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Egypt emerges as MENA region’s real estate success story despite challenges

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Despite a challenging year, Egypt has emerged as MENA region’s real estate success story driven by government commitment to develop infrastructure and private sector partnerships, says JLL

Driven by a strong government commitment to develop infrastructure, promote private sector partnerships and enhance business environment, Egypt’s real estate sector has emerged as one of the region’s success stories, despite the challenges brought on by 2020, according to JLL’s 2020 Year End Real Estate Market.

“The various structural reforms launched over the past couple of years, coupled with the flexible approach to handling the pandemic by allocating 2% of the country's GDP to support the more vulnerable economic sectors and industries, mitigated the economic shock to a certain extent in a year as challenging as 2020,” said Ayman Sami, JLL’s Country Head – Egypt office.

“Amid a global pandemic and strict safety measures, the government’s commitment to enhancing transparency, promoting competitiveness and improving governance have acted as catalysts to further support the real estate sector.”

JLL summarises Egypt’s real estate sector, pointing out some bright spots and challenges in 2020.

COMMERCIAL MARKET

Cairo's commercial market saw its first office completion of 2020, with the handover of 27,000 sq m of gross leasable area (GLA) in the fourth quarter. While the slowdown in activity during the year pushed landlords in Central and West Cairo to become more flexible with lease rates and terms, prime rents in New Cairo remained relatively stable.

RESIDENTIAL MARKET

Almost 2,500 units were completed in Cairo’s residential market in 2020, bringing the total stock to around 162,000 units. An additional 26,000 units are expected to be delivered in 2021. In terms of performance, the rental market demand remained resilient, specifically towards the second half of the year, resulting in rental increases of 8% and 5% in 6th of October and New Cairo, respectively. 

RETAIL MARKET

With the brick-and-mortar stores impacted at the start of 2020 due to lockdown measures, Cairo’s retail market saw groceries, pharmaceuticals and other entities quickly developed online platforms to support their businesses and continue engaging with consumers. This reflected positively on the logistics and warehousing sectors in Cairo and facilitated their rapid growth, outlines JLL’s report. Average asking rental rates continued to increase annually between 5% and 10% across secondary and primary malls, respectively.

HOSPITALITY MARKET

Cairo’s hotel market saw the delivery of around 400 hotel keys across the capital in 2020, bringing the stock to around 23,000 keys. Occupancy levels were registered at 28% in the year to (YT) November 2020, while average daily rates (ADR’s) and revenue per available room (RevPar’s) decreased by 17% and 69%, respectively, to record USD 79 and USD 22 over the same period.

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