A new application that aims to connect real estate developers and brokers to clients was launched in May by Nozol. Daily News Egypt sat down with the company’s executive manager, Ahmed Ezzat, to talk about the new innovative application and its aim to develop real estate property marketing.
What is the business of Nozol?
Nozol is a company which aims to empower real estate professionals and support them through technological management tools. The company was launched in May by producing a new innovative application called CRM, which stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM was launched to be used by real estate companies, whether for real estate developers or brokers.
The company plans to develop the CRM application to link real estate developers and marketing companies to their clients. We are currently developing the second phase of CRM for brokers to save time through building a network for them to be able to share information.
What distinguishes CRM from other real estate marketing websites and applications?
Other websites provide information about real estate properties; however, CRM is intended to be used by companies to develop internal operations for sales, marketing, customer service, and collection.
Is it available to the public for free?
No, it is only for real estate specialists, whether brokers or developers. The developers sell their projects’ units or properties through websites such as property finder AqarMap, or through brokers in the company. On the other hand, Nozol CRM will help these companies market their projects by themselves by contacting their clients directly.
How many real estate developers have contracted with Nozol to use the CRM application?
There are 28 real estate developers that currently have contracts to use CRM for one year, which can be renewed annually.
How many developers is the company targeting by mid-2017?
The company targets signing contracts with 200 real estate developers by mid-2017, in addition to 500 brokers for the same period.
What is the cost of using CRM?
We charge $15 per user per month. For example, if the company has 10 employees who use CRM, the company will pay $150 per month.
Do you think through using the CRM application, developers will do without real estate marketing companies?
No, it will only complete a final element needed for their work. The application will increase the efficiency of brokers and the efficiency of the marketing tools used by these real estate marketing companies. First, through the application, the company can identify where their expenses go—whether they are being used in online advertisements, offline advertisements, banners, or other ways. Thus, it can understand what types of marketing works best so that it can distribute its expenses wisely in the future.
Second, the application allows these companies to network with real estate developers or brokerage firms.
How many brokers are currently operating in Egypt?
There are 500,000 brokers.
Does the company plan to use the app to encourage property purchases by foreigners?
Yes, we have planned to develop the programme to encourage foreigners to purchase Egyptian property. The application can help clients who bought real estate units in Egypt to follow up on his unit from abroad. We are currently studying ways to launch the application at the international level, or at least in the Middle East and North Africa region, in the coming period to attract foreigners to buy property in Egypt.
Do you expect growth to occur in this sector?
The sector is already experiencing growth given the gap between demand and supply, estimated by 1.5 million apartments. We still need more property to meet the demand. I expect that the market will remain stable and a recession is unlikely to occur.
Do you expect a real estate bubble?
I do not think so because most clients are buying properties for investment purposes, especially after the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. However, the increase in the prices of building materials increases the prices of units.
What is the real estate sector’s share in GDP?
The sector makes up 20% of the GDP in Egypt and 15% of Egypt’s employment market. It contributes 22% of the GDP in the Arab region.
What is your opinion regarding the government’s role in the sector?
The government is playing the role of a “land trader” and buys at high prices. The government has to give up this role and play the role of an adviser, and monitor real estate developers without intervening in purchasing lands.
How can the sector be further developed?
The sector can be developed through providing land free of charge, and in return, the developer connects these lands with facilities and utilities, while the government acts as a monitor and adjusts the price of the square metres of these lands.
Do we have saturation in A+ or luxury housing?
No, there is still demand on A+ housing as the most prominent developers confirm that there is a gap between demand and supply in this category to meet the demands of the above middle-income bracket.
What are the areas that are witnessing higher prices per square metre?
Fifth Settlement in New Cairo is the most expensive, as well as compounds and luxury properties in Sheikh Zayed and 6th of October City. This is in addition to New Heliopolis, which has witnessed the biggest hike in prices.
Does the liberalisation of the exchange rate affect the prices of lands?
No, the flotation has not affected the prices, as it was applied only a month ago and any impact it would have has not yet appeared.
In the case of a real estate bubble or recession in the sector, do you expect that clients who resell properties will become competitors to developers?
No, I do not think so, because developers provide units for purchase through premiums or instalments, but reselling depends on cash. Furthermore, real estate developers have started to expand their instalment period for up to 10-12 years to avoid a recession in the sector and market their projects.
What are the challenges and opportunities facing the sector?
One of the challenges in the sector is the shortage in providing affordable real estate units for middle-income individuals, especially given that the price per square metre has become very high—higher than the middle-income bracket is able to pay. They constitute 70% of the demand in the market.
I think the solution is for the government to collaborate with private sector companies in delivering units at affordable prices.
On the other hand, the government must motivate developers to participate in connecting lands with utilities and fundamental services in return for providing lands free of charge.
Another challenge in the sector is related to supplying construction materials, which are dominated by companies holding onto a monopoly in the sector, whether those are construction companies or steel and cement companies.