Plans to export real estate

Safeya Mounir , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

Foreigners are to be allowed to buy real estate in Egypt in foreign currency in exchange for residency in order to boost the country’s currency reserves, reports Safeya Mounir

Real estate
Real estate


Under the terms of the Strategic Directions for the Egyptian Economy for the New Presidential Term (2024-2030), an eight-pronged economic document released this week, a company will be established to manage real-estate export and leasing activities in foreign currencies with a view to attracting $2 to $3 billion in revenues by allowing foreigners to buy real estate in Egypt in exchange for residency.

Real-estate exports involve attracting foreign investors to invest in real-estate assets in Egypt in foreign currency. In return, they obtain the right to reside in Egypt or to acquire citizenship for themselves and their families. 

The plan highlights the size of the real-estate sector in the country, estimated at 20 per cent of GDP, lending significance to the contribution of the sector in acquiring foreign currency.

Mohamed Al-Bustani, president of the New Cairo and New Administrative Capital Developers Association, said the success of the venture would hinge on its marketing capabilities, annual financial targets, and regular reviews to ensure the achievement of its objectives.

Egypt has various advantages that would allow it to become a thriving real-estate export market, Al-Bustani said, among them security, robust infrastructure, and high growth rates in real-estate prices, enabling reasonable profit margins to be realised in case of sale.

He added that Egypt boasts a diverse range of real-estate units, including hotels and residential, commercial, and administrative properties situated in distinctive locations available for rent or sale. 

The promotion of real-estate exports should not pose significant challenges as a result, he noted.

Various types of real estate are available, including in coastal tourist resorts along the Red and Mediterranean Sea coasts and in 4G cities featuring skyscrapers like the New Administrative Capital and New Alamein. 

These developments have introduced innovative architectural concepts to the Egyptian market. Alongside new residential, administrative, and commercial compounds, Egypt can effectively market its real-estate portfolio internationally to attract foreign investment and bolster dollar imports as a result.

The initiative was preceded by cabinet meetings in which Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli met with private-sector developers and stressed the significance of real-estate exports as a source of foreign exchange.

Alaa Fekri, a member of the Real Estate Investment Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, explained that under the plans in the event of the sale of a unit priced at LE10 million, for example, the state could sell it to a foreign investor for LE6 million in foreign currency and pay the real-estate developer the higher price in pounds. 

The initiative is part of state efforts to address the current foreign-currency shortage, alongside other measures like that allowing Egyptians abroad to bring home cars customs free in exchange for a bank deposit in dollars and the sale of land to foreigners in dollars. 

The steps have been taken to counter the impacts of regional and global events on the Egyptian economy, among them Israel’s war on Gaza, which have affected tourism and threaten to disrupt revenues from the Suez Canal.

 Egypt has been grappling with a dollar shortage since the Ukraine-Russia war broke out in March 2022.

Fathallah Fawzi, chairman of the Construction Committee of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, praised the new plans but stressed the need for clarity on the details of the marketing, whether carried out by the public or the private sectors. 

He also emphasised the need to facilitate registration and buying procedures. 

The success of the experiment, Fawzi added, would hinge on entrusting the task to marketing and promotion specialists. Referring to the success of selling real-estate units to foreigners in the Red Sea El Gouna resort, Fawzi suggested that the marketing be based on regions of the country, since some destinations are more suitable for foreigners, Arabs, or Egyptian expats.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 25 January, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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