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Sharm El Sheikh nyt sted for investorer

Over the course of the past two years, the very nature of the overseas property market has changed considerably. For the past 20 years, people looking to buy property overseas have tended to focus on destinations closer to home such as France, Spain and Portugal. However the dynamic market is now seeing growth in property markets further afield, where factors such as increased travel costs proved inhibited. At the heart of this new growth has been an increased demand for property in Egypt, in particular throughout the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.


As with so many emerging real estate markets, the focus of the increasing demand for property in Egypt relates to the considerable, and rapidly expanding tourist industry which is developing throughout the region. Whilst Egypt was previously known for luxurious cruises in the beautiful Nile region and visits to the ancient Pyramids, the emphasis has today shifted to the major resorts which offer easy access to the clear blue waters of the Red Sea.


Recent reports released on Egypt's tourism industry are estimating growth of approximately 6% in tourism for the period 2010, a considerable improvement on last year's figures which were severely impacted by the global financial crisis. Whilst largely removed from the financial problems experienced in many other countries, last year saw many of the Egypt's tourism source markets (UK, Germany and France) severely impacted by the global recession. Today however, the signs are that the Egypt tourism industry is emerging stronger than ever in 2010, as large numbers of low-cost airlines offer cheap flights to Egypt on a daily basis.


As well as the increasing number of cheap flights to Egypt, there are a number of other reasons why large numbers of tourists are choosing to visit this beautiful part of the world. Far removed from the unpredictable seasonality of many of the traditional European tourist destinations, Egypt benefits from a stunning year round climate, where people can sunbathe on its beautiful beaches at any point during the year.


It is also worth noting that the very nature of the tourism industry is changing globally and whereas 20 years ago people were happy to relax around the pool or on a beach, today they are seeking activities rich destinations to visit. In this regard Egypt delivers on all accounts, in particular the popular Red Sea region which is widely acknowledged to offer some of the best water sports in the Northern Hemisphere. Indeed, for fans of scuba diving the region is almost a home from home, with many people choosing to visit destinations year after year to visit world famous dive sites such as the famous Thistlegorm Wreck.


In contrary to the majority of other traditional overseas property markets, the price of property in Egypt is also highly attractive and offers the potential for considerable long-term returns. As such, the levels of foreign investment in the Egyptian property market have increased considerably over the course of the past two years as investors seek to capitalise on what they see as one of the last true emerging property markets.


Indeed many property developers in Egypt are actively encouraging foreign investment, and are now offering incentives such as bank backed guaranteed rental returns for a number of years, in return for investors purchasing off plan. With the price of apartments in Egypt starting from as little as 250000 LE it is easy to see why so many people are looking at the Egypt property market as an alternative to the more traditional destinations.


What is also appealing is that there is considerable scope for growth in Egypt property market, as large amounts beachfront land are yet to be developed along large stretches of the Red Sea coastline. In particular, the region around Marsa Alam in the South of Egypt offers considerable development opportunity, and already a number of major property developments have been announced in the region.


In summary, the demand for property in Egypt is not only healthy, it is justified. With the growth in tourism at an early stage of development, the volumes of tourist visitors look set to increase in the near future. With the price of property in Egypt increasing steadily over the past 12 months, it is understandable why many overseas investors are looking at the region as a substitute for many more traditional investment opportunities.


Written by Mark Burns, UK specialist in real estate & consultant on overseas property.

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