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The housing sector is one of the main sectors the government is focusing on. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has launched an initiative to support the low income citizens with housing finance. Furthermore, it is working on a plan to eliminate the unsafe slums in Egypt. The real estate sector in Egypt is strongly supporting the economy and it is resistant to the political and economic tensions of previous years. By the end of 2017/18, it grew by six percent, representing 16.3 percent of the country’s GDP.
On February 2019, the CBE put in place new policies and measures on the bank’s mortgage finance initiative and include also offering finance via the bank’s resources at interest rates of five to seven percent, which will not be changed during the entire loan’s term.
Despite these encouraging aspects, houses prices are rising because of the economic conditions and economic reforms. As a result of the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, and import restrictions, construction costs have increased, driving up the price of finished units. Building materials such as steel and cement have been particularly susceptible to volatile market forces, as shortages in domestic supply have forced builders to turn to imports.
Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Egypt, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:
- Macroeconomic Overview
- Access to Finance
- Housing Supply
- Property Markets
- Policy and Regulation
- Availability of data on housing finance
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2019 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.Download yearbook
Egypt is a middle income country with a population of approximately 98.99 million1 and a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of E£41 317 (US$2474)2 during the fiscal year 2017/18. In 2018, Egypt was ranked 115 out of 187 on the Human Development Index.3Egypt’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent by the end of the 2018/2019 fiscal year (FY), compared to 5.3 percent growth over the same period in the previous year.
 The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced that the core inflation rate declined to 6.4 percent in June 2019 from 8.5 percent in July 2018. In addition, headline inflation decreased to 9.4 percent by the end of June 2019 (which is the lowest during the previous three years) compared to 13.5 percent by the end of July 2018. In November 2016, the CBE decided to float its currency, which has reduced its value by almost 50 percent against the US$. By February 2019, the US$ exchange rate started to go down, reaching 16.8 by June 2019 compared to 18 and 17.6 during June 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Egypt’s real estate index dropped by 19.24 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, after year over year (y-o-y) changes of -11.49 percent in 2017, 1.19 percent in 2016, -14.22 percent in 2015 and 1.14 percent in 2014. Furthermore, nominal house prices also fell by 9.58 percent y-o-y in 2018.
Fifty percent of the Egyptian population (which grows by 2.2 percent a year) is under 25. Despite the population growth rate, only six percent of the land is utilised. The new Urban Communities Authority aims to increase this to 14 percent by the year 2050.
Housing sector is one of the main sectors the government is focusing on. The CBE has launched an initiative to support the low income citizens with housing finance. Furthermore, it is working on a plan to eliminate the unsafe slums in Egypt. Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has submitted the sustainable development plan for 2019/20 to the House of Representatives. This aims to tackle urban development and improve the environment in Egypt. The plan mainly aims to spread urbanisation and reduce population density in the delta and the narrow strip of the Nile Valley, decrease development gaps between different governorates, and preserve natural resources, ecological systems and cultural heritage to prevent environmental degradation. It focuses on increasing the proportion of populated area from seven percent to 10 percent in 2019/20. In addition, it aims to allocate at least one-third of public investments for urban development of the governorates of Upper Egypt and the border provinces, and for expanding the construction of cities and new urban communities to accommodate approximately 10 million people.
2 The Egyptian Ministry of Finance-Arab Republic of Egypt. (2018). Monthly Bulletin 2018.
 Egypttoday (2019). “Egypt’s GDP growth Jumps to 5.8 percent in 2020”. 24 July 2019.
 The Central Bank of Egypt. Monthly Inflation Note. https://www.cbe.org.eg/en/MonetaryPolicy/Pages/MonthlyInflationNote.aspx (Accessed 27 July 2019).
 Global Property Guide. (2019). “House prices in Egypt down 19.24percent y-o-y in 2018”.
 Invest Gate. (2019). “Gov’t Targets Doubling Egypt’s Habitable areas” Minister”. https://invest-gate.me/news/govt-targets-doubling-egypts-habitable-areas-minister/ (Accessed 23 July 2019).
 Elbakry, F. (2019). “2018/2019 Housing Development Plan”. 6 May 2019.
