Khaled Abbas, assistant minister of housing for technical affairs, said that development is no longer limited to the Greater Cairo area and the new cities surrounding it, but has moved to all the new cities in different areas for comprehensive development in many cities such as New Alamein, New Mansoura, West Qena, and West Assiut. He added that this was one of the requirements of the urban development plan 2052 to increase the country’s urban areas from 7% to 12% of its total area.
During the first day of Cityscape Conference, Abbas said that partnership with the private sector is one of the important mechanisms of the plan to boost development. “This is what the government has done successfully in the first phase of partnership projects, which transformed from memoranda of understanding to actual final contracts,” he added, noting that the government is now looking into the offers in the second phase of the partnership projects, with plans to offer a third phase at the end of this month, which reflects the governmental efforts.
He stressed that the real estate sector faced many challenges during the past year, but it was able to contribute to achieving high growth during the first and second quarters of the current fiscal year despite these challenges, which reflects the strong volume of demand and investment in this sector. He added that the keenness of the Ministry of Housing to develop an investment map on a biannual basis that shows upcoming offerings and their timings enables investors to study the investment opportunities available and choose from them.
Abbas also said that the Ministry of Housing is constantly studying all the variables faced by the real estate market to learn about the needs of developers.
He noted that the third phase of the partnership projects is planned to include some 10,000 feddans in the new cities, which are an extension of the urban development in all regions, pointing out that the increase in population will double by 2052, hence necessitating the need to implement development that precedes and absorbs such population growth.
Abbas stressed that the ministry is interested in dealing with all regulations and laws that challenge the real estate market in order to speed up development rates, in addition to interest in a wide range of customers who are not covered by the real estate companies, namely the middle-income segment, to bridge the gap in supply and demand. “The ministry implemented Dar Misr and Sakan Misr projects for this segment to offer housing units that are commensurate with the requirements and financial capabilities of that segment,” he explained.
He pointed out that the ministry is working to implement comprehensive development in the new cities it is developing, including New Alamein, which is developed through the integrated city system and not as a tourist resort, and includes employment opportunities, residential areas, recreation places, and services for citizens.
Abbas said that the state is now offering land through different bidding systems, such as bidding, partnership, and selling, which has made the supply of land very large.
He added that mortgage financing has been able to support many customers through the Central Bank of Egypt’s initiative to finance the limited and middle-income segments, but there is still a segment not covered in mortgage financing, especially with the high interest rate on mortgage financing, as well as a problem in awareness of the importance of mortgage financing and its role in supporting the customer’s decision to buy.
Abbas also said that the size of mortgage finance provided through the Central Bank of Egypt initiative exceeded EGP 10bn, which reflects the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Housing and the state in general to resolve the crises facing this important and distinguished sector.
He stressed that the Egyptian real estate market is characterised by the real demand for different classes of housing, which eliminates any fears of a crisis in sales and activity in that market, supporting the decision of the domestic investor and foreign investment in this important sector.
He pointed out that the real estate market, despite its strength, is irregular, which requires working on several mechanisms to achieve this organisation, the most important of which is the launch of a union of developers and the existence of a database for this sector that includes all figures for all employees in the real estate investment system, whether government, developer, real estate companies, or other entities operating within the mortgage finance system.
He pointed out that Egypt should follow all the technology used in the construction and real estate development sector and take into consideration the developments in the sector and the implementation of various real estate products that meet the needs of all customers.