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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cairo Real Estate Roundup - Part II

The idea of moving to a different apartment that Ishmael put into my mind percolated for a few weeks.  Linda thought we should investigate the current real estate market.  One obvious candidate to explore was a new "luxury" building just down the block.  It is difficult to photograph because of numerous obstacles but this will give you an idea of what the front looks like.  This is a big building with big apartments.
RealEstate1-04 RealEstate1-19

We took a tour of  a couple of unfinished units.  They range from 1750 to 3150 sq ft.   There are four elevators in the building.  Choose a large end unit and wall off the hallway and you have a private entry!  It is allowed.  The hallways are well lit and finished to a high level not seen outside of luxury hotels here.  Prices are quite high with the 1750 sq ft unit coming in at about $41,000 - and figure another $10,000 to finish it to your taste.

The building is already 70% sold out.  We asked if there were any "foreigners" among the owners and were told there were Saudis and some others from the Gulf States.  (Cairo is a favored "cool spot" for them in the summer.)

Take a look at the well-lit gleaming lobby under the watchful eye of the building's bawaab and you will see why we are intrigued by it.

As a bonus, the unit we inspected on the rear has a view of Ishmael's golden building in the distance.  It is less than a hundred yards from our local center of commerce and public transportation hub.
RealEstate1-01 RagabBlock

But, let's consider another alternative.  Less than a half mile to the west of Ragab Sons' supermarket and across the street from the Japanese School lies this block of buildings:

We had the opportunity to take a look at some of the units in the center building with the scaffolding in front.  There are three units on each floor and the total square footage of each floor is about 4000.  There as no elevator operating yet but sunset was approaching so I climbed to the twelfth floor in anticipation of a nice view.  Once on 12, there is a conveniently nailed together ladder leading onto the rooftop.
RealEstate1-12 RealEstate1-11

The view is, indeed, spectacular.  Even on a hazy day.

The view looking back toward our apartment and the other two buildings described here was also very attractive.

Naturally, the owner, who was showing me around, was interested in selling me the entire 12th floor or at least half of it.  All 4000 sq ft can be had for 520,000 EGP ($52,000) or half of that for $26,000.  Plus finishing cost of 5-10 thousand, of course.  For one of the smaller units on the lower floors, the base cost will run you about $17,500 - plus finishing.

Owner Mohammed promised me that he could have a unit finished in two months from the day we sign the contract and put the money in the bank.  There were no promises mentioned about the elevator.

Linda and I inspected the finishing work in progress in a unit on one of the lower floors.  The colors may not be to every American's taste but the workmanship seems adequate - although we noted a good bit of hammering taking place in the dark in one room.  A little tile cleanup and these rooms will all sparkle.
RE2-1 RealEstate1-15

RE1-2 RE2-2 RE2-4


Features to note are ceramic tile floors throughout, complete ceramic in both the kitchen and bath and tray ceilings with recessed lighting in the living room - now a standard mark of quality construction here.

Consider this one carefully!  You won't find 1400 square feet of winter getaway in Florida or Arizona for under $25,000.

And, keep in mind the ongoing cost of living in Cairo.  Tonight we ordered grilled chicken dinners for three with rice, bread and salads.  It was delivered in 22 minutes and cost $10 with tip.  We picked up two pounds of oranges and two pounds of bananas for one dollar earlier in the day.  A few days ago, Linda picked up six pounds of fresh strawberries for a dollar.

Of course, there are downsides to everything.  It turns out that Mohammed only has a permit to build seven floors of that twelve story building.  So buying the top floor with the view is risky.  So let's look at it as they would on House Hunters International on HGTV:

Description Sq Feet Price in $
Ishmael's place with the poorly designed kitchen 1100 22,000
The expensive building with the fancy lobby 1750 41,000
plus finishing
The great view on the unpermitted 12th floor 2000 26,000
plus finishing

Which one did they choose?


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Aliza said...

Sooooo tempting....