City Edge Developments has, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, introduced a range of innovative digital solutions this summer at its mega national project, New Alamein City.
The company has established itself as Egypt’s leading national developer and the government’s main real estate sector arm, and serves as the handling development consultancy for sales and marketing of different national projects targeting various sectors.
To introduce its North Coast project, the company has launched a virtual tour of New Alamein City by adapting advanced VR technology. The move was put in place to ease viewing capabilities for clients and investors, without their having to be physically present on-site, and to take into account precautionary measures due to the pandemic.
The virtual tour has also been designed to provide clients and investors with an instant sense of ownership, allowing them to experience the location of all units remotely. This means that clients will be able to virtually visit units and experience the surroundings without the need for their physical presence, giving them a sense of autonomy and personal connection.
The virtual tour has also been touted as a means of attracting regional investors, especially given that international travel remains difficult.
“Technology integration in managing real estate projects is one of our top priorities, as it is the future of real estate,” City Edge CEO Mohamed Mekawy said. “Additionally, City Edge has shifted to rely on digital marketing through its social media platforms.”
Mekawy noted that the current global health crisis has pushed many sectors to focus on various and innovative digital solutions, emphasising the importance of digital transformation. The real estate sector has witnessed much technological advancement throughout this period, including the implementation of 3-D modelling technology to allow clients to be just one click away from viewing their units or the overall project.
“We, at City Edge, are highly aware of the payment difficulties imposed on the real estate market by the COVID-19 crisis, so we were keen to offer our clients various options that are intended to facilitate the overall payment plan,” Mekawy said. “We are offering different payment plans for all our various projects, including a seven-year payment plan in New Alamein City for Mazarine and the Gate Towers, a 10-year payment plan for Downtown in New Alamein, and a special offer for Etapa in Sheikh Zayed City that will introduce a 0% down payment and equal instalments over 10 years.”
Mekawy added that the company has also recently signed protocols with Al Aoula for Real Estate Mortgage Finance and the Suez Canal Bank (SCB), to tailor different payment plans for potential buyers and investors in City Edge projects.
One of these plans will take place through the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) mortgage finance offer. According the protocol, the CBE will provide different payment plans for City Edge customers through three systems.
The first includes providing real estate financing with an instalment period extending over 20 years, and at a minimum deposit of 20%.
The second system includes the provision of various payment plans, for units not included in the CBE initiative, of up to 10 years in accordance with the real estate mortgage finance law. The third system offers various instalment periods of up to 10 years, provided the contracting clients wishes to sell units to others according to the re-sale system.
Mekawy added that clients are likely to require a different set of needs following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the tendency towards communities with large, open spaces. This will take into account the shift in customer needs towards gardens and home office spaces, along with government, commercial and telecommunication network facilities.
He noted that this would come in addition to an inevitable change in administrative building space, since the new norm will be smaller office spaces. The commercial and retail sectors are also set to be affected by the pandemic, as e-commerce grows in popularity worldwide.
He added that commercial office spaces are expected to undergo significant changes, as working from home becomes the new norm, rather than the exception, for certain industries.
“We need to look more into the hospitality sector though the introduction of serviced apartments and branded residences as this will encourage foreign travel and investment,” Mekawy said.