CAIRO: As all eyes continue to focus on Egypt’s evergreen real estate sector, the Euromoney Egypt Housing and Real Estate Finance Conference will open today in Cairo, bringing together some 700 high profile industry experts.
“The main objective of tomorrow’s conference is to explain Egypt’s real estate market and mortgage finance market to local and international investors, said Richard Banks, director of Euromoney Conferences in the Middle East.
“With a large and young population driving the real estate sector, Egypt is experiencing a boom in this sector, drawing attention to the need for sustained reforms and developments that will not only continue to foster international investment in this sector but will also increase opportunities for financing affordable residential property, he added.
After years of underperformance, Egypt’s property and property finance sectors are now moving fast, with the country’s real estate sector estimated to grow 15 percent annually and mortgage finance market constituting around 7-8 percent of the country’s GDP.
Investments in Egypt’s real estate market are in excess of $52 billion in more than 16 mega projects. Several Gulf investors have recently eyed Egypt’s promising real estate market, developing several mega projects in parallel.
Consequently, sub-sectors such as mortgage finance are on the move as well. Currently, the total size of mortgage finance in Egypt hovers at more than LE 2 billion. It is available through seven companies that have begun operations in the past two years, besides some 14 banks.
The Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) – established to oversee proper implementation of the mortgage law as well as to supervise mortgage finance companies operating in Egypt – expects the size of mortgage finance to double to some LE 4 billion and the number of specialized companies to reach 10 by year-end.
Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Investment and the MFA, the Euromoney Conference will host the movers and shakers of real estate development and mortgage finance including SODIC, Emaar Egypt, Talaat Moustafa Group, Rooya Group, Amlak Finance, Tamweel Mortgage, Bank of Alexandria, National Bank of Egypt, among others.
“Tomorrow’s conference provides an opportunity for Egypt to shed light on the latest developments in housing and mortgage finance sectors as well as attract international players to these two promising sectors, said Ossama Saleh, chairman of the MFA.
“Today, several Egyptian companies have established joint ventures with international firms such as Goldman Sachs, which further proves Egypt’s success in real estate and mortgage finance, he said.
“The Euromoney Conference will put Egypt in the spotlight as well as draw on international expertise from pioneers in mortgage finance which will all act to the benefit of the country’s housing finance market, he added.
The conference will highlight opportunities and challenges in Egypt’s real estate and mortgage finance markets amid ever-increasing supply and demand as well as rising development costs.
“In light of ongoing hikes in prices of raw material and dwellings prices, mortgage finance has become the only answer to Egypt’s housing problems, stated Saleh adding that the conference will highlight means of developing cost-effective property in Egypt.
“The problem of affordable housing is not unique to Egypt … For example, [today], we will have a presentation on what the UK s government has done with regards to affordable housing, explained Banks. “One of the things that we will discuss in this conference is how international experience will be brought to bear in Egypt.
“It’s important for the people of Egypt to understand that they’re not alone in facing these challenges … and that is how the conference will try to bring in the best experience from cities like Hong Kong and Dubai … because this is not an academic conference. This is not people presenting theories but presenting actual solutions that we hope will benefit Egypt, he added.
Banks pointed out that the affordability question will be a major theme in the conference, whereby ministers of investment and housing, along with MFA’s Saleh, will deliver ownership deeds for affordable homes to their new owners live on stage. The conference will also see the signing of master agreement for mortgage refinancing between the Egyptian Mortgage Refinance Company and the Egyptian Housing Finance Company for the total value of LE 50 million.
Euromoney organizes conferences for cross-border investment and capital markets; portfolio and direct investors, financial intermediaries, corporations, governments, banks, and financial institutions. It seeks to offer business leaders and decision makers the opportunity to exchange ideas, develop new contacts and participate in leading edge discussions.
Euromoney runs three annual conferences on Egypt as well as publishes an annual country profile on Egypt.