Experts: EA real estate industry remains strong despite threats

By Wahinya Henry
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
Real Estate project. Photo/Courtyesy
In summary

FINANCE: Real estate development in East Africa remains positive despite slow progress demonstrated in reluctance to access finance for investment purposes.

This is the verdict reached at the conclusion of a two-day virtual summit organised by East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) featuring 69 regional and international participants themed - “Think Different”.

EAPI Virtual’s host, Kfir Rusin said the real estate sector was under pressure pre-pandemic, but the virus has highlighted the resilience of many of its sub-sectors and its future .

“The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in certain sub-sectors, such as hospitality, retail and offices, while highlighting the resilience of warehousing and logistics and the future opportunities in healthcare facilities, data centers and technology services,” said Rusin.

Commercial Property Finance Africas’ Gerhard Zeelie said Covid-19  revealed strengths and weaknesses of the East African property sector, but remained cautious on the long-term impact of the pandemic.

Cautious approach

“It is too early to make a call. We have seen fewer clients discussing new development opportunities with us, which indicates everybody is adopting a cautious approach, ” he said.

Ben Woodhams, Managing Director of Knight Frank Kenya, said Covid-19 has provided an opportunity for the sector to reset, revealing underlying supply and demand challenges the industry needs to address.