OLD Mutual’s banking unit, CABS, has sold nearly 2 000 housing units under its Budiriro project in the last three years, statistics reveal. The low-cost Budiriro housing project started in 2014 but hit turbulence in the initial stages due to relatively stringent requirements.
The latest statistics availed to The Herald Business show that 49 housing units were bought on a cash basis while 1 093 units were purchased on mortgage.
Rent to buy sales accounted for 801 housing units.
Said Old Mutual: “Total units sold of the Old Mutual Budiriro Scheme (are) 1 142, representing 40 percent of units, with an additional 801, representing 28,1 percent rent-to-buy units, sold.
“Total units currently available (are) 904, representing 31,8 percent.”
The cost of the Budiriro housing project is valued upwards of $15 million.
In August last year, Old Mutual managing director Marjorie Mayida and chief investment officer was quoted in the media as saying: “People are finding it difficult to pay because of various challenges.”
“Despite attempts to relax payment terms by CABS management, including introduction of a rent to buy option, the uptake remains low.
“We have even scrapped the deposit to allow customers who have a proven track record of steady income to let the houses for a year and the payments go towards the deposits.”
The Budiriro housing project has two and four-roomed houses measuring between 240 square metres and 300 square metres.
The units are going for between $25 300 and $31 300, depending on size.
Initially, the houses were meant for low-income earners, but the group significantly relaxed the terms at the end of 2015 to stimulate demand.
Some of the measures adopted to “fire-sell” the houses included slashing the deposit requirement to 10 percent on application, and allowing any person to purchase the houses as long as they were on the City of Harare housing waiting list.
Initially, only first time homeowners were eligible to buy the houses.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and corporates are also eligible to partake in the scheme upon meeting CABS’ mortgage criteria.
Consumer confidence in the project plunged early on after media reports suggested there was poor workmanship which resulted in some of the houses cracking.
Meanwhile, Old Mutual says its Bulawayo housing project is progressing well.
The company has started selling the Pumula (Phase 1) stands, with 360 units understood to have been bought as at March 22, 2017.
Pumula Phase 1 has 386 stands, which implies that 93 percent of the stands have been purchased.
Stands ranging from 200 and 400 square metres are being sold at $30 per square metre while those measuring between 401 and 800 square metres are being snapped up at $25 per square metre.
Stands measuring 801 to 1 400 square metres are sold at $20 per square metre.
Old Mutual is targeting to start selling the Nkulumane stands upon completion of Pumula.
Indicatively, the Nkulumane stands would be sold either in June or July.
Overall, the Bulawayo project has 1 082 housing stands.