As part of its Africa Report 2013, Knight Frank has issued the following analysis of the Libya property market:
There remains a limited supply of purpose-built office space in Tripoli and this is still predominantly provided in the Tripoli Tower (formerly Burj Al Fateh Tower), which provides moderate quality accommodation, and the Dhat El-Emad development which is an older building. A new office building next to Tripoli Tower, Burj Bulayla, has still not been opened and occupied.
Tripoli Tower is now running close to 100% occupancy with a few large-scale occupiers and a greater number of smaller occupiers including representative or start up offices of international companies entering the Libyan market. Rents are still at the historic rate of LYD 49 (c.US$40) per sq m per month and have been static for a number of years.
The retail market remains underdeveloped and the construction of a number of planned retail malls has stalled. The majority of retail space is provided in street front units with the prime end of the market being focused on the Gargaresh area to the west of the city centre. In other areas, there has been further development of street front units although many of these are technically illegal as they are outside of current commercial use zones. There are a limited number of international retailers in the market and at this stage they are generally present with small-scale outlets. International brands in Libya include Marks and Spencer, Next and Cinnabon.
Much of the industrial activity in Libya relates to oil and gas and as this is capital intensive it makes only a limited contribution to employment growth. The promotion of private sector industry and the diversification of the economy are seen as priorities, and will require the development of properly planned industrial zones. Free zones are also being suggested to encourage private industrial development.
The main ex-pat areas of Tripoli are located to the east of the city centre in Bin Ashour, Dahra and Noufleen, while other residential areas can be found out to the west along the Gargaresh Road, at Al Sirraj and Janzour. Palm City provides modern ex-pat compound living (413 units for lease) and is understood to now be fully occupied, with rents ranging from $3,500 to $13,000 per month.
In terms of housing for locals, there is seen to be a significant requirement for new units nationally in order to meet demand. Many new large-scale projects were under construction prior to the revolution but have yet to be completed. Disputes over contracts and compensation have led to few of the projects resuming and with negotiations ongoing to resolve complex issues, these projects may remain in an unfinished state for some time.