‘Housing backlog needs 20 years to clear’

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Business Writer
Zimbabwe needs an estimated 15 to 20 years to clear its national housing backlog which has been ballooning in recent years, pushed by the increased rural to urban migration, industry experts have said.

The national housing backlog is currently estimated at 1,3 million with Harare alone requiring about half a million units. Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe (REIZ) president Mike Juru said the ballooning population in urban centres would continue to put pressure on the existing infrastructure.

The demand for housing has of late outstripped supply compounded by city to city migration especially to major cities such as the capital city, as individuals hunt for employment.

In light of this, Mr Juru said meeting the national demand for housing would not be an overnight exercise but a phase, adding that housing supply was beyond provision of land, but other services such as civil engineering, roads, water and sewer reticulation.

“It is a process that with deliberate consented effort from the public and private sector, a 15 to 20-year period would be required,” said Mr Juru by email.

“It is in our best interest to acknowledge that housing development is much more than availability of land as there are huge capital costs required to provide adequate on site and off site infrastructure. The introduction of properly regulated Real Estate Investment Trusts will go a long way in availing a conducive platform for local and international property investors to take part in addressing the housing challenge while they will realise a reasonable return on their investment,” he said.

Cognisant of the housing backlog, Government has collaborated with various stakeholders including public sector entities, financial sector, and private individuals through self-financing schemes as well as housing co-operatives. In line with this, Government is mobilising $182 million for housing projects, according to the 2018 National Budget.

“Government has come up with various financing strategies aimed at providing low cost serviced land for housing development, in partnership with Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe and the Urban Development Corporation,” said then Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa earlier in the year.

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