Smog covered the city with a thick dark cloud. When I left home, everyone's dream back there was to own a car someday. Automobile prices were the highest in the world. " Be careful what you wish for, it might come true".
"Driving in Syria is hazardous and requires great caution. Although drivers generally follow traffic signs and signals, they often maneuver aggressively and show little regard for vehicles traveling behind or to the sides of them. Lane markings are usually ignored. Vehicles within Syrian traffic circles must give way to entering traffic, unlike in the United States. At night, it is very hard to see pedestrians, who often walk into traffic with little warning. Outside major cities it is common to find pedestrians, animals and vehicles without lights on the roads at night. Pedestrians must also exercise caution. Parked cars, deteriorating pavement, and guard posts obstruct sidewalks, often forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. Vehicles often do not stop for pedestrians, and regularly run red lights or “jump” the green light well before it changes."
This was a direct quote from the U.S. Department of State Website . It summarizes the chaotic state of traffic in Syria. It justifies my fear everytime one of my nieces walks 100 meters to her grandparents house down the street. Is there a quick solution? I'm not sure. I do know it starts with the people, the drivers.