Panashe Chikonyora, Business Reporter
Mashonaland Holdings Limited managing director, Gibson Mapfidza, has emphasised the importance of collaboration and transparency in the property sector if it’s performance is to improve this year.
This comes at a time when the country is facing a potentially dry agricultural season that may affect economic development, in the process exerting more pressure to the already depressed property industry.
Last year the real estate sector experienced a serious decline as the country battled fuel, power and foreign currency shortages, inflationary pressures and poor utility supplies that resulted in very little activity in property sales as the majority of owners had put sales on hold.
Mr Mapfidza said as such, collaboration and transparency were essential corrections that needed to be made to prevent mistakes of the past decade from recurring.
“Looking back, I think stakeholders in the past decades operated largely in a fragmented manner. Therefore, there is and rightly so, a realisation and growing consensus in the market that we need to collaborate and ensure that our efforts are complementary towards creating a built environment we can all be proud of.
“The inactivity and disregard of the efficiency created by proper strategic and master planning of developments in our cities has led to ugly urban scapes and sprouting of self-help, unplanned human settlements without proper services.
We have seen sub-urban zones being converted to commercial land use zones without proper planning of requisite infrastructure upgrades to cater for the increasing bulky.
Assuming that those re-zoned sub-urban areas fully commercialised as intended, the installed services (water, sewer and roads) will simply not cope with the proposed settlement bulks.
“Also the local panning authorities should take a leading role in the built environment development, they need to do things right as per their well-researched blueprints, but also do the right things in order to be responsive to the ever-changing city needs. Urban planning creates efficiency in the use of the scarce urban land, it brings about order,” he said.
“Developers are capitalistic in nature and rightly so as they are driven by profits. They therefore cannot be trusted to lead sustainable development that balances the needs of all city stakeholders, including future generations,” Mr Mapfidza added.
He attributed the property market’s inefficiency to its inherent fragmentation – unique physical characteristics and location of buildings and lack of a common trading platform like stock exchanges.
He said the exchanges sought to create a surrogate platform that enables proper performance measurement and attribution analysis of property investments.
However, despite the economic challenges, the Mashonaland Holdings Limited managing director remains optimistic that the sector will start picking up towards the end of 2021.
“Traditionally, the real estate sector’s turnaround is buoyed by the macroeconomic recovery.
“As such, the property market difficulties of 2019 are most likely to persist into 2020 with recovery signs in Fourth Quarter and spilling into 2021,” Mr Mapfidza said.