By Amr Hosny
Translation: Wael Hossam El Din
Egypt has recently been seeking to export properties extensively in light of various decisions coinciding with the beginning of the summer season.
Egypt organized the Alamein Festival, which lasted 45 days, to promote properties in this new city and encourage investors to purchase real estate in the country using foreign currency (USD).
On July 5th, the Egyptian Cabinet approved a legislative amendment to Article 2 of Law No. 230 of 1996, which regulates non-Egyptians’ ownership of specified properties and vacant lands. The amendment allows non-Egyptians to own properties, whether built or vacant, for residential purposes, on the condition that payment is made in foreign currency through transfers from abroad to a bank fully owned by the state, following the rules, conditions, and regulations outlined in the decision issued by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor.
Surge in Foreign Ownership of Real Estate and the Demand for Hard Currency Payments
The decision was announced at the beginning of the summer season, just two months after the Supreme Council for Investment, chaired by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, approved various decisions to enhance the investment climate and encourage the private sector to support foreign investment flows into the country.
The government clarified that non-Egyptians can now own unlimited properties in Egypt, expanding the previous restriction of owning a maximum of only two properties in different cities.
Citizenship Acquisition in Exchange for Real Estate
In addition to the above-mentioned points, the scope has been extended to include the possibility of acquiring Egyptian citizenship, according to the decision published in the official gazette by the Minister of Interior, Resolution No. 977 of 2023, regarding the entry and residency of foreigners in Egypt.
Moreover, the decision was based on Law No. 89 of 1960 concerning the entry and residency of foreigners in Egypt, Law No. 230 of 1996 regulating non-Egyptians’ ownership of built properties and vacant lands, Law No. 14 of 2012 concerning integrated development in the Sinai Peninsula, Law No. 72 of 2017 issuing the Investment Law, and Law No. 194 of 2020 issuing the Central Bank Law.
Required Periods, Funds to Renew Foreigners’ Residency in Egypt
The required duration and funds for renewing residency for foreigners in Egypt are subject to specific laws and conditions. According to the law, temporary residency permits for non-tourism purposes can be granted for five years, renewable to individuals who own one or more properties in Egypt with a minimum value of $200,000.
Additionally, residency can be renewed for three years, renewable for those who own one or more properties in Egypt with a minimum value of $100,000. Renewal for one year is also possible for those who own one or more properties with a minimum value of $50,000.
Renewal for three years can be obtained based on a bank deposit of $100,000 or equivalent in other foreign currencies, and for three years based on a bank deposit of $100 or equivalent in other foreign currencies. Similarly, a one-year renewal can be obtained based on a bank deposit of $50,000 or equivalent in other foreign currencies.
Egypt to Host an International Real Estate Conference Early Next Year
Osama Saad El-Din, the General Director of the Real Estate Development Chamber in Egypt, stated that summer properties in Egypt, especially in the North Coast and New Alamein, have attracted the interest of Egyptians and still need to represent a surplus.
However, exporting real estate involves multiple procedures that Egypt continuously works on developing. He explained that Egypt is exerting efforts to organize an international real estate conference in collaboration with the Investment Authority, under the auspices of the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to introduce various real estate opportunities in Egypt to foreign citizens.
Desired Nationalities for Purchasing Egyptian Properties
According to Invest-Gate, Saad El-Din added that there are specific summer areas in Egypt where real estate can be exported, such as the Red Sea, which attracts the interest of different foreign nationals from Italy and Germany as well as the Gulf Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
He emphasized that the upcoming conference will focus on promoting real estate for export through international coordination. Saad noted that Egypt currently has laws to facilitate investment but requires advertising and media promotion of new properties, especially after easing the conditions for obtaining residency and Egyptian citizenship in exchange for acquiring new properties.
Additionally, the ownership of more than two properties by foreigners in designated areas is allowed, with payment required in dollars or hard currency.
Saad El-Din stressed that summer properties in Egypt should expand beyond Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada and include other areas such as Ras El-Bar, New Mansoura, Alamein, and the various regions of the North Coast. He added that the opportunities and locations in Egypt are abundant and widely available.
Several Factors That Attract Foreigners to Egyptian Real Estate
Real estate expert Hassan Ibrahim stated that Egypt has several attractions for exporting summer properties. The country has a wonderful climate, and the current currency exchange rate makes it easier for citizens of Arab Gulf countries and foreigners to purchase real estate.
Nevertheless, certain challenges exist, such as the need to enhance properties and services to cater to Arab and foreign clients effectively. These obstacles can be addressed by simplifying purchase procedures and establishing convenient transportation options from the airport to the coastal and Alamein regions, considering the absence of international transportation lines to these areas
Developing High-Quality Services
Developing the type of service provided is also important. Ibrahim emphasized the significance of enhancing the cultural understanding of Egyptian workers in the tourism industry. Strict supervision is necessary to ensure that tourists visiting Egypt become ambassadors for the country.
Ibrahim said that there are certain popular locations in Egypt with high demand for real estate among foreigners, pointing out that it is important to utilize summer areas by organizing festivals and water sports events continuously, as this attracts a diverse range of foreigners. He added that foreign tourists are now appearing alongside Arab Gulf tourists who wish to purchase different properties in Egypt.
The type of services provided to tourists is the main incentive behind their decision to return, as exemplified by Dubai. Egypt should develop its real estate sector to be comparable to its closest market and continue to improve over time.