Access to Finance
Access to finance is important for growth and the country’s economic development. According to the Doing Business Report 2019, Egypt jumped 30 places on “the ease of getting credit” indicator, moving from the 90th place to the 60th place as a result of launching and activating the Egyptian Collateral Registry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Social Housing Fund and Mortgage Finance Support said that many plans have been released to support social housing. The plans include providing essential funding to support interest rates and increasing the value of direct cash support. In addition, the fund is working on reviewing the targeted income segments to reach those who need it the most. To achieve this, 13 customer service centres have been created to facilitate the process. By October 2018, the board of directors had approved the new fund’s operating procedure manual to provide low income citizens with real estate financing at low interest rates. This is in line with the CBE’s initiative to provide low-interest mortgages for low income citizens; the programme will provide funds to aid them in paying down payments and monthly instalments.
On February 2019, the CBE put in place new policies and measures on the bank’s mortgage finance initiative, limiting it to financing low income citizens only. The new policies include offering mortgage finance for the low income segments for a maximum period of 20 years without providing treasury bills as a guarantee. In addition, it includes offering finance via the bank’s resources at interest rates of five to seven percent, which will not be changed during the entire loan’s term for those who meet the CBE conditions.
By the end of the first quarter of 2019, the total value of mortgage finance granted by companies dropped by 19.8 percent to E£440.7 million (US$26.4 million) for 2 142 investors compared to E£549.7million (US$32.9 million) for 1 907 investors over the same period last year. Those with incomes up to E£2 500 (US$150) represent 58 percent of the total finance, while the share of those with monthly incomes of more than E£3 500 (US$210) was about 22 percent. With the size of the units, 91 percent of the mortgage finance was requested for units with an area above 86m2, due to expansion in the sale of social housing units through the Ministry of Housing,Utilities and Urban Communities, and the New Urban Communities Authority.
By the end of 2018, the number of companies operating in mortgage finance in the Egyptian market was 15 (including one real estate refinancing company). The volume of accumulated mortgage finance activity has now reached E£10.7 billion (US$0.64 billion), with a growth rate of 26 percent, compared to E£8.5 billion (US$0.51 billion) in 2017. The volume of mortgage finance granted during 2018 amounted to approximately E£2.2 billion (US$0.132 billion), with a growth rate of 57 percent, compared to last year which reached E£1.4 billion (US$0.1 billion).
According to Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), the microfinance balances reached E£10 billion (US$0.6 billion) by the end of the second quarter of 2018, with a growth rate of 76 percent, compared to E£5.5 billion (US$0.33 billion) by the end of the same quarter of the previous year, 2017. The microfinance associations could reach 2.6 million citizens. The percentage of females is 70 percent of the total number of beneficiaries acquiring 52 percent of the value of microfinance. FRA’s chairman announced that the number of non-governmental organisations and civil associations certified to practice microfinance activity by the end of the second quarter of 2018 was 896 associations and private companies, in addition to five companies. The total number of branches that are active is 1 815 at the level of all governorates, associations and private institutions have 1 462 branches, and companies have 353 branches.
 Financial Regulatory Authority. (2019). “Annual press conference to present FRA’s achievements in 2018”. 23 January 2019.
 Invest Gate. (2019). “Gov’t Targets Doubling Egypt’s Habitable areas” Minister”. 7 March 2019.
 Invest Gate. (2018). “Gov’t Approves New Social Housing Fund’s Operating Procedures’. 22 October 2018.
 Invest Gate (2019). “CBE Sets New Measures for Mortgage Finance Initiative”. 3 March 2019.
 S.Al-Aees. (2019). “Value of mortgage finance drops to EGP 440.7m during Q1 2019”. 7 October 2019. Daily News Egypt.
 Financial Regulatory Authority. Mortgage finance. http://www.fra.gov.eg/content/efsa_en/mf_pages_en/main_mf_page_en.htm. (Accessed on 14 August 2019)
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) expenditure and income survey for 2017/18, 32.5 percent of Egyptians live below the poverty line compared to 27.8 percent in 2015. CAPMAS has set the national poverty line at E£735.7 (US$44) a month compared to E£482 (US$29) in 2015, and E£8 827 (US$529) a year, compared to E£5 787.9 (US$347) in 2015. The extreme poverty line for an individual in Egypt in the 2017/18 survey was E£5 890 (US$353) a year. In addition, it also noted that the extreme poverty rate has returned to 6.2 percent of Egyptians.
