“Build and they will come,” comments HRE Properties UK CEO Haysam Soliman on attracting foreign homebuyers in Egypt in an exclusive interview with Invest-Gate. Soliman believes in Egypt’s direction to flourish its real estate market, points the challenges and advises on the means to go forward.
How do you evaluate Egypt’s economy from a global perspective and the direction it is taking in achieving that?
Egypt’s economy is in progress. There are many projects that are being implemented in new cities. Still, there is a need for a platform to provide foreign investors with all information and data about these projects to encourage them to invest in the Egyptian market.
How do you assess the investment climate of Egypt today following the many incentives issued over the past five years? What is the government still lagging behind?
There is a huge potential for growth in Egypt’s real estate market. As we know, Egypt established law regarding getting Egyptian citizenship through investment. It also granted residency permits to foreigners, who invest in the country’s property market, which are good step to enrich and develop the Egyptian real estate market. However, this is not enough because the foreign buyer still needs more confidence in this market.
What does the government need to modify or change to secure the foreign real estate investor or homebuyer?
The presence of a supervisory body is crucial. This body issues laws and legislation to secure the foreign real estate investor rights and avoid randomness in the brokerage market. This is something that needs to be applied soon.
Is the devaluation of the currency enough to encourage foreign investors and foreign homebuyers?
No. Foreign investors and foreign homebuyers evaluate the real estate market from many perspectives and determine what will be useful for them. Accordingly, the devaluation of the currency is not enough.
Do you see the idea of exporting real estate moving forward? And what do you see are its main challenges?
I still don’t see the idea of exporting real estate coming into effect. There are still many challenges in this market and legislation tops the list. There is a dire need for legislation and clear, feasible rules and regulations; in addition to facilitates that give foreigners confidence in the this market.
We have seen many alliances taking place among brokerage companies, what is your opinion on that?
In my opinion, this is a good thing if the alliance can be beneficial for the Egyptian real estate market and develop the public interests rather than the personal ones.
How can there be a regulatory body today to regulate the brokerage market? Does it come from the government or from the private sector?
This will be accomplished by the existence of an entity that regulates and governs the relation between all parties, the real estate developer, broker, and investor; besides issuing laws and legislation. All of that will be achieved through cooperation between the government and the private sector.
What advice do you give to the foreign homebuyer?
I would say… know your rights and make sure they are guaranteed. Generally speaking, foreign homebuyers I believe will come as Egypt continues to build and develop its cities and anticipated destinations, including Ain Sokhna, El Galala, NAC, and Gouna (private project). Such destinations are bound to draw attention from foreigners for the features they enjoy.
What advice do you give to agents?
Brokers or real estate agents should be well-cultured, and qualified enough to market the Egyptian projects to foreign investors. This requires a credible body that can train brokers before being involved in marketing, selling, and promoting the real estate market.