Timothy Maponga Business Reporter—

THE People’s Owns Savings Bank has acquired land in the southern parts of Harare where it intends to finance construction of low cost houses, its first such housing project. An official at the bank said POSB acquired a piece of land at Barrington farm in Harare where it intends to fund the construction of 1 600 houses and 600 flats. The bank has already invited bids for consultancy services for civil works.“The bank is in the process of implementing a housing project and requires consultants,” said the POSB.

The official said the bank was also in the process of acquiring land in Bulawayo “to implement a similar project.

“The bank will provide mortgages for these,” said the official.

“In Harare, the project will be implemented in two phases; the first being the construction of 1600 housing units and 600 flats during the second phase,” the official added.

POSB is now providing mortgage loans to individuals intending to buy a complete structure, build or purchase a residential stand.

The initial tenor is 10 years at 12 percent per annum and a customer is required to deposit 20 percent of the purchase price.

The growing demand for housing has seen demand for mortgages rising significantly over the past few years despite fairly high interest rates being charged by lenders.

Zimbabwe has a huge housing backlog. The housing shortage, estimated at 1,25 million units, translates to a national backlog of five million people or 40 percent of total population.

The most available housing finance schemes have little incremental effect on the national housing stock as these are either exclusively packaged for a few targeted groups or are priced beyond the reach of the poor.

Under Zim-Asset, Government intends to reduce housing backlog through the provision of serviced land, strengthen public private partnerships and adoption and adaptation of new building technology.

As such, the Government launched a new housing scheme known as Own Your Own Home Scheme, which seeks to meet targets set under the blueprint. The scheme is expected to provide up to 300 000 serviced residential stands in the next three years.

Meanwhile POSB has mobilised $1 million from the Seventh Day Adventist church to be used as security for mortgage lending to the pastors and members of the church.

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