Tunisians are turning to renting homes instead of owning them

With a pale face looking distressed, Faisal Al-Hamzawi says he is fed up with the constant rise in apartment and house rents in the capital, Tunis, and that his big dream is to own a house and get rid of the rent that accompanies him from when he was a student at the university until now after he was employed in a ministry.

And considering that obtaining a bank loan to finance the purchase of a house has become expensive, as the interest rate reaches 13 percent, Faisal Al-Hamzawy (37 years old and single) will find himself forced to continue to go between houses and apartments.

The reporter of “Independent Arabia” believes that Tunisia’s economic crisis has greatly affected the cost of building real estate, the prices of which have risen remarkably, making it difficult to find housing in Tunisia, forcing many citizens to turning towards the rental market.

According to the testimony of many Tunisians looking for rent and lease, the prices of apartments and houses for rent have risen in recent years, becoming a playground for speculation and competition as well as a profitable investment.

noticeable increase

The “Mubawab” platform, the leading property site in Tunisia in the rental market index measure that follows the dynamics of the long-term rental market at the national level, confirmed the registration of a 10.8 percent increase in the cost of renting empty apartments during the first half of 2022 compared to the first third of 2021. .

Rental demand has been characterized by high growth, with demand reaching six times the supply of empty apartments in the first half of 2022.

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As for the rental price of three-bedroom apartments, it averages more than 2,000 dinars per month (645 dollars) and reaches 2,700 dinars (871 dollars) in the luxury areas of the lake, Carthago and La Marsa, which are the first ranks for the most expensive rent in Tunisia.

In the same category, the average rent varies between 880 and 920 dinars (284 and 296 dollars) in the western and southern suburbs of the capital, while the price of rent in the coast and the tribal homeland exceeds 875 dinars per month ( 282 dollar).

The platform stated that the highest average rent on the coast in El Kantaoui, a well-known tourist area, was recorded at 1,300 dinars ($420).

pull

Faisal Al-Hamzawy adds that the search for rent in Tunisia is also a tedious, arduous and expensive journey, as rental prices double from one day to the next, and the Tunisian family can no longer keep up with the insane increase in current prices. not. .

And through his experience in the search for houses and apartments, he noticed a remarkable increase in rental prices in Tunisia, even in ordinary neighborhoods, far from the rental values ​​in luxury and luxurious neighborhoods, which exceed the value of the salary of an ordinary Tunisian employee.

He justified the high rent, from his point of view, by the high demand for rent in light of the difficulty of owning a house in Tunisia in recent years, followed by sarcastically, “One of the reasons for the lack of demand for marriage in Tunisia is the lack of owning a house and the increasing expenses.”

The spokesperson says that rents, as all economic sectors are controlled by the cost of housing construction, and the absence of a clear housing policy for the state contributed to raising prices to levels that exceeded the spending capacity of the middle class of Tunisian society.

He explains that the middle class, which used to make up about 60 percent of all Tunisians, is the segment that has become most in demand for rent, having lost the ability to own a home due to high prices and speculation that the real estate development sector knew.

out of control

Faisal al-Hamzawi, who has spent almost two decades of his life between houses in the various suburbs of the capital, Tunis, believes that the real estate rental market in Tunisia is experiencing unprecedented chaos, exceeding citizens’ spending power, amid accusations of brokers. of turning the market into an arena for price speculation at the expense of the citizens’ right to housing.

He added, “The high rents in Tunisia have turned into something like a non-stop snowball, offset by a decrease in citizens’ incomes due to the wave of inflation and the repercussions of the economic crisis.”

He believes there is great dissatisfaction among Tunisians about the chaos in rental prices, and points fingers at real estate brokers, having used social media to achieve their goals, as these brokers publish offers for renting apartments and shops at high prices, until they out of control due to speculation and the absence of control over the work of brokers. And mediation agencies, criticizing the forced submission of citizens to unregulated market provisions, and just looking at the conditions for obtaining a loan to purchase an apartment convince him and the rest of Tunisians that the matter is impossible, “the simple citizen suffers between the anvil of unfair amounts of rent (rent) and the rising prices of real estate.”

He added, “The rising property prices have become a nightmare for anyone who dreams of owning a home. Living expenses are high, and banks impose complex conditions.”

investment

Anis Gharbi, a real estate specialist and director of the “Tunisia Mubawab real estate advertising platform,” admits that the residence, whose area varies between 120 and 160 square meters, is preferred by the Tunisian to rent, pointing out that there are ‘ a high demand for this type of housing, especially consisting of a living room and three bedrooms.

To cope with the increasing daily expenses, many Tunisian families have raised one or two floors, or allocated small spaces inside the house to rent out to those looking for rent.

This phenomenon has spread remarkably in Tunisia, and it has turned into a profitable investment, especially after the expiration of the bank loan granted for the extension of the house and access to the net profit.

Zikra Al-Khawalfi (45 years old) says that she got a joint bank loan with her husband and finished building an upper floor in her house in one of the northern suburbs of the capital, Tunis, to put in the new floor to live, provided that she rents the lower floor in a move to improve her monthly income.

Finally, although Tunisia is one of the best countries in the world in which families own their homes within the scope of 75 percent, in recent years they have faced great difficulties in providing homes and land for the construction of residential complexes with the high cost of bank loans, which allowed the phenomenon of renting to grow remarkably. .

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