When you segment Egyptian real estate, the luxury end is saturated. Affordable housing and retail have a lot of room, as well as high end office parks.
To what extent do you think the recent protest will affect the real estate market? To what extent is security an issue?
The answer to those questions may be different today and six month from today. Certainly what we understand on the ground now and in the next six months, is that security and stability are issues; all eyes are on Egypt to figure out what is going to happen in this huge transformation from dictatorship to democracy. The hope is, once this transformation happens – and I think it will – you will actually start to see more foreign investment and security will no longer be an issue.
Moody’s have downgraded us and there is certainly an issue of security now, but considering the long term, Egypt has always been stable. Even looking at the latest events, it was still a non-violent revolution. I would say the worst is over and when you are looking at foreign investors coming in the climate will be one of stability. We understand this from our clients who are going full speed ahead and Egypt for us is still a huge investment opportunity – 85 million people and such a tremendous need for infrastructure, real estate and development. There are so many opportunities here that people are looking to Egypt as the next place to invest.
A further problem is we don’t have is a developer law – we don’t have a developer union and we don’t have any sort of regulation of them. We would very much like to see this and to some extent all professionals either regulated or to have some form of international standard to which they have to adhere.