Upper Egypt, a region which has been largely neglected for decades and is routinely paid little attention compared to Greater Cairo and the Delta, is undergoing a major overhaul with the implementation of new cities and the construction of thousands of housing units and facilities.
Although the government has made great achievements in Upper Egypt, some developers remain wary of launching projects there due to weak infrastructure and lack of demand for real estate, except in a few areas.
In contrast, other developers see the real estate market in that area as very promising, with great demand and high purchasing power in such areas.
In July 2017, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly laid out his ministry’s plan to enter new cities in Upper Egypt as a developer and execute compounds, or gated communities, New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) Director of Public Relations Mona Kamel said.
This plan will see the NUCA pump EGP 13bn worth of investments in new Upper Egypt cities during the current and the upcoming fiscal years.
Kamal noted that during the fiscal year 2017/2018, the NUCA will execute projects worth around EGP 7.8bn in Upper Egypt, pointing out that a total of 66,000 housing units have already been completed in the region, while 40,000 units are currently under construction.
But the ministry’s housing projects are not the only endeavour underway; construction has already started or is scheduled to start on a number of facilities and non-residential projects in these new cities.
Kamel added that a plot of land has been allocated to building a branch for Abu El-Rish Children’s Hospital in Beni Suef with construction starting soon, while another location in New Sohag City has been selected to build a branch for Al-Orman Hospital.
Three governmental Nile Schools will be built in New Aswan, New Assiut, and New Beni Suef, according to Kamel, on a total area of 14.77 feddans, “while a school has been constructed in New Thebes on 10,000 sqm,” she added.
Beta Egypt for Urban Development Chairperson Alaa Fekri said that Upper Egypt needs further development by the government through providing basic services and infrastructure to launch new housing projects there.
He explained that a reliable transportation system, in addition to hospitals, schools, and developed roads are required to upgrade the infrastructure in Upper Egypt and make it easier for developers to launch businesses there.
Fekri noted that lack of a transportation system connecting old and new cities in Upper Egypt hinders developers. Besides this, the lack of high-quality schools and hospitals, as well as universities, are the main challenges behind some developers’ reluctance to take the risk of launching projects in Upper Egypt.
Chairperson of the Real Estate Investment Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Mamdouh Badr El-Din agreed with Fekri that investors are willing to invest in Upper Egypt but they want to know the state’s plans for the area first.
Badr El-Din elaborated that investors need to know where and when schools, hospitals, and other facilities will be built in a certain area, so that developers can develop communities near these services.
He noted that investors are eager to build in Upper Egypt but a clear vision for the area’s development is needed.
Ahmed Shalaby, founder, managing director, and board member at Tatweer Misr, pointed out that investing in Upper Egypt is a great opportunity for developers; however, there is demand for property in very few areas in Upper Egypt such as New Assuit and New Minya.
Shalaby explained that Upper Egypt cities need to be very clear about the economic base of real estate development projects there.
He added that developers need to be clear about the plan of land plots offered for sale and so the government should prepare a timetable for the next three years.
Shalabi said that the preparation of railway routes to new cities before embarking on their implementation will contribute to increasing the rates of development of those lands and encouraging real estate developers to invest in the region.
Meanwhile, Thika Chairperson Mohamed El-Dahshory said that Upper Egypt governorates have significant investment opportunities in the real estate sector and need to be rediscovered in light of government expansion in developing new cities in this region.
El Massa for Real Estate Development and Investment Chairperson Ahmed El-Mahgary noted that the governorates of Upper Egypt have huge investment opportunities which have been ignored for long periods.
He added, “it is necessary to offer more land to developers, at affordable prices, to achieve integrated and sustainable development in Upper Egypt, especially that the state offered free industrial land in those areas recently.”
Upper Egypt comprises 10 governorates, inhabited by 35 million people, who represent around 29.7% of Egypt’s total population. The Housing Ministry is currently implementing 10 new cities in Upper Egyptian governorates, according to information provided by the NUCA. These new cities are New Fayoum, New Beni Suef, New Minya, New Assiut, New Sohag, New Akhmim, New Qena, New Thebes, New Luxor, and New Aswan.