The survey recorded the average annual household income at E£58 000 (US$3 473) in 2017/18, against E£44 200 (US$2 646) in 2015, while average expenditure increased to E£51 400 (US$3 077) annually, compared to E£ 36 700 (US$2 198) in the previous survey in 2015. It also showed that only 18.6 percent of household expenditures went to housing expenditure. In addition, only 61.6 percent of Egyptians own a home, and the rest rent it.
The annual demand for new domestic housing units reaches 500 000 units a year. Egypt needs to build 300 000 units annually to accommodate new families, and 254 000 units should be provided to bridge the gap created in the past five years. Besides offering 90m2 apartments on 20-year instalments through the mortgage system, the CBE’s mortgage finance initiative also allows for several other housing schemes. Those whose income is less than E£1 500 (US$90) have the option to rent and the CBE is also offering 20 000 apartments through the professional syndicates to their members. Other units have been designed for those who have reached the age of 55 and make more than E£5 000 (US$299) monthly.
Houses prices are rising because of the economic conditions and economic reforms. As a result of the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, and import restrictions, construction costs have increased, driving up the price of finished units. Building materials such as steel and cement have been particularly susceptible to volatile market forces, as shortages in domestic supply have forced builders to turn to imports.  As a result, on May 2019, the CBE launched an initiative to meet the demands of middle income people to own a unit with a reasonable payment plan, and this is in continuation of the previous initiative launched in 2014 to support those who cannot afford a mortgage to buy housing. It has allocated E£50 billion to finance middle income people to purchase housing units with mortgage finance in support of the real estate sector and in response to demands of developers.
 CAPMAS. Income, Expenditure and Consumption Survey. https://www.capmas.gov.eg/Admin/News/PressRelease/2019731102549_%D9%83%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%A8%20%D9%85%D8%A4%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D8%AE%D9%84-30-5-2019.pdf (Accessed 15 August 2019).
 Mounir, S. (2018). Social housing: better homes in Egypt. 16 February 2018.
 American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. Filling the Housing Gap. https://www.amcham.org.eg/publications/industry-insight/issue/2/Filling-the-Housing-Gap (Accessed 15 August 2019)
 Al-aees, S. (2019). CBE allocates EGP 50bn for mortgage finance for middle-income people. 7 October 2019.
Most of the housing investments in the country are in the main locations and city centres, in addition to establishing gated communities on the borders of Cairo.
The Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities, Assem El Gazzar, announced that about 700 000 housing units have been established in the state’s social housing programme, which aims to enable the low income segment to obtain a decent housing unit. He pointed out that the programme seeks to cater for all target groups and meet their demands.
Social housing is one of the main issues on the president’s agenda. Accordingly, the Egyptian government has spent E£20 billion (US$1.2 billion) to improve unsafe areas and provide decent housing for the residents of these areas. According to the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities around 40 percent of the Cairene population is living in informal settlements and about 70 percent of urban areas in Egypt are unplanned. The government has already launched its Development of Slums project, which aims to develop 1 100 slum areas by 2022. This is in addition to the 130 slum areas that have already been developed since 2016.
According to CAPMAS, the total number of residential units executed in 2017/18 raised by 2.9 percent to 326.3 thousand units with a total cost of E£106.9 billion (US$6.4 billion). Economic housing came in first place with 169.8 thousand units (52 percent) in 2017/18, compared to 186.2 thousand units (58.7 percent) of the total implemented units in 2016/17. The government sector built 105.1 thousand units of the total economic housing units built this year(One Million Units Project), 82.1 thousand units were built in 2017/18. The number of units in the Dar Masr housing project reached 13 thousand units.
The government has spent E£14 billion (US$0.84 billion) to eliminate unsafe slums since 2014 – and half of this budget has been spent on projects during the past year only. By December 2018, Port Said governorate was declared free of unsafe slums areas.
 Investgate. (2019). Gov’t Targets Doubling Egypt’s Habitable Areas: Minister. https://invest-gate.me/news/govt-targets-doubling-egypts-habitable-areas-minister/ (Accessed on 30 July 2019).
 Reda, L. (2019). Social housing development progress report: How far have we come? 4 January 2019. Egypttoday.
 CAPMAS. (2019). Bulletin of housing in Egypt. https://www.capmas.gov.eg/Pages/Publications.aspx?page_id=5104&YearID=23415 (Accessed on 15 August 2019).
 Informal Settlement Development Fund (ISDF). http://www.isdf.gov.eg/NewsDetails.aspx?news=130&cat=newspaper (Accessed on 1 August 2019).
