NICOZDIAMOND Insurance Limited says institutional investors, such as banks and pension funds, were among potential clients showing interest in about 20 cluster housing units it has
completed in Harare.Phase 2 of Nicoz’s investment in properties, the Hatfield Diamond Villa project, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.The project, which kicked off last year, will see the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed insurer constructing 58 housing units in the Hatfield medium density residential area.
Chief executive officer, Grace Muradzikwa, told the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) last week that 20 units had been completed and were on the market.
She said demand for the properties was in line with expectations, and that Phase 2 had started.
“The uptake of the units has been generally good and in line with our expectations,” Muradzikwa said.
“A number of institutions such as banks, pension funds, real estate agents and individuals have expressed interest,” she said.
“The Hatfield Diamond Villa project is one of the evolving initiatives which started in 2014 to unlock value by developing and selling 58 housing units. This project was divided into two
phases. Phase one saw the successful completion of 20 housing units which are now being sold. The next phase, Phase 2 is already underway at around 20 percent now and it will be
completed before the end of this year,” Muradzikwa added.
In August last year, Muradzikwa said the cluster housing units would cost at least US$95 000 each.
“When we said we are going into property, you were saying they have not been in property and we will see how they will do it. We have constructed 20 units. We want to have these 20 units
move before we move to the next 20 units,” said Muradzikwa.
The NicozDiamond project is one of a few schemes recently undertaken by the private sector to complement government, which has been fighting to reduce a 1,3 million national housing
Several financial institutions and insurance firms have of late shown interest in projects in the property sector, as they seek to diversify their earnings base.
The property market, while depressed, has been offering better returns to investors in liquidity strapped Zimbabwe.
ZimRe Property Investments, Fidelity Life Limited, BancABC, CBZ Building Society, FBC Building Society and other private developers have undertaken similar projects.
In the case of low cost housing units, deposits range from US$2 000 followed by monthly payments of at least US$100 for serviced high density stands, to at least US$5 000, followed by
about US$150 in monthly payments over a certain period, for completed units.
CABS is undertaking one of the largest low cost housing schemes in Zimbabwe in Harare’s Budiriro high density suburb, where at least 3 000 have been under construction.
Hundreds of units have been completed and contractors have been working around the clock as they fight to deal with an increasing housing backlog troubling city fathers.
Completion of the project would be good news for residents.
But thousands of cash-strapped intended beneficiaries have been spending sleepless nights trying to find ways of raising funds to access housing units like the one in Budiriro and
Hatfield. People in the lower strata of Zimbabwe’s social pyramid will continue to struggle to raise funding for houses, in the absence of mortgage funding and as many of them lose jobs in a contracting economy.
The rate at which financial institutions have been rolling out mortgages has declined as a result of the liquidity stress in banks. Even if funding was available, many people will not qualify.They have no formal source of guaranteed income, a prerequisite for building societies to process their applications.