Zimbabwe’s leading brick making companies have raised prices by almost 12 percent on strong demand largely driven by increased construction activity in the economy.
A survey by The Herald Business revealed that Willdale and Beta Bricks have increased brick prices by an average 11,7 percent in the past two weeks.
Some small brick making firms, most of them concentrated in the Mount Hampden area, have also increased prices by significant percentages.
Willdale and Beta increased prices for common bricks to $190 per 1 000 units from $170 two weeks ago.
Face bricks, semi-face bricks and paving bricks have also gone up by a similar margin.
Around this time last year, prices for common bricks cost $140 per 1 000 units.
At $190, the price has gone up by 36 percent.
“There is strong demand for bricks and it is largely driven by growing construction activity by people who are building houses,” said an official with Beta Bricks who requested not to be named.
“Just move around Harare; in the residential areas you will see a lot of construction activity.”
Despite the price increase, the producers are still struggling to meet demand.
“Usually, we give our customers a waiting period of two months because we are struggling to build up enough stocks due to excessive high demand,” a sales representative at Willdale said.
At Beta Bricks, it takes about three weeks to get bricks delivered.
While traditionally, the supply of bricks is usually affected during the rainy season, many people have been making huge orders as a way of storing value in light of depreciation of value of bank balances.
There are a lot of housing projects around the country including huge contraction of houses in Kariba by Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe that has huge deliveries of the commodity to the resort town.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said recently that construction was among key sectors that would drive this year’s economic growth.
Some roof tile making firms such as Zimtile have also increased prices to an average $1,10 per unit from $1 recently, pushing up the price of constructing houses and factories nationwide.
Reports say customers were also failing to collect the tiles upon paying due to increasing demand.
Roofing timber has also been increased regardless of the fact that there are many players in the sector of which under normal situation prices should come down due to competition.
Before the price irregularities the price of timber and tiles were almost the same, but recent developments have seen timber prices shooting up.