Tarek Shoukry, the head of the Real Estate Development Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries and the undersecretary of the housing committee at the House of Representatives, stated that the proposed initiative to sell real estate units in dollars is only for expatriates and foreigners, not for Egyptians living in Egypt. The aim is to ensure the inflow of foreign currency into the Egyptian market.
Shoukry added that the initiative requires paying the full value of the unit in dollars upfront, not in installments. The buyer will get the full value of the unit back 10 years after the purchase.
The initiative will benefit all three parties involved: the government, the buyer, and the developer. The government will secure the entry of foreign currency into the Egyptian economy and will guarantee the refund of the money to the buyer after 10 years. The buyer will benefit from the cashback and recover the full value of the unit. The developer will also benefit greatly from the initiative, as it will increase the demand and sales of the units, according to Shoukry.
At the Decision Makers conference- Real Estate, organized by San&Sam Communications, Ahmed Shalaby, the president and CEO of Tatweer Misr, said that the private sector must work to attract hard currency to Egypt and focus on exporting property.
Shalaby added that 50% of the private companies’ sales were made outside Egypt, which means that out of the total sales of EGP 1 trillion, EGP 500 billion were achieved by expatriates and foreigners. He noted, “This sales volume must be transferred to the state in dollars instead of Egyptian pounds.”
Amr Soliman, the CEO of Mountain View, stated that digitization is very helpful in the real estate investment sector. He explained that the Egyptian economy is growing, but there are challenges that developers should handle.
Soliman said that Egypt has faced many crises since 2009, including price increases and currency fluctuations. He said that developers must be prepared for these crises and adapt to the challenges to succeed.
Abdallah Sallam, the CEO of Madinat Masr, highlighted that Egypt’s real estate market is fine, despite the economic challenges that the global economy is facing. He stressed that the real estate sector is the engine of the Egyptian economy in every sense of the word.
Sallam said: “I do not care about the dollar price, but what matters is stability because it greatly affects the real estate market. Even though some industries have been completely shut down, there is a demand for real estate in times of crises.”
Basel El Hini, the chairperson of the Housing and Development Bank, said that Egypt did not have tourist facilities as they exist now. He said that Egypt has large tourist cities in various regions, which contribute to increasing tourism and attracting hard currency.
El Hini added that real estate development should be treated in the future as tourism development. He suggested that land may become a source of profit in the next stage.
Real estate sector faces challenges and opportunities in exporting property
Ehab Awad, the vice president of AMG, said: “The idea of exporting Egypt’s real estate can work for the Syrians, Yemenis, and Sudanese because they need it as they live and invest in Egypt. But the idea of exporting real estate in general, I do not think we have a chance.”
Awad added that the state should provide a suitable environment for the dollar to flow in the market.
Hesham Shoukry, the head of the Real Estate Export Council, said: “We need to organize our ideas for the local real estate sector, and we must analyze the markets that we will target.”
Shoukry noted that the sales volume to expatriates in real estate reached $15 million, but the problem has become the availability of foreign currency, which no longer comes to Egypt even in the parallel market.
“Every expatriate’s goal is to build or buy a house or an apartment. Additionally, there is a demand for real estate located near the sea. Accordingly, the Red Sea is now in high demand,” Shoukry pointed out.
Ahmed Ehab, the CEO of Madaar Development, said that serviced units achieve great success in most countries of the world because they encourage tourism. He noted that the more branded units there are, the more hotel nights there will be in Egypt.
Ehab disclosed that participation in foreign exhibitions must be significantly expanded during the coming period, especially in Arab countries and the Gulf region. He also said that more advantages and incentives should be provided for foreigners to own property in Egypt.
Mohamed Samy Saad, the president of the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors, said that large projects in the local real estate sector have started to decrease recently, and thus the contracting sector has begun to look for foreign opportunities. He said that it was necessary to work in cooperation with Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and Turkey.
Samy predicted that a large number of Egyptian companies would migrate abroad during the coming period, expecting them to succeed. He said that work is being done on a platform with Egyptian, Arab, and African parties.
Moataz Raslan, the chairperson of the Canada Egypt Business Council (CEBC), said that the state’s general policy in dealing with real estate marketing has been working well, and it has started to make good decisions, such as offering citizenship and residency in exchange for buying real estate.
Raslan elaborated: “We need to think out of the box, and not focus only on apartments, but on the developer as well. There must be coordination with the Ministry of Tourism to provide facilities for the buyer to meet their needs and requirements. In the past, the market was very thirsty, but today with new cities such as the New Administrative Capital and New Alamein, the size has become huge and the burden on the developer has become very high.”