East African real estate executives hopeful of recovery amid COVID-19 shocks

NAIROBI, May 18 (Xinhua) -- East African real estate executives on Wednesday said that they remain hopeful that the sector will recover from the COVID-19 shocks.

Speaking at a forum in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, Tilda Mwai, research lead of pan-African real estate research firm, Estate Intel, said that the regional economic recovery has prompted a lot of interest in the sector from both local and foreign investors.

"East Africa's real estate sector continues to develop and become more resilient and is able to withstand cyclical shocks," Mwai said during the ninth annual East Africa property investment summit.

The two-day summit brought together over 300 attendees from across the East African region to exchange views on how to expand the real estate sector.

Mwai observed that the region's diversifying and evolving real estate sector provides some of the most compelling opportunities across a number of sub-sectors.

She noted that growth of the sector is being driven by demand for quality and the need for flexibility by commercial and industrial sectors.

According to Mwai, despite a glut in Nairobi's office market, Grade A offices have continued to outperform other classes with some office parks recording occupancy rates of up to 90 percent.

She added that in Uganda and Tanzania, the commercialization of the oil and gas sectors has driven up demand for commercial and residential properties.

Somaya Joshua, head of commercial property finance, Africa Region at Absa Group, said that sustained investments in infrastructure development as well as new statutory reforms supporting the real estate sector are expected to underpin the growth of real estate.

Joshua noted that a lot of funding will be extended in the East African region across the various sectors in the real estate industry in order to meet growing demand for property development.

Gerhard Zeelie, divisional executive for property finance Africa, at Nedbank corporate and investment Banking said that real estate developments that adhere to environmental and sustainable principles are likely to drive future growth of the sector.

Niyi Adeleye, head of real estate finance, Africa Regions, Standard Bank said that the preferred real estate segments are those that are relevant to domestic and international capital sources in the mid to long-term horizon.

Adeleye said that property development that achieves environmental and social impacts as well as a positive impact on the quality of life will remain resilient in the post COVID-19 world.

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