Egypt’s real estate market has proven its resilience during the first half (H1) of 2020, despite the repercussions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said Amr Soliman, Chairperson of Mountain View.
Soliman sat down with Daily News Egypt to further discuss Egypt’s real estate market, and the company’s current position. Despite the global pandemic, he noted, Mountain View has launched its Crete Islands development, a new phase at Mountain View Ras El Hikma. The project achieved a significant EGP 2bn in sales in only four days.
How do you see Egypt’s real estate market in H2 of 2020?
The real estate market has proven its resilience in the face of the pandemic during H1 of 2020. The market’s purchasing behaviour and the support of the Egyptian Chamber of Real Estate were of great importance to the sustainability of the industry. After achieving satisfactory sales during the second quarter, we are expecting even more pleasant results for the entire market.
In parallel, the government’s resolute safety protocols, which have proven their efficiency as translated by the daily numbers of new cases and recoveries, should secure a more encouraging environment for multiple industries.
Can you update us on the company’s projects and their implementing progress?
The next quarter presents a milestone for our team. Aside from a few lined-up launches, which will be announced quite soon, we also aim to live up to a promise we made a few years ago, which will see us start delivering units at iCity New Cairo.
Despite the construction challenges imposed on us by the pandemic, we are focused on respecting our contractual agreements with our residents, to deliver within the previously-communicated timelines.
Mountain View also recently launched Crete Islands, a new phase at Mountain View Ras El Hikma. The successful launch achieved EGP 2bn in only four days. This encouraging feedback from the market led us to plan the launch of a new phase with extra units only few weeks after.
How much sales did Mountain View achieve in H1 2020? And what about your sales target in H2?
Our team was able to quickly analyse the international crisis to identify areas of potential, and trace the way forward. Our instant actions, including implementing a scientific safety protocol across all projects and sites, as well as the engaging activities with employees and residents, have paved the road for a smooth navigation through the hardship. During H1 of 2020, we achieved EGP 3.9bn in sales.
Have your projects been affected by the COVID-19 crisis?
The main effect of the crisis has been evident in the precautionary suspension of construction across all of our projects during the peak of the virus’s spread. This pause imposed a different construction plan and approach upon resumption in respect to our original delivery plans. After applying a strict safety protocol and operating two construction shifts per day, we are confident to meet our promises as communicated in our contractual agreements with all clients.
What are your expectations for Egypt’s property export?
The pandemic has certainly affected many plans across different industries. With international airlines and tourism taking the biggest hit and facing absolute suspension for a long period, property export is certainly an area that has been paused for the greater sum of the year.
With that said, it is absolutely necessary for developers to address the new needs of Arab and foreign clients in light of the pandemic. The coming half should witness the gradual return of foreign demand. In parallel, projects that would accommodate the new global needs of unrestricted access to green and water features, as well as well-integrated communities with a family-oriented lifestyle, will surely be on top of the game.
In your opinion, what new facilities are needed from the state and developers to boost real estate sales and investments?
Flexibility and innovation are currently the main ingredients of success. With financial restrictions being imposed on parties, it is important to allow each other flexible and accommodating payment plans. In parallel, it is necessary for designs to transcend beyond regular units with maximum number of rooms to allow activities, innovation, ease and nature even in the smallest spaces.
With that in mind, the previous few months have proven the importance of integrating various facilities within any project. Medical, retail and entertainment facilities are no longer a replaceable luxury. Instead, today’s customers appreciate their importance and seek what a developer can offer within the gates of its project.
Were your delivery plans affected by COVID-19?
Due to our intense post-pandemic construction plan, our delivery plan hasn’t been altered significantly. Instead, we will be delivering a large number of units according to our original delivery plan communicated at the beginning of 2020. Most importantly, delivery at iCity New Cairo will begin as scheduled during the coming quarter.
Have the postponement of several real estate exhibitions affected your expansion plan? If yes, what was your plan B?
Real estate exhibitions certain play a fundamental role in the market, as they allow a unique opportunity for developers and customers to communicate and reach mutual benefits. The postponement of exhibitions certainly imposed a threat of weakening our marketing endeavours.
Nevertheless, our team was fast to redirect our efforts toward digital media. Given the increased hours people spent online during self-isolation, social media became a higher opportunity and an effective tool to directly reach our target audience. At Mountain View, we were keen on showcasing our brand equity and lifestyle through our digital content, in parallel, we developed interactive content to include our audience and hear back from them.
Do you agree with investment bank projections that real estate developers will achieve their target sales?
After the positive and encouraging indicators that we at Mountain View witnessed during Q2 of 2020, we are confident about achieving our target sales. Real estate remains to be a trusted industry, which Egyptians trust as an investment opportunity, especially during times of hardship. Meanwhile, the government and the Ministry of Housing’s initiatives have ensured the sustainability of the industry in any given circumstance. Finally, developers have been working hard to make up for construction delays as well as inject new fresh investments – two actions that shall ensure sustainability and future flourishing.