COVID-19 to accelerate real estate company digitisation: Developers

Shaimaa Al-Aees
4 Min Read

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis will accelerate the pace of digitisation among real estate companies whilst also encouraging fundamental strategies to maintain and revive demand, according to local real estate developers.

During discussions as part of the “Smart Real Estate Amid COVID-19” webinar held last week, the developers also discussed introducing and engaging in technology as an important step for the property market.

After discussing possible scenarios for a market recovery, the developers added that demand will be revived in the real estate sector when it makes use of technology and smart solutions.

Khaled Abbas, Deputy Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities for National Projects, said the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic represents a major challenge for the real estate sector in the coming period.

Abbas emphasised that it is possible for the government and real estate developers to have a joint cooperation protocol. This would include methods of dealing with the pandemic’s side-effects, whilst encouraging a complete vision to preserve the real estate market in the current period to overcome this crisis.

He added that digital transformation has become an inevitable part of change, and it is a sector in which his ministry has gained significant experience in e-commerce which developers can apply.

The government move to using online services can be seen in the government’s offering of units and land in the Beit Al Watan project to Egyptian expatriates. Information on units and contract terms were placed online six years ago, Abbas said.

He pointed out that contracting companies will play an important role in the real estate sector during the current period. They can preserve construction work timetables whilst also applying precautionary measures to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus.

Amr Soliman, Chairperson of Mountain View, revealed that his company worked with the former director of the Egyptian Chemical Weapons Program on a health and safety protocol in the workplace and at construction sites. Workers have already been trained to follow safety procedures and precautions to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Ahmed Shalaby, President and CEO of Tatweer Misr, said the company has reduced the workforce at its construction sites to between 70% and 80%. It called on other real estate companies to implement the same policy to help protect employee health.

Shalaby said, “All of this may cause additional costs for the developers, but it will actually lead to the best results in terms of adherence to implementation plans and schedules.”

Ali El-Shorbany, Chairperson of Tabarak Developments, said the coronavirus crisis will change Egypt’s real estate map, as some real estate fields will be more in demand than others.

El-Shorbany added that the building materials market has remained stable despite the difficult period, with no significant changes in prices. On the back of this, it is expected that property prices will remain stable in the short term, despite the change in demand.

CEO of IWAN Developments, Waleed Mokhtar, believes the pandemic has clearly revealed the lack of medical services provisions within residential communities, which is also one of obstacles that prevent property export.

Mokhtar said, “This must be taken into consideration, as it is expected that the real estate industry in Egypt will witness an unprecedented boom in medical services and hospitals in the near future.”

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