Egypt’s Economic Summit will launch an era of developments, according to Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors with the commercial sector of Maxim Holdings, Amr El-Kady.
El-Kady added that the real estate sector is continuously growing despite the political challenges of the past four years.
The government’s trend of new legislations will further encourage the sector’s growth, El-Kady said, referring to the unified investment law that aims to ease acquisition of licences and approvals for development projects.
“With the high population growth and the Egyptians’ need for housing units, the sector’s growth chances are immense, alongside the huge projects offered by the government, such as the New Suez Canal project,” he added.
Despite the political unrest Egypt witnessed over the last four years, the sector did not witness decline, according to El-Kady.
The period before the 25 January Revolution witnessed the highest growth in the real estate sector, with growth rates exceeding 15%, according to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.
Egypt relies on the real estate sector as one of the most important economical activities to push forward growth rates in the upcoming period, according to El-Kady. Egypt targets a growth rate of about 4% by the end of the current fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015.
The growth of the sector triggers other sector activities like cement and steel industries, in addition to curbing the high unemployment rates, the vice chairman noted.
Despite the big growth opportunities for the real estate sector, El-Kady believes there are still challenges along the way. The most important of these is the lack of offered lands with utilities, whether lands for tourism and industrial activities or for housing units.
Land issues in Egypt are the biggest constraint for the sector because they contribute to units’ price increase due to the declining number of lands offered, El-Kady said.
A number of workers in the field have previously recommended that the sector’s investors cooperate in preparing lands the government aims to offer with facilities in exchange for part of the sales to be agreed upon. However, El-Kady sees that this will waste real estate investors’ efforts and disrupt their main business.
El-Kady believes that postponing the unified investment law the government plans on issuing will hinder the sector’s growth, due to the difficulty in obtaining licences and approvals for the projects.
In addition to the challenges the sector faces, El-Kady sees the low income of Egyptians as one of the obstacles to move forward. “The government has to set successful economic policies to improve the individuals’ living standards so they can buy housing units to meet their needs,” he said
El-Kady said investments in the high-cost housing units will decrease during the next period under the growing demand for the mid-cost housing units.