 ISDF. http://www.isdf.gov.eg/NewsDetails.aspx?news=125&cat=important (Accessed on 1 August 2019).
The real estate sector in Egypt is strongly supporting the economy and it is resistant to the political and economic tensions of previous years. By the end of 2017/18, it grew by six percent, representing 16.3 percent of the country’s GDP. The construction and building sector employs 14.1 percent of the total number of employees in Egypt and the real estate sector employs 0.2 percent. By June 2019, the average price of steel and cement increased by 122 percent and 41 percent respectively compared to June 2016. One-third to half of the middle and high income segment’s wealth goes to real estate properties, and this percentage is more in the lower income segment. Real estate companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange have witnessed double-digit growth in revenue that has built their market capitalisations.
According to CAPMAS, there were 14.299 million buildings in Egypt in 2017, of which 9.7 million units were for housing purposes. The number of closed and unoccupied buildings is 2.181 million. There are three million housing units rented according to the old rent law, which represents seven percent of the total housing units in Egypt, and the owned household units represent 55.3 percent.
According to FRA by April 2019 the real estate and land sectors accounted for the largest share of financial leasing contracts, standing at E£1.4 billion (US$0.1 billion) compared to E£1.5 billion (US$0.1 billion) over the same period last year. Moreover, financial leasing companies had directed E£2.4 billion (US$0.14 billion) into the Egyptian property market by the end of April, compared to E£2.3 billion (US$0.14 billion) a year earlier.
There are two ways to purchase a property in Egypt. The first is a full registration that gives the buyer maximum security, and the second is to choose the signature of validity process. According to Law No 230 of 1996, foreigners cannot buy more than two pieces of real estate, which cannot exceed 4 000m2, and their purpose must be for a family member to live in the property.
According to the World Bank Doing Business 2019 report, Egypt made it more difficult to register property by raising the cost to verify and ratify a sales contract. Egypt is ranked 68/190 on the dealing with construction permits index. It requires 19 procedure and 173 days to get permission. With registering a property, it is ranked 125/190. It takes 76 days and nine procedures to register a property in the country, and it costs 1.1 percent of the property value.
 July Monthly Bulleting. The Central Bank of Egypt. (Accessed on 15 August 2019). Pgs.123-124.
 Dcode Economic & Financial Consulting. Housing Sector in Egypt, Latest developments. http://www.dcodeefc.com/wp-content//gallery//infographs/Housing-AmCham-Infograph-August-2019-Merged.jpg?fbclid=IwAR2ijlK7qq9LRa7ENHRBWlxYrwNGpKHB2aPv4HL-KhP9VyW3Hx2OXoj1_Gc (Accessed on 21 August 2019).
 Brussels Research Group (2019). A growing Population in Egypt Demands Quality Housing. https://brusselsresearchgroup.org/index.php/2019/02/03/a-growing-population-in-egypt-demands-quality-housing/ (Accessed on 14 August 2019).
 CAPMAS (2019). Bulletin of housing in Egypt. https://www.capmas.gov.eg/Pages/Publications.aspx?page_id=5104&YearID=23415 (Accessed on 15 August 2019).
 The old rent law (law no 49/1977 and no136/1981) and allows the tenants to rent the unit for 59 years, and after death of the tenants any of his first degree relatives can rent it for another 59 years.
 Investgate. (2019). Mortgage Finance Loans Hit EGP 392.7 mn by End-April. 10 June 2019.
 Egypt Property Law. http://www.egypt-property-law.com/registration-procedure.html (Accessed on 19 August 2019).
 World Bank Doing Business (2019). https://www.doingbusiness.org/content/dam/doingBusiness/media/Annual-Reports/English/DB2019-report_web-version.pdf (Accessed 22 August 2019). Pg. 168.
Policy and Regulation
The CBE and the Egyptian Parliament are working on updating some laws that will affect the real estate market. The CBE launched a mortgage finance initiative in May 2019. It has allocated E£50 billion (US$3 billion) to finance the middle income people to purchase housing units.
In December 2018, the Egyptian Parliament approved a final draft law issuing a real estate tax. The amendment states: “The bound tax shall be due to the first estimate as of July 1, 2013, and as of January 1 of each year, in accordance with the provisions of the law; this estimate to be continued until the end of December 2021.” The amendment aims to give the Real Estate Tax Authority an opportunity during these two additional years to carry out an inventory of built-up properties, subject to the provisions of this law, and to put in the new five-year estimates for that value.
