Arcturus carved up by new owners

Ngoni Chanakira

INDIVIDUALS preferring to purchase stands either for developing or for speculative purposes instead of buying complete houses, now have to compete with the wealthy in the Arcturus area.
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A Tony West Real Estate spokesman said sales were going extremely well for the company, especially the new residential stands being offered at Manresa, Arcturus, less than 30 km outside Harare.


Arcturus is a very fertile commercial farming area that has become one of the most sought after by the rich and famous.


Commercial farmers in this area were served with Section 8 Notices and their land, including farmhouses, combine harvesters and tractors, grabbed by government ministers, political heavyweights and business tycoons.


Some of the new owners have demolished the original farmhouses and replaced them with mansions – now referred to as holiday homes by the privileged. Others have subdivided the huge farms in the area for residential purposes.


“Right now things are going very well for us and we are selling at least nine stands every week when we have a show day,” the spokesman said.


“We are selling stands for $8 000 per square metre and the stands measure from 1 200 square metres to 2 500 square metres. We have good terms in that we are not demanding cash upfront but have special terms for customers. On a good show day we can sell as many as 15 stands.”


He said the trend nowadays was for first homeowners to buy stands instead of buying the traditional completed houses in various suburbs.


“We are also doing very well with our project in Good Hope where we sell 8 500 square metres to customers,” the spokesman said. “It seems customers now prefer buying stands for speculative purposes and reselling them later at a huge profit which they then use to buy a much fancier home.”


A Redfern & Mullet Estate Agency spokesperson however said business was rather slow for her company and only a few sales were being concluded.


“Things are very quiet right now,” she said. “We are still looking for sales which are now hard to come buy. It is very difficult to sell houses in the $60 million to $100 million range.”


An official from the company’s valuations department said business had also gone down in that sector.


Houses in the upmarket suburbs of Borrowdale, Chisipite, Highlands, Mt Pleasant and Avondale are going for between $700 million and up to $1 billion.


Large luxurious three-bedroomed duplex townhouses in Avondale, on the other hand, are going for as much as $100 million, while a two-bedroomed simplex garden flat in Avonlea was this week being sold for $45 million.


In Harare’s high density areas, houses with three bedrooms are fetching between $6 million and $50 million.


In Budiriro a three-bedroomed house with main ensuite and lock-up garage was this week advertised for $30 million while the landlord of a seven-roomed house in Egypt, Highfields, with deeds was seeking $18 million in cash for the property. A four-roomed house in Mufakose was going for $6 million.


Analysts said property prices would skyrocket as long as the country experienced hyperinflation.


Inflation stands at 364,5% for June, which is expected to shoot up to 500% before year-end.


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week warned government that there was need for concerted efforts towards fighting inflation, which had fuelled consumption spending and, discouraged saving.


The RBZ said low inflation was also critical for enhanced savings mobilisation and increased investment – preconditions for economic growth and development.

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