Source: Properties have gone beyond the reach of many — VP Mngangagwa – Sunday News August 21, 2016
THE prices of properties in the country have gone beyond the reach of many aspiring property owners with high cost of mortgage financing causing the market to be illiquid, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
Officially opening the 71st Annual General Meeting and Winter School of the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe in Gweru, VP Mnangagwa said there was a need for a market turnaround in the real estate sector supported by performance measurement indicators, operating standards, research and development and sound corporate governance tenets.
“I’m aware that most properties in Zimbabwe have gone beyond the reach of many aspiring home owners, industrialists and retailers, among other categories with the high cost of mortgage financing causing the property market to be illiquid. This has been exacerbated by the shortage of properly developed land and restrictive by-laws which tend to increase the cost of housing, industrial, commercial structures and public real estate, among other type of structures,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said evidence showed that the demand for low cost housing continues to grow as evidenced by the increasing number of people on the housing waiting list and especially from the diaspora, youths and women.
He said, “Despite the drawback, owning a house remains a top aspiration for many. Other opportunities include the fact that most people have ‘dead’ equity locked up in their properties acquired during the hyperinflation era and are seeking to unlock that value.”
Going forward, VP Mnangagwa said there was a need to focus on issues pertaining to the relaxation of building standards and view the process as an avenue for enhancing the Ease of Doing Business reforms the country is pursuing. He said pursuant to this, the Estate Agents Act and Valuers Act require constant review.
“As Government, we remain committed to providing an environment that ensures optimal and broad-based participation by the generality of our people, including the youths and women in the country’s economic turnaround provided for in the Constitution and Zim Asset,” said VP Mnangagwa.
The winter school is running under the theme, “Driving economic growth through investment in Real Estate.”
VP Mnangagwa said the theme dovetails with and gives further impetus to Government’s thrust in providing quality housing stock and industrial/business infrastructure for the well-being and prosperity of the country in line with Zim Asset and the 10-Point Plan which was enunciated by President Mugabe last year.
He said his role as the VP responsible for economic recovery and ensuring sustainable food security and nutrition has given him new insights into how profits to be generated from Command Agriculture, tobacco farming, agriculture in general and agro processing can boost the real estate sector as profits can be ploughed into the housing infrastructure development.
“I therefore challenge the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe and this winter school to think outside the box and come up with cheap but practical solutions for providing housing for the low and middle income clients. I also encourage you to develop options for durable but cheap designs for informal traders, among other low income groups,” said VP Mnangagwa.