By Nyasha Chingono
CBZ Holdings says it has put US$21 million into its property unit for industrial and commercial development in special economic zones (SEZs).
CBZ Property, which came into operation in April, will also manage the group’s real estate assets. CBZ Holdings, the country’s largest financial group, has built a substantial land bank over the years.
Group chief executive officer, Never Nyemudzo, said CBZ Property would take advantage of the SEZs to invest in property for small to medium enterprises.
“We have earmarked $21 million for some of their projects, focusing on industrial and commercial development, specifically in export processing zones where we have factory shelves for our SMEs,” said Nyemudzo.
“CBZ Property, which is part of our balance sheet restructuring, only came into full operation in April this year so they are currently (dealing with) administrative issues. So it is in the second half of the year where we expect activity from them,” added Nyemudzo.
The group’s presence in the property market was given a boost with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the City of Bulawayo for 670 medium density stands in Mahatshula.
The project is worth US$7 million.
CBZ Holdings has also extended its footprint in Marondera, where it has completed negotiations for 2 800 high density stands.
The project is estimated to cost $15 million and civil works are expected to begin soon.
In Gweru, the property wing has sold 368 stands in Mtausi, 1 095 stands in Nehosho while 415 stands are under the hammer in Mbizo, Kwekwe.
In Harare’s The Grange, 139 low density stands have already been sold.
In Victoria Falls, 1309 stands have already been sold out as the property concern continues its drive towards offering affordable accommodation.
CBZ’s investment in the property sector is notwithstanding the pressures that the industry is facing, with MMC Capital saying the market was subdued during the first half of the year.
Unstable economic conditions have had an adverse effect on the real estate sector voids, arrears and decreasing property returns have continued into 2017.