'Harare commercial property sector to expand'

'Harare commercial property sector to expand'
Published: 03 April 2018 (915 Views)
Borrowdale and Mount Pleasant provide Harare's top office stock, with the level of commercial properties in the two suburbs likely to expand in the near future, according to a new Africa-wide report by leading global real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield Excellerate.

The 2018 Africa report, titled "The Winds of Change - An African Perspective" covers trends and dynamics affecting the commercial, industrial and retail property sectors in key African markets.

Mount Pleasant and Borrowdale are residential suburbs located in the affluent northern part of Harare and have in recent years grown to encompass more business space as the central business district has begun to be crowded out and informalised. According to the report, these areas are likely to offer attractive prospects for investors, or at least they have the potential to evolve to become essential property hubs.

Harare has an estimated population of 1,54 million. With regards to office stock, Mount Pleasant comprises a number of office parks and shopping centres, notably Arundel Office Park, Arundel Village Shopping Centre, The Bridge Shopping Centre, Bond Shopping Centre and Pendennis Shopping Centre.

Borrowdale on the other hand is the more affluent of the northern suburbs, and it is made up of Borrowdale West, Borrowdale, Helensvale, Borrowdale Brooke, Crowhill Views, and Pomona.

And with regards to office stock, the suburb has the Borrowdale Office Park, Celestial Park and the First Mutual Park, as well as a swish shopping area in the suburb's centre known as Sam Levy's Village.

The real estate experts say they expect an upturn in commercial property development within Harare's CBD and in a number of the northern suburbs going forward.

"Mismanagement resulted in low levels of service being provided, accompanied by very little maintenance . . . (But) with the recent political changes in Zimbabwe the economy is expected to recover which should have a positive impact on the state of the city.

"Since the slight economic improvement between 2009 and 2012, the property market in Harare had already showed some improvement with an increase in demand for office, retail and industrial space.

"Even though the tough times are not over, commercial property investment hotspots are expected to include the Harare CBD, Borrowdale, Avondale, new industrial property north of the city and any de-centralised suburban office park in the city," reads part of the report.

The anticipated increase in the number of commercial properties in the northern suburbs has the potential to result in portfolio occupancy levels in the CBD deteriorating as some tenants move out of the city centre.

This would create large vacancies in older, commercial properties that these businesses previously occupied. But the analysts at Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate do not see it so.

"The CBD is expected to attract many retailers and client-orientated companies while suburban office and parks should host most office-based companies with retail facilities close-by. The demand for industrial property in all existing industrial areas is mainly focused on small companies requiring smaller spaces. The new industrial area north of the city is popular because of its accessibility."

One of the on-going mega property development projects in one of these areas is the Village Walk Borrowdale.
The report has also identified Willowvale, New Ardbennie, Southerton, and Graniteside Msasa as having the capital city's top industrial stock.And the areas with top retail stock are Borrowdale, Avondale and the CBD.

Harare is Zimbabwe's capital and most populous city; it is structurally well-planned and serves as a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufacturers include textiles, steel, and chemicals. Factories produce processed food, beverages, clothing, cigarettes, building materials, and plastics with gold being mined in the broader area. The city also serves as the hub for rail, road and air transport in Zimbabwe.

The Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate report provides an overview of industry developments in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius.

In each case, the report offers an explanation of the economic and political events taking place within the country, how these are impacting on the industry, and what this means for property stakeholders.

The experts say they are generally optimistic of the outlook of Africa's property sector.

"Our report shows that the outlook for the African property industry is, on the whole, positive," says Marna van der Walt of Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate.

- newsday

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