THE managing director of Seeff Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd John Spicer says during periods of upheaval or high risk in a country particularly in an environment where interest rate
s are a fraction of inflation, owners of properties, businesses, shares, and motorcars will not sell unless they have to.
“Shortages will increase as inflation does, although often ironically the value of these properties or businesses may drop in real terms,” Spicer said.
“Thus confusion dominates Zimbabwe’s property market today and combined with soaring building and maintenance costs has given our amateur property experts and our ‘renowned’ national rumour mill a field day”.
He said there were easy guidelines for potential customers.
“Security and condition (or age) and proximity to amenities have become increasingly important but the effect on different properties in different areas and how it affects the price really does need the advice of an expert,” Spicer said in his company’s latest residential property report.
“Bad advice from amateurs can and has cost Zimbabweans millions of dollars over the last few years and some of the transactions agents receive instructions from lawyers or family to ‘fix’ would frighten you. Sellers losing up to 50% of the true value of their homes through bad advice or badly worded agreements are not unusual”.
He said prices of some residential properties were already higher than South Africa, due to shortages of secure, well appointed and maintained homes in certain sought-after areas, and astronomical local building costs.
However a large proportion of our national housing stock in all areas and price ranges, is probably still dropping in value in real terms, due to increasing neglect and our ongoing economic decline.
Investors should realise that with no willing sellers there are no bargains around.
Spicer said what they found was that an investment in the right property in the right area, would double in value in real terms when stability was achieved.
“Some buyers however may find their investment deteriorating in real terms if security or maintenance is bad, or if a promised delivery of services does not materialise for years,” he said.