One of Zimbabwe’s largest real estate companies, First Mutual Properties, says there is very low demand for offices, especially in the central business district, but there is firm demand for retail and industrial space to rent.
It says companies are instead looking for offices at office parks but not just office parks but good ones.
The latest report from First Mutual Properties, one of the country’s largest real estate companies, indicates key trends in the economy. The company has real estate worth Z$9 billion, according to a Knight Frank valuation.
Here are some key insights from First Mutual Property’s 2020 financial results.
CBD offices? No. Retail and industry space? Yes
There is low demand for office space, especially in the CBD. This is no major surprise, given the decay in Harare’s CBD. However, there is still firm demand for retail as well as industrial space to rent.
According to First Mutual: “The property market continues to experience low demand for space, with the CBD Office sector worst affected, while the retail and industrial segments of the market remained resilient with steady demand.”
Office parks, but only good ones
While office space demand is low in the CBD, companies prefer office parks. And because it is an “occupiers’ market”, it is not just any office park that will do. Demand for office park space is “steady”, but tenants are looking for quality, location and supporting infrastructure.
“The office park sector continued to display its resilience with steady demand,” First Mutual says.
The company is responding to this demand by expanding one of its biggest office parks, Arundel. Design development of the architectural plans is already done and the company will float a tender for the project shortly.
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