WHAT makes the property market in Zambia different from South Africa?
The market in Zambia differs in the size and types of accommodation available. Typically, houses are built on very large stands of between 2000 and 6000m². Most of the housing stock was built from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. Zambia experienced an economic downturn in the late 1980s due to the crash of the copper price. The Zambian economy is still driven by the mining industry and, in particular, copper mining. Most of the residential suburbs were established between the 1960s and the 1980s, so for almost 15 years we had no additional suburbs being created. This is where I see the significant difference.
Prices differ as well. However, we still offer a higher return in Zambia than in South Africa. The market also differs with regard to mortgages. The mortgage market is young and was only re-established in the last eight years. Mortgage interest rates are from 18% to 24% depending on the risk profile of the buyer, and a minimum deposit of 20% of the purchase price is required. Most sales involve cash buyers.
Are South Africans allowed to buy property in Zambia?
Yes, they are, but this can only be done by obtaining an investment licence. The licence can be obtained through the Zambia Development Agency and you must have a minimum investment of $500000 (about R4.5-million). This licence is not only for the purchase of residential houses, but is used for those who want to invest in tourism, commercial and industrial properties. The licence must show that the investment will create employment in the economy.
How do property prices compare in Zambia and South Africa?
When one compares like with like, prices in Zambia are higher for built-up property, however for residential stands we are much lower than South Africa. The figures below give you an indication of average house prices:
Low-cost housing: $70000 (about R630000); medium-cost housing: $100000 to $35000 (R890000 to R3.1-million);
medium to high-cost: $400000 to $600000 (R3.6-million to R5.3-million); and high-cost $600000 to $1.5-million (R5.3- million to R13.4- million).
In what sort of shape are the residen tial and commercial markets currently?
Both are in good shape, and offer positive returns on investment. Residential property yields are between 6% to 8% and commercial between 9% and 11%.
Which areas are most sought-after?
Lusaka and the Copperbelt, in particular Kitwe and Ndola.
For Zambians there is historically a stigma to advertising a property by means of a showhouse. Why is this? The reason is privacy. Zambians are very quiet about personal wealth and property. Selling property in the past signified that a person was in debt or had financial challenges. Zambians do not look at property as a commodity that can be traded as and when the market changes. They look at it as a retirement package.
How did you get involved in the property industry?
I got involved by accident, in 1999, through managing a property portfolio on behalf of a wealthy individual who was based out of the country.
This was about three years after I graduated from university and was really looking to bringing up my children. At the time my son was four and I was expecting my daughter, now 13. I thought it would be a part-time job, but it was full-time. After that I had my third child, now 12.
The portfolio included residential, commercial and industrial properties. It was a baptism of fire, but the best way to learn. At that time there was no formal real estate industry; we'd put signs on the properties with our personal numbers, and advertise in the newspaper for vacancies. Since then I've seen an evolution of the industry to what it is today, which is very encouraging.
Where do you live, and in what sort of property?
I live in a three-bedroomed house with a study and pool, built on about an acre of land in 1979. It is close to the office and retail precinct of Lusaka, in a suburb called Roma.
What is this suburb like to live in?
It is an old suburb, well laid out and established, and secure. I chose it because it is 3km from my office, close to my children's school and close to all amenities.
Do you own or rent and what is the reason for your preference?
I am currently renting as I am in the process of starting to build my own house.
How does Pam Golding Properties' foothold in Zambia compare to other real estate companies?
We are the market leader, though we only have one branch in Lusaka. The team is exceptional and through their commitment and dedication to service have taken the lead position and maintained it.
Are more real estate companies now operating there?
Yes, over the last few years we have seen the likes of Chas Everitt and Seeff come into Zambia.
What is the most exciting part about being involved in property in Zambia?
And the least exciting? Most exciting is seeing the market evolve, buyers become more astute in their knowledge of property, and the increased investment and confidence locally and regionally. Less exciting, and probably more frustrating, is the pace at which the legal system is not keeping up with the evolution of the market.
What other career could you have chosen?
I believe I would have been in some form of sales or a corporate affairs environment.
INUTU Zaloumis says she enjoys keeping abreast with African economics and also loves to travel and "discover new places".
"In my leisure time I am usually with my children," she says. "Due to the demands of my work I spend as much of my free time with them as possible."
Because both are important to her, juggling work and family life can be a challenge.
"I am divorced and have three children who are aged 18, 13 and 12. As they are getting older it is becoming a little easier to manage work and home affairs. I also have an excellent support
system that helps me manage things both at home and at work.
"My two older children are in boarding school so that helps a great deal.
"My younger daughter is in senior primary and goes off to boarding school next year."