This past decade, the Zambian property market has experienced significant growth and continues to do so today. We see this growth by the number of new buildings erected throughout the cities. It could be assumed that development is trickling down to most demographics, but that is not the case. Having approximately 74 percent of its 14 million total population under the age of 30 (28 percent are 15 to 29 years-old), the youth, however, have it the hardest when it comes to accessing accommodation/housing. The current housing market consists of mostly 3 to 5 bedroom housing units where rentals are high, which excludes the youth; as they can only afford accommodation in the range of K1,500 to K4,000. In this rental range, their option becomes living in old properties in run-down neighbourhoods, old servants quarters that are ill maintained or old government flats that have colonial systems where people from the 2nd floor going up can’t get water (in 2017). If not, they settle for Chalala or Salama Park which are both far from the CBD.
This forces this younger generation to continue to live with their parents or guardians. Youth dependency is currently at 89.7% and the chances of finding good standard accommodation for reasonable rentals is far reaching. Lusaka in its infrastructural wake needs property investors to develop gated communities with standard 1 and 2 bedroom apartment for the university graduate; the university student who can afford to live off campus and the young professional looking to save money. This, in turn, helps to accommodate people of this demographic, especially those looking to live in areas easily accessible to both private and public transportation.
This investment would be long term and practically guaranteed to have 100% occupancy. It economically improves the standard of living, as youths would move out of their parent’s homes at a sooner than later time. This ultimately reduces dependency and encourages improved sanitation, as gated communities don’t encourage digging of trash holes and garbage dumping.
For people in the diaspora looking to invest in property back home, this segment of the real estate market is extremely attractive as demand is high and will continue to rise with the growing population, supply is in chronic shortage and capital costs are moderate as you would be building low to medium costs structures; further boosting your returns.
(Written by Rachel Ndhlovu, Modern Refinement Limited)