By Walter Muchinguri
The Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe (REIZ) will be holding its 2018 Winter School in Victoria Falls from July 5 to 8.
This year’s Winter School is being held under the theme “Intergrating Sustainability in the Real Estate Sector for Economic Transformation.”
The Winter School is coming at a time the property market has remained depressed in the first half of 2018 due to a subdued economy, with rental income suffering a knock as voids increased during the period.
The unstable economic environment has had an adverse effect on the property market, resulting in increased voids, arrears, decreasing property returns and values across the board. The sector was, however, expected to recover in response to the country’s economic development.
High financing costs as well as the high cost of building materials for new property developments is projected to see property prices remaining comparatively high when compared to regional peers.
Guest speaker at the event is Professor Samuel Azasu, a Professor of Real Estate at Wits University.
The Winter School brings together the countries major players in the Real Estate sector to discuss issues affecting them and how best the issues can be addressed so that the industry contribute significantly to the gross domestic products so that many people are able to own or building house — the safest investment at reasonable prices and flexible mortgage terms under the current economic environment.
REIZ president Mr Mike Juru said the property market had remained subdued with no significant movements across the sectors during the first half of the year.
“Activity is visible at the lower end of the residential sector where there is a meeting of the minds between buyers and sellers unlike the residential high end where polarized positions are the order of the day,” Mr Juru said.
Activity in the sector has been skewed towards residential developments, while commercial properties, especially in the central business district, have been experiencing high voids and low rental income.
“Land prices on well-developed infrastructure has firmed up on price per square metre. We have also witnessed government making effort in regularisation illegal settlements which is a positive move to give confidence to the sector,” he said.
He said voids and rental arrears remain a worrying factor which directly speaks to the economy.
“Major New developments which took off the ground in the last six months include NMB Head Office along Borrowdale Road which is most likely for owner occupation and its impact had been to create activity in the construction sector and increase office space,” said Mr Juru.