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Property prices begin tumbling

Ngoni Chanakira

ZIMBABWEANS, frustrated by escalating prices, can now afford to smile as property prices have begun to tumble by about 20% due to the lower interest rates.

=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Property market analysts contacted this week however, said the “honeymoon” could be short-lived and depended on whether the low rates of about 50% were sustainable. Estate agents said prices had tumbled by an average of about 20%.

Analysts said the market was however “static” because there was no cash available for purchases since individuals were now more concerned about securing basic commodities that continued to be found and sold only on the parallel market.

Houses in the plush northern suburbs which were now going for as much as $1 billion and about US$300 000 in foreign currency, have now been removed from the market as sellers hold on to their properties. Estate agents were this week requesting for “offers” for houses instead of placing US tags on properties. The move comes as the foreign currency that was being requested was later used for securing Zimbabwe dollars on the once lucrative parallel market.

The parallel market has taken a plunge ever since Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono introduced an auction system at the central bank.

The US greenback, which was fetching up to $7 000 against the local currency, has fallen to about $3 600 on the streets of Harare.

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