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Zimbabwe real estate market snapshot 2013

by Knight Frank
28 May 2013 at 03:19hrs | Views
Office Market
The take-up of office space has been poor as a result of the depressed economic climate in Zimbabwe. Occupiers are struggling to meet rent and service charges, and the levels of arrears are generally high. Voids have increased, in some buildings to over 30%. More than a year after it came on stream, the 12,000 sq m of office space in the Joina City development in Harare remains over 50% unlet. Two significant office developments, the Celestial Park and the Old Mutual project, with a combined lettable area of 26,000 sq m, are currently underway along Borrowdale Road and should be completed within the next twelve months. Property investment activity continues to be restricted by tight liquidity conditions, although notable recent office transactions have included John Boyne House (4,000 sq m), which achieved US$4.7 million and Star Africa House (2,000 sq m), sold for $3.55 million.

Retail Market
Retail space remains in high demand, both in the CBD and suburban locations. There has been an uplift in retail prime rents for new lettings in Harare of about 60% during 2012, but the sustainability of the achieved rents is doubtful in an environment of weak consumer spending. The Mall of Zimbabwe, a major new development with 68,000 sq m of retail space, is due to see construction commence in early 2013, with completion slated for 2014. With an estimated cost of US$100 million, it will be the single largest private property development ever in Zimbabwe. A notable recent investment transaction is the sale of the Pomona Shopping Centre, which changed hands at a reported price of US$7.8 million, giving a yield of 8% on market rent.

Industrial Market
Demand for industrial space has reduced in recent years, as Zimbabwe has become more of a consumer of imported goods than a manufacturing country. Void rates are increasing and rents are depressed. Tenant viability is questionable in the current difficult economy, putting at risk the security of income streams. Industrial investments are considered the least attractive of all sectors and the recent sales that have taken place have been entirely for owner-occupation.

Residential Market
The absence of long-term mortgage/loan financing has restricted residential market activity. Some financial institutions have been able to secure external lines of credit to support mortgages for private purchases, but the secured loans have been for relatively small amounts over short periods, e.g. 10 years at rates of 15-18% per annum, thus making them expensive for borrowers. Nevertheless, the market has seen price increases of up to 25% during 2012. The rental market remains weak because of low disposable incomes.

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Source - Africa Report 2013