In an interview with Daily News Egypt, AqarMap CEO Amad Almsaodi talked about the demands in the real estate market and the market’s purchasing power.
What is AqarMap’s contribution to supporting Egypt’s real estate market?
Aqarmap.com is a research engine that helps the real estate buyer in looking for offers, with prices, from real estate developers, real estate marketing companies or individuals who offer units for sale. We are an advertising platform that combines the two parties [buyers and sellers]. Every month our platform receives 1.2 million visitors, 75% of whom are in Egypt, and the rest are Egyptians living outside Egypt in Gulf countries, America and Europe.
From our experience, there are 1 million users, which is a very large sample of the market, and thus it is possible to know the desired units they want to buy. In the last 12 months the website’s users reached 4.5 million consumers. We started issuing an AqarMap index to measure market demand scale through studies conducted by AqarMap through using its data. In addition to this, it studies macroeconomic indicators and studying the market changes such as currency devaluation and GDP growth.
Moreover, there are 15 real estate companies that provide us with their data to provide a stronger indicator of the market to serve the market and the consumer. Our customers are real estate developers, brokers and individuals. The most important of these are Emaar, Morshedy Group, Amer Group, Al Moez Group, Abraj Misr, Misr Italia, and Mountain View amongst others, with a total of about 45 companies. Additionally, we deal with 500 real estate brokers and are still targeting other brokers and individual brokers to teach them how to deal with the client and improve their services. For the first time this year, we received demands from real estate development companies to undertake the role of broker in a new project in New Cairo, but we do not work in the field of brokerage.
How many people have benefited from AqarMap’s service in buying residential units?
We do not have accurate information, because we just offer a platform and don’t mediate in the purchasing process. However, in 2014, about 10,200 units worth EGP 5.5bn were sold through the AqarMap website.
What is AqarMap’s target in terms of offering housing units this year?
This year, we target reaching sales of between 13,000 to 14,000 real estate units.
What are the most promising places in the real estate market?
New Cairo, the city of the future – the extension of New Cairo – and some other projects have been launched, like Al-Ahly for Real Estate Development, Zizinia Real Estate and Wadi Degla. In addition, Sheikh Zayed’s real estate market performance is excellent. The Central Plateau, Maadi and Katameya have important projects by Emaar and Morshedy Group. 6th of October City and Shorouk have other important projects like Grand City.
What is the largest tranche demand for real estate in Egypt?
The biggest tranche in demand are low-income citizens, but unfortunately there are no residential units commensurate with their capabilities, except for two axes. The first are the low-income housing projects developed by the government in cooperation with private companies like Degla Palms project developed by Morshedy Group. The project is one of the successful projects in meeting the demands of this tranche. The second axis is direction to the informal housing in informal areas. This tranche represents 50%-60% of the demand in the property market, with about 30% being the middle-income tranche, and 5%-10% of the tranche demanding luxury housing.
Which places have reached real estate market price saturation?
The most obvious area in which saturation has been reached is Mohandessin, which is virtually affected in the residential units sector. However, the rental market performance there is great, due to it being the destination for Arab visitors, as well as commercial and administrative buildings. The downtown area has also turned into a commercial area, after it was purely residential buildings, which pushed the area’s residents to move to new areas. In addition, Nasser City began to shift to a commercial area.
What are the reasons for increasing demand for New Cairo despite the highest in prices?
Initially, this region is very distinguished area as its planning is very special in Egypt. It is very attractive to people who are fleeing the crowds and attractive for investment and commercial activities and lack of competed areas.
What are your expectations for the Cityscape conference’s contribution to the real estate market?
The conference may be affected by current political issues, because the summit is usually stronger than the current one. Meanwhile, the exhibition will not be affected because real estate companies offer their products and the market is excellent and promising, especially after July 2015.
Will the new mega projects open the investor appetite to invest in the real estate sector?
Sure, but I do not have information about new investors or foreign investors. Nevertheless, the standard of involving new business in this sector depends on the presence of local and regional investments in the sector. I expect in 2016 that non-political change or problems facing the market will keep growing.