Photo courtesy of ZeEduardo
With year-round sunshine, endless sandy beaches and warm, crystal-clear waters, it is little surprise that Egypt is now making waves in the property market as the latest nation to embrace the global trend of international property ownership.
In addition to the fantastic climate, new coastal regions currently being developed – such as Marsa Alam in the south of the country – offer access to some of the world’s most pristine scuba diving sites, ensuring a high demand for rental property year round.
A progressive government, backing a tourism ministry focused on an intensive campaign to market Egypt’s attractions to the world, has ensured that the country is now home to a myriad of world-class and residential resorts.
The low cost of living and the fact that Egypt has the potential for huge capital growth, in a market as yet untapped by British buyers, makes it a favourite with Germans and Italians, who comprised the largest proportion of Egypt’s 10 million tourist visitors in 2007. Tourism in Egypt is now the ‘number two’ contributor to GDP after construction. Buoyed by the success of the new Egyptair express service and the opening of luxury brand name hotels, Egypt is well on the way to its stated target of attracting 6 million visitors annually by 2014.
Today, there are no less than seven distinct property hotspots attracting foreign property buyers in Egypt that stretch from the Sinai Peninsula, down to the fast-developing Marsa Alam on the southern Red Sea Coast.Property in Marsa Alam, Southern Red Sea Coast
The emerging resort of Marsa Alam is conveniently located just 45km south of the newly opened Marsa Alam International Airport. This entry port served over half a million passengers in 2006. Expected to become one of the premier resorts on the coast due to its world-leading dive sites and pristine beaches, Marsa Alam offers 5-star luxury in prime beachfront locations at unbeatable prices.
Marsa Alam lies just 300 km south of Hurghada on Egypt’s Coral Coast and as it slowly transforms itself into a unique, year-round overseas property destination, buying a property in Marsa Alam is widely believed to be a strong move for investors wanting to realise maximum gains. The resort has everything you could wish for – from virgin beaches and stunning coral reefs to a close proximity to the multi-billion dollar international destination resort community of Port Ghalib, centred on a world-class marina and situated along the magnificent coral wall that stretches for over 400 kilometres along the south Red Sea.
With direct flight times to the UK and Europe at under five hours and a time difference with GMT of just a couple of hours (GMT+2), Marsa Alam is quickly becoming extremely sought after by savvy investors. Charter flights currently operate direct from London Gatwick and Manchester to Marsa Alam International Airport.Property in Sharm El Sheikh, Sinai Peninsula
This is arguably the most developed destination on the Red Sea coastline. The most popular area is Naama Bay with its host of modern amenities, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs as well as water sports and dive centres. This popular holiday hotspot even hosted former British PM Tony Blair, and family, in recent years. At just five hours flying time from the UK, Sharm El Sheik International Airport – in addition to serving scheduled flights between Egypt’s main cities – receives international flights from London Gatwick and charter flights from Italy, Germany, Poland and Ireland.Hurghada Property, Red Sea Riviera
The Red Sea Riviera, as it has become known, sits on the western shore of the Red Sea and is home to Hurghada, a resort offering property investment opportunities. With no less than eight golf courses planned, it is building its presence as a seashore resort for all. The city is served by Hurghada International Airport, offering direct connections to several European cities. The resort continues to grow in popularity as a Christmas/ New Year getaway destination for Northern Europeans.Future Property Resorts, Hurghada North
North of Hurghada, two world class projects are already under construction to create spectacular residential tourism oasis. Gamsha Bay is set to become the region’s largest township offering a host of housing options and an adventure theme park. The build will be in five phases over the next 10 years. In contrast, Serrenia is the creation of renowned British architectural firm Foster & Partners, and is designed to be a luxurious, sustainable community set on a championship golf course with a 7-star hotel onsite.Sahl Hasheesh & El Gouna Resort Property, North Red Sea Coast
The resort of Sahl Hasheesh is also making waves in the world of overseas property, being developed by The Egyptian Resorts’ Company, Sahl Hasheesh. This is a seaside resort with plans to build an historic underwater ‘Sunken City’ and become the Cannes of Egypt.
The culmination of 13 years of construction work, the prestigious town of El Gouna is promoted as Egypt’s Venice. This privately owned ‘town’ is home to over 15 hotel properties, luxury marinas and 300 private villas and apartments with a further 500 under construction. Built along 10km of pristine beachfront, it features distinct architecture and property set on a myriad of islands linked by turquoise lagoons. It is home to the Red Sea Coast’s only casino, completed 18-hole USPGA golf course and international school. El Gouna has built a reputation for its adrenalin sports such as kite surfing and parasailing.Cairo City Property
At the top end of the price scale, property in Cairo is the most expensive in Egypt, as the country’s capital city and main economic centre. With a view of the pyramids, the new development of Dreamland, a satellite city south of Cairo, is attracting investment from the likes of Sheraton and Hyatt. A handy location for Cairo International Airport and free from the smog and pollution of the city centre, the area is attracting a growing ex-pat population that has necessitated the need for an international school, hospital and leisure facilities including tennis courts and a championship golf course. Land prices here are significantly cheaper than in the city.Mediterranean Coast Property Egypt
There are many tourists who overlook Egypt’s Mediterranean coast in favour of the Red Sea, but this long stretch presents numerous opportunities for property purchase within the area from Alexandria through to El Alamein. This region is known as being the summer playground for Egypt’s jet set. Marketed as the Cote d’Azur for Egyptians, this is the coast of choice when it comes to second homes. A small airport serves tourist arrivals who come to stay at the recreational Porto Marina Resort, the first project on the Egyptian North Coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Ghazala Bay is expected to become an international tourist attraction with plans in progress for an international rally court, a huge golf course, six hotels, shopping mall, a centre for water sports and a horseback riding centre.
With a wide variety of resort locations to choose from, Egypt is well on its way to creating a residential experience like no other in the world. From investing in a pristine slice of one of the world’s best Red Sea dive locations at Marsa Alam to a luxurious second home on the Mediterranean coast, Egypt is set to offer fantastic rental returns as well as numerous lifestyle options and fantastic value for money.