'Zim property market remains attractive'

HARARE - LamudiI, a realtor with operations in 32 countries, says Zimbabwe’s property market remains attractive despite the country’s deteriorating economy.

Mustafa Suleimanji, the group’s managing director for Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique, said he views the Zimbabwean market as an important platform for Lamudi’s growth in Africa.

He said Zimbabwe is experiencing “increased construction in the capital and secondary cities, as well as a rising number of young, well-educated Zimbabweans who are interested in renting property”.

“Although the middle class is not growing there as fast as in other markets, there are definitely many intelligent Zimbabweans who aspire to improve their careers and earn more. There are young people coming out of universities, getting married, starting families, moving into nice houses and spending more,” he said.

Lamudi also runs an online real estate portal or market place where property owners and agents list their property for rent or for sale.

In the four markets he oversees, Suleimanji says Zimbabwe is on top in the number of property agents that use the Internet.

“Zimbabweans are very entrepreneurial people. The number of property agents that use the Internet for business specifically is highest in Zimbabwe. Higher than in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique,” he said.

Suleimanji indicated that these agents run websites, upload listings and “actively use the Internet as a tool for business”.

“The competition we see between agents in Zimbabwe is similar to Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. They have some beautiful houses in Harare and I would definitely urge investors to visit. I think it is at the cusp of growth,” he said.

A snap survey conducted by businessdaily revealed that there are multiple other online platforms Zimbabweans use when seeking to rent or buy property such as Property24, BuyZim Property and Property.co.zw.

Latest statistics from the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe revealed that the country has a mobile penetration rate of more than 105 percent with about 13,5 million mobile phone subscribers.

The number has grown dramatically from nearly three million in 2009 when the country adopted the multi-currency system.

Suleimanji said beyond online property portals, Zimbabweans were also increasingly buying goods online, adding there is potential for growth in e-commerce.

Last year, global payment giant PayPal launched in the country, making it possible for local businesses and consumers to purchase goods and services from 203 countries.

However, Lamudi notes that the Zimbabwean economy still faces many challenges, and in the property sector there are a lot of price fluctuations.

Since its launch in 2013, Lamudi has grown at breath-taking speed with its website now available in more than 30 countries in the emerging markets, offering house-hunters from Mozambique to Mexico access to over 800 000 global property listings.

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