Egyptian real estate remains immune to world crisis

The real estate sector in Egypt continues to perform well as there is a large gap between supply and demand, it is claimed.

The positive outlook is expected to result in a good attendance at the second Next Move 2009 real estate investment exhibition in Cairo later this month, according to the organisers ACG-ITF.

'Egypt's real estate sector continues to perform well in contrast to those of other regional players which are struggling to cope with current market and economic conditions. Internally, residents believe in the stability of property investments and have a good grasp of changing business cycles,' said Ahmad Ghozzi, Chairman and CEO.

'There is still a large gap between supply and demand which developers can capitalize on, especially in family centered projects as there are about 500,000 marriages annually. In addition, the general view towards the crisis is not as gloomy in this part of the world. Property owners and developers thus have a positive outlook on the industry's performance for this year,' he added.

He believes that a different attitude to financing is one reason the Egyptian market has not reached a crisis point. 'In Egypt financing is not debt based since property buyers often purchase from their surplus liquid money. The portion of payment that is financed is up to 3% only,' he explained.

Official figures show that the total annual supply of housing units is 150,000 only, which represents a deficit of up to 350,000 units per year. There is also a cultural attitude that results in Egyptians who prefer to buy into stable and fixed assets such as property during hard times.

Egypt's real estate sector offers several investment advantages, such as the absence of capital gains and inheritance tax, affordable cost of living, a thriving tourist industry, a warm dessert climate which attracts year round rental opportunities, and close proximity to major European destinations, the organiser also said.

The rapid expansion of Egypt's banking sector has further helped support current local property sector conditions. 'Next Move will present some of the opportunities opened up by these trends and discuss the role of real estate development and investment in supporting long term growth plans,' added Ghozzi.

Over 50 major Arab and Egyptian real estate companies as well as banks and real estate financing institutions will be at the four day exhibition at the Cairo International Conference centre that starts on April 28.