Egypt: Solid real estate

Thanks to strong fundamentals, Egypt’s currently stagnant real estate sector is bracing for a boom on the long term – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Nesma Nowar, 23 – 29 February 2012.

… For the coming period, Shoukri expects a boom in residential real estate, affecting high-end, middle-income and affordable housing. Also, commercial real estate will witness a boom especially, according to Shoukri, in Cairo’s new districts. He added that previous projects in these areas have been successful, given the fact that land pricing in these areas is lower than in central Cairo.  

However, Shoukri does not expect change to happen before the last quarter of 2012. By then, presidential elections will have been held, while political stability will be completely restored.

Jim Drysdale, director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), agreed that there is a huge demand in Egypt’s residential and commercial real estate sectors. The RICS is a leading international professional body that deals with land, property and construction qualification and standards.

Drysdale said that there is a shortage in office space in downtown Cairo and business centre districts. Married couples, he said, place heavy demand on the residential real estate sector.

However, in order to capitalise on Egypt’s promising real estate market, Drysdale told the Weekly that it is very important to have an open and transparent legal framework through which lands are operated. “Transparency is very important for the real estate market,” he said.

After the 25 January Revolution, the country’s real estate sector has been blighted by legal issues over land ownership. Several real estate developers faced legal challenges to their holdings, after accusations of acquiring the land through illegal direct allocation. “Uncertainty over land transactions could drive investors away and it should be addressed,” said Drysdale.

According to Drysdale, if legal and political uncertainties go, Egypt’s real estate market could see a quick return of stability, as well as the emergence of prospects for real improvement.

This trust of the international business society in Egypt’s real estate market and the capability of the Egyptian economy to recover and grow in the upcoming period was apparent at Cityscape Egypt/Next Move real estate exhibition held this week in Cairo. The four-day exhibition hosted exhibitors from across the nation and featured leading real estate agents and mortgage institutions. The exhibition, which ends today, served as a platform for real estate professionals to conduct business, discuss strategies to develop and regulate the real estate industry, meet private and institutional investors and create joint venture partnerships. (fullt text).

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