Since the Egyptian government announced, at the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm El-Sheikh on 13 March 2015, its intention to launch a new capital city (New Administrative Capital), a public outcry has accused the government of launching a media crackdown and building imaginary success based on a far-fetched idea of expanding into the desert to erect a colourful capital for Egypt.
The New Administrative Capital (NAC) has a bright future as it is the natural extension of New Cairo. The NAC project was announced in March 2015 and was launched last October.
Egypt has achieved great success in developing the NAC. Over the past two years, the Administrative Capital for Urban Development, the state-owned company overseeing the city’s development, has sold 5,000 feddans to about 40 companies.
Furthermore, the ambitious governmental plan aims to increase the size of Egypt’s urban areas to 12% by 2050, and with 14 cities already in the pipeline to absorb population growth, the country is aggressively undertaking the real estate sector’s most pressing needs.
The NAC is built over 168,000 feddans of land. It is bordered by Badr City, with both in between the Cairo-Suez Road and the Cairo-Ain Sokhna Road, adjacent to New Cairo, Future City, and Madinaty.
The announced cost is $45bn and is expected to host 5 million people by the year 2050.
The first phase is expected to be on an area over 10,000 feddans, hosting around 7 million people. The second stage will be built over 15,000 feddans. The first stage of the first phase will be finished by the end of this year.
The NAC is the latest and largest investment and real estate project in Egypt. A temporary road currently leads into the new city until the main road, Mohamed Bin Zayed Road, is completed.
The new city is planned to host a conference centre, exhibition city, governmental district, residential district, medical city, sports city, , and a smart city, in addition to a huge central garden, spread over 8 sqkm.
The “green river” is considered the most prominent attraction for expected residents and tourists, a waterway that imitates the Nile River. It is expected to run 35 km, crossing the city and its universities. The green river is expected to be covered by many central and entertainment gardens over the space of 5,000 feddans and will be open to citizens free of charge.
Egypt has ambitions to complete the development of the first phase within three to four years maximum, aiming to include a government district to house a new presidential palace, parliament, and 32 ministries, as well as foreign embassies.
Furthermore, the NAC will include monorails, as the Ministries of Housing and Transport announced their plans to launch two monorail projects in Greater Cairo. They will serve 48,000 passengers per route and 1 million passengers daily. It is expected to be complete by 2020.
Moreover, it will include a central business district and the tallest building in Africa, to be developed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) on 500 sqm. It will include 12 business complexes, five residential building, and two hotels.
A new opera will be established on 120 feddans, as well as a large mosque and a cathedral, planned to become the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The new cathedral is twice the size of Cairo’s Saint Mark Cathedral, the current headquarters.
Concerning infrastructure, the project will be linked via a new railway line, which will be connected to the country’s railway network. In addition, an electric train project, which will link the city to both 10th of Ramadan and Bilbeis cities. Moreover, an international airport will be built over 33 sqkm in addition to a 650-km road network.
Residential area of the NAC
The new capital will include 21 residential districts, hotels, playgrounds, and an airport, as well as schools, hospitals, and shopping centres.
The total number of residential units is 25,000 with areas ranging between 130 and 180 sqm. The number of residential units in the first phase is 17,000, with about 65% of the phase completed.
The residential area of the NAC offers different residential units, varying in space and location.
The district offers 4,000 villas and townhouses with areas between 200 and 400 sqm. One hundred and ninety villas and 71 townhouses will be built in the first stage, while 139 villas and 50 townhouses are pegged for the second stage.
Furthermore, the project encompasses several residential compounds, some of which are under construction, while others have already finished their first phase. The most prominent are Il Bosco, Midtown, Midtown Solo, Rhodes, The City, Pukka, and Tiba Rose.
Average sales prices range from EGP 4,000 to EGP 18,000 per sqm. The developers offer reservations with a down payment ranging from 10% to 20%, with payment plans from six to nine years. Delivery dates start from mid-2020.
The Administrative Capital for Urban Development awarded the development of the city to a number of Egypt’s biggest developers, including Talaat Moustafa Group Holding Comppany, Hassan Allam Holding, Concord for Engineering and Construction, a coalition including Orascom, Petrojet, and Wadi El Nile. Also participating are an Egyptian-Spanish coalition and the CSCEC, one of the world’s top 250 construction companies and the company behind building Africa’s tallest skyscraper (345 metres), which will be constructed in the heart of the NAC’s business centre.
The construction of the governmental district is 25% complete. Five thousand feddans of land was sold to real estate companies in the first phase of the capital, including land for residential, commercial, and administrative uses.
Forty percent of the administrative capital’s land will be used for residential activities.
Sixty percent of road construction has been completed
Great demand, price hikes
Apartment prices in New Cairo increased by 59% over the past year, which is a sign that investing in the real estate market is still the most attractive investment opportunity in Egypt, according to Ayman Sami, head of JLL MENA’s Egypt office.
Demand for new capital on online platforms
During the period between December 2016 and May 2017, the New Administrative Capital was not popular on the online marketplace OLX. Yet, starting from last July to January, the number of searches for properties listed for sale in the NAC increased 12 times compared to the first six months of 2017, with an average of 26,000 searches per month, representing 88% of total property searches on OLX.