Real Estate news - Zim property holding up

According to Andrew Golding, chief executive of Pam Golding Properties, the property market in Zimbabwe has only now turned from a sellers' to a buyers' market.

"Property is still seen as an important form of investment, with high interest among South Africans as well as Russian buyers," Golding told a media briefing on Tuesday. "Despite the global economic crisis, Zimbabwe has yet to experience depreciation in house prices and the property market remains relatively unscathed."

He said that buyers in that troubled country are mainly seeking investment property in the price range from US$200 000 to US$450 000 for residential property and from US$450 000 upwards for commercial property.

Golding said that Pam Golding Properties is marketing a state-of-the-art tobacco factory for US$15-million.

In this country Golding said that, ironically with grateful thanks to the national credit act and exchange controls, South Africa has been relatively cushioned when compared with the rest of the world.

"That is not to say that we are not in the midst of an extremely tough market," he said. "Our view of the market … is that since the last quarter of last year SA house prices have reduced nominally by around 10 percent while, crucially, the volume of transactions has slowed by at least 30 percent and the mortgage market is down by at least 50 percent."

He told the briefing that the failing price growth performance was much the same across all segments of the market — "with the one exception of the super-prime market above R20-million rand where demand continues to outstrip supply and where in thin trading these properties seem to be priced more relative to a worldwide comparison."

Looking to the future, Golding suggested that for the next 12 months he expects market conditions to be more or less as they are now. "There may be some minor peaks and troughs in sales activity," Golding said, "but as 2009 draws to a close we expect the full recovery in the South African housing market to begin."

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Article by: Michael Hamlyn -