Building to cater to home buyer demand across different economic brackets is a not to be missed opportunity for Zimbabwe’s developers and investors says Kfir Rusin, the managing director of ZimReal, the country’s largest investment and real estate event.
Hosted at the Meikles Hotel on June 13, this strategic conference has been developed for local developers and regional investors looking for new opportunities in a market, which is set to enter a new dawn.
“We’ve established multiple transformative investment conferences across Africa over the past decade, and we have been overwhelmed by the response from local and regional stakeholders, especially with regards to the local housing market,” said Rusin.
While, the real estate market has been adversely affected by larger macroeconomic challenges over the past decade, it has proven to be resilient despite the rapid downsizing of the country’s economy.
Many analysts have attributed this to its sophisticated regulatory framework and the banking and finance sector’s ability to weather challenges and the desire for many Zimbabweans to hedge against exchange rate volatility – property has remained a safe bet.
The Centre for Affordable Housing (CAHF), one of the continent’s foremost property think tanks, advised that Zimbabwe’s progressive institutional and regulatory framework shapes the housing sector in Zimbabwe. Its many acts and instruments remain unchanged in recent history including the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.
While access to credit and available mortgage financing has hobbled development of residential properties, aimed at both affordable and affluent owners – many market watchers expect a strong rebound post-elections.
For Cardinal Corporation’s Chairman Jeremy Brooke, as one of the most trusted and ambitious real estate developers in Zimbabwe, the market and opportunity has definitely progressed and regardless of the upcoming election results, the company remains completely upbeat about future prospects. Predominantly known for developing upmarket residential units, and in particular its Arkenstone, 100 on Montgomery and Arlington Estate developments, the developer has large ambitions across the built environment.
“In 2017 we sold out Arkenstone situated in Borrowdale Brooke, and we have recently sold 27 houses along Montgomery Rd, Highlands which are due to be finished in August 2018. Our flagship project Arlington Estate continues to sell well with nearly all of the 1,200 residential stands sold out. We are proud to say that it is now widely known as one of Zimbabwe’s best mixed used developments.
‘’ While, these properties are targeted at middle to higher income earners, the bullish picture they paint of a market is invaluable to investors and developers seeking to deploy capital across the sector.
Richard Honey of Msasa Capital believes that ‘’Cardinal Corporation’s management team is composed of experts in their individual fields that extend across multiple geographic jurisdictions in Africa, and that their product mix in Zimbabwe is market driven and exciting.’’
Whilst upper income aspirational developments can only be afforded by a limited target market, there are few offerings with prices ranging from $120, 000 – $ 250, 000. What these developments do is drive liquidity into the market, create jobs and confidence in the skill and maturity of the market in the eyes of investors.
“African real estate investment and development is growing, but certain developers are known, and Jeremy Brooke is one of those African real estate leaders – whom the money will follow” said Rusin.
While focused on developing in Harare, Cardinal corporation is reviewing opportunities across all sectors including affordable housing, commercial and industrial real estate and investigating nodes such as Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. “The ambition is to provide a product for every purchaser, and for this reason we are investigating high density housing units from 50 – 100 sqm units, commercial centres in appropriate locations, as well as corporate office space. There is a significant pipeline and we believe the market will only get more buoyant post elections.”
With interest and confidence returning to the market, Brooke like many is hoping for a change in monetary policy to stimulate purchases. “We hope to see a reduction in mortgage establishment fees as well as interest rates, as the current double-digit rates are punitive and place homes out of reach for the most aspirant home owners. Zimbabwe’s stamp duty, endowment and other transfer fees are also considerably higher than neighbouring countries and we hope to see these drop to be equal or lower than regional standards”.
“Zimbabwe is exciting a lot of local developers and regional market players. We share Cardinal’s bullish viewpoint, and we believe that developing market consensus and holding the conversation now will help ready the market for one of African property’s biggest stories,” said Rusin.