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    Friday, 22 July 2016

    25 to 30% office space in Masvingo vacant as cash crunch bites


    – Many buildings in the Central Business District of Masvingo are empty as tenants are moving out after failing to pay rentals.
    The situation is so bad that some landlords have been forced to reduce rentals from $18/m2 to $5/m2.
    Some of the prominent buildings in the city that has had unoccupied offices for many months are Zimbabwe Court, Beverly Court, New Market Centre and Amico.
    Some people put the number of vacant offices in the city at between 25 and 30 percent compared to the peak occupancy of 95 percent.
    A property expert and managing director of Great Zimbabwe Realtors, Edmore Chigonga said the situation was bad but placed vacant offices at 20 percent.
    Tenants including large corporate have been switching offices as the economic times bite.
    "The property market has not been spared either, due to the economic problems that the country is going through and the office occupancy ratio has gone down significantly in Masvingo.
    "The situation in smaller towns is not as bad as it is in bigger cities like Harare and Bulawayo where the vacancy percentage is as high as over 40%," said Chigonga.
    A snap survey by The Mirror revealed that there has been a lot of movement by tenants for example those who own properties in the industries and have been renting in the CBD have since moved back to their premises.
    A prominent Indian family who used to run a butchery in the CBD has closed and are now operating from their premises in the industrial areas.
    One of the tenants at the former Tsungai supermarket which has since been turned into a flea market confirmed to The Mirror that things are difficult and tenants are moving in and out every month at an alarming rate.
    "Since I started leasing a shop at the premises I have lost count of the number of tenants who have left and joined the place, the rentals are too high but we are just persevering," said the lady who could not be named for fear of reprisals.
    One of the most popular wholesales, Amico has also since closed some of its shops due to the harsh operating environment and one of them has since been taken over by N. Richards Group in the down town area.
    Big organisations have also joined the exodus by relocating to more affordable premises like First Mutual which has since relocated from its traditional site at Beverly Court to less fashionable offices at Masvingo Post Office Building.
    When contacted for a comment Tsungai Properties manager, Thembani Makiwa said they have since resorted to leasing to individual unlike before when they would give a lease to one person who would in turn look for other tenants.
    "Yes tenants come and go but they are coping, due to high rate of defaulting we have changed the lease arrangements at our premises and each individual however, small will have a lease agreement to reduce on defaulting and it is proving to be working well," said Makiwa.
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