Marseilia Group for real estate development was one of the first companies to invest in Egypt’s North Coast, providing a strong vision in this promising area. Today, Marseilia is expanding to new and untapped areas, especially in New Alamein.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for many real estate developers, but they have proven their ability to adapt and develop their products to meet new customer requirements.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Marseilia Group Chairperson Sherif Heliw outlined the company’s success, particularly through its real estate development arm, in overcoming the current challenges. Heliw said the group has already started delivering new phases in its projects according to schedule.
What innovative mechanisms has your company initiated to overcome the current crisis?
The past period represented a tough challenge for the real state sector, as there was a pause in almost all projects and a slowdown of sales as a result of the uncertainty related to the pandemic. The real estate sector has shown unprecedented resilience to recover and even expect a boom in the second half of the current year. This has been supported by the government’s efforts and plans to deal with the current situation.
At Marseilia, we have focused on two things, namely our marketing plans and maintaining our brand through sustaining our sales that have reached EGP 0.5bn in the first half (H1) of the year.
Additionally, we are committed to our ongoing projects, as we pumped more investments into them to deliver on time and stick to the schedules. This was witnessed in delivering the second phase of the Marseilia Beach 4 project amidst the pandemic.
What new payment methods are you offering to encourage sales?
We are working on a variety of strategies aimed at including new pricing policies, in line with the developments in the real estate market. This is also based on the purchasing power of customers, the volume of demand, and the equalisation of the sales ratios prepared before the crisis.
In addition, we are working on achieving more flexibility in the payment systems and periods of the group’s various projects. This gives the customer the ability to plan his payments in proportion to his financial suitability and purchasing capabilities.
What is the status of ongoing projects, and what are your future plans?
We have been able to overcome the current challenge posed by COVID-19 to deliver 850 units in the second phase of our leading project, Marseilia Beach 4. This delivery comes under the slogan of “Delivering Happiness”, as a reflection of the happiness of the clients that received their units on time and at the highest quality.
Our future is more focused on supporting and contributing to the development of smart cities and Egypt’s fourth generation cities, such as New Alamein which is hosting our recently launched Cascadia project. This project extends over 40 feddan, and has seen investments of EGP 5bn.
Moreover, we are aiming to launch a new touristic project on the North Coast, under the name Marseilia Beach 5, which will be added to the largest portfolio of integrated tourism projects in this area. Additionally, we are planning to launch the agenda for future projects, which includes an Egyptian-Emirati partnership in the Nasr City project, with investments exceeding EGP 10bn with Amlak.
Can you tell us more about the company’s marketing plan during the second quarter (Q2) of 2020?
COVID-19 has led everyone to consider different modes of marketing, as well as sales plans and methods. Technology was the key to overcoming these challenges, offering a virtual and more convenient mode where everyone is safe and work is still flowing.
At Marseilia, we have been reliant on technology even before this crisis, and we have been developing our digital marketing channels to support our teams’ on-ground efforts. This has facilitated shifting to digital marketing methods during the pandemic, protecting our employees. It has also helped us achieve our sales target, which has reached EGP 0.5bn during H1 of 2020, and we are expected to achieve EGP 1.5bn by the end of this year.
What are the most important opportunities the health crisis has presented?
The real estate market will remain a safe haven for investment, and the sector that pushes the national economy forward, despite the challenges it faces. It is, however, one of the most important sectors in Egypt which has achieved moderate growth rates compared to various other economic sectors.
What are the most prominent client needs following the pandemic?
While we were adapting to the crisis, the real estate market has changed drastically and will keep on changing in the coming few years after COVID-19 is over. This change is not only due to the crisis, but also due to the change in the needs of the consumers and what they are looking for.
The lockdown has made it more necessary than ever to find a unit that will have multiple purposes, and can be flexible to serve as home and sometimes a place for remote workers. Therefore, we will witness more diverse products of all sizes to meet the needs of the clients and fits within a bigger segment of homeowners.
We also believe in the importance of diversity offered by the real estate developer. Specialisation is a good thing and introduces products of high quality, but the period we are witnessing now also requires diverse products and flexible units that serve all purposes.
Do you plan to make changes to your products to meet these new needs?
As previously mentioned, we are among the few real estate developers that believe in the importance of diversity in the real estate product. Hence, we already worked on offering units of different sizes, representing different styles and meeting the myriads of needs of the customers.
We are also keen on always developing a better vision of the real estate market, which is changing now at a faster pace than ever. Therefore, we are working on enhancing our market research tools to meet this end.
What new types of real estate does the Egyptian market urgently need in light of the pandemic?
Despite the global trend of remote working, physical offices will remain a strong product, but real estate developers will need to look into innovative ways to create spaces that are adaptable whilst enabling social distancing as a new mode of living.
Real estate developers urgently need to focus on the development of smarter units and sustainable projects with the tech infrastructure to be able to withstand crises or non-traditional modes of living that are the result of unusual circumstances.