The Parliament Housing Committee has announced that the old rental law for non-residential purposes will be thoroughly discussed during the upcoming schedule of the parliament sessions.
Moreover, the Ministry of Finance is studying changes to the formulas it uses to calculate real estate taxes paid by factories, hotels and the oil and gas industry. It is also looking at cancelling an exemption for private homes worth less than E£2 million.
On May 2018, the Egyptian House of Representatives approved the new Social Housing Law that will enable the establishment of a Social Housing Fund. In co-operation between the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, the fund will be considered a public service authority with several official offices in all the country’s governorates. The fund will be responsible for providing housing units in areas that will be selected by the government for those with limited income. Another detailed law is expected to be issued by the government explaining the needed criteria and conditions for applying for these housing units. The law will ban each family from having more than just one unit. 
 Egypttoday (2018). Parliament approves final amendment of real estate tax law. 24 December 2018.
 Egypttoday (2019). Housing committee: Old-rent law to be thoroughly discussed at parliament. 18 June 2019.
 Enterprise (2019). Egypt to repeal real estate tax exemptions for private homes, provide preferential treatment for hotels, factories, oil and gas. 10 February 2019.
 Egypttoday (2019). Social housing development progress report how far have we come. 4 January 2019. Egypt News.
The total investments of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities during the FY 2018/19 in four sectors reach E£130 billion (US$7.8 billion), including housing sectors, infrastructure, new cities and slums development. Furthermore, the construction and real estate investment sector contributed 18 percent growth to GDP last FY and this ratio is expected to increase to 20 percent by the end of the current FY. The total investments of the ministry and the private sector in construction and real estate sector are approaching E£200 billion (US$12 billion) annually, which reflects the importance of this sector and the volume of its investments.
The mortgage market needs more development and is still far below saturation. The total value of mortgages comprises a negligible 0.36 percent of GDP and is well behind global averages that reach 60 percent to 80 percent of GDP. The E£’s float encouraged property in Egypt, highlighting it as a promising investment. Investment in real estate is dominated by the private sector and receives the largest share of private investment. On the Egyptian Stock Exchange, the sector ranks first for volumes traded and accounts for nearly 12 percent of market capitalisation. Real estate stock prices have proven resilient to market contractions and show strong growth prospects going forward.
The real estate and construction sector give high returns on investments compared to other sectors, and due to the gap between supply and demand (either demand for residential or commercial purposes), the sector is considered an attractive and successful investment chance for investors.
 Deputy Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities for National Projects During the preparatory conference for the exhibition that will be held in September 2019.
 Al-Aees, S. (2018). EGP 200bn total investments of state, private companies in Egypt’s real estate sector annually. 7 October 2019. Daily News Egypt.
 Brussels Research Group (2019). A growing Population in Egypt Demands Quality Housing.
Availability of data on housing finance
In Egypt, the main source for macroeconomic data is the Central Bank of Egypt (https://cbe.org.eg/), which provide data related to GDP, balance of payments, investments and monetary sector data. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for budget sector data, it releases a monthly bulletin (http://www.mof.gov.eg/Arabic/Pages/Home.aspx//).
The CAPMAS website provides some statistical data. It has the census report, a monthly informative bulletin, and a housing report that is published yearly. This includes data on the number of housing units built during the year and its kind, from social housing to private investments. CAPMAS also publishes a monthly bulletin with information on building material prices (https://www.capmas.gov.eg/).
Data related to mortgage and microfinance can be found on the FRA website (http://www.fra.gov.eg/). There is a shortage of data related to loans for construction and building purposes. There is no data published related to housing resales or building costs.
The Central Bank of Egypt www.cbe.org.eg
Egypt State Information Service http://www.sis.gov.eg/?lang=en-US
Egypt Today www.Egypttoday.com
Daily News Egypt www.dailynewsegypt.com
Financial Regulatory Authority. http://www.fra.gov.eg/jtags/efsa_en/index_en.jsp
The Egyptian Ministry of Finance www.mof.gov.eg
Slum Development Fund www.isdf.gov.eg
Global Property Guide https://www.globalpropertyguide.com/
Invest Gate www.invest-gate.me
Ahram Online http://english.ahram.org.eg
American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt https://www.amcham.org.eg/
Egypt Property Law http://www.egypt-property-law.com