RE/MAX expands into Lesotho

Broadening its horizons, RE/MAX of Southern Africa recently opened the doors of a new office in the Kingdom of Lesotho, making it the 86th country in the world to join RE/MAX and the eighth country in Southern Africa.  

Brenda Martins, Broker/Owner of the new office, RE/MAX Casa Blanca Realty, which will operate in Maseru and the surrounding suburbs, said that the reason for opening the office was to address the growing demand and opportunity for property investors in the country.

The landlocked country that is completely surrounded by its only neighbour, the Republic of South Africa, covers just over 30 000km2 and has a population of approximately 2 million people. “While a large number of the local people living in Lesotho live below the international poverty line, we have seen a lot of activity with exponential growth recorded in some areas over the past few years.  The driving factors have been the fact that foreign Non-Government Organisations, expats and diplomatic missions have fuelled the economy in these areas. As a result, the demand for property has been on the rise and is currently vastly outstripping supply,” says Martins.  

According to Martins, there are currently many entry level homes available, however, very few mid-level homes, which is what the majority of the buyers in the market are looking for. “Entry level homes in Lesotho are mainly two or three-bedroom houses ranging in price from R70 000 to R350 000. These homes are generally not in a very good condition and have little appeal for the buyers entering the market,” she says, “Good condition mid-level homes ranging between R800 000 to R2.5 million is where the real demand is, however, there are very few of these on the market at the moment. Houses in this range fetch rentals of between R5000 to R18 000 per month, depending on their size, location and whether they are furnished or unfurnished. Top-end homes in the R2.5 million to R8 million brackets are available but very limited. Rentals for these properties range between R20 000 and R55 000 per month.”

Martins says that the current buyers mix in Lesotho are mid to high-level income earners that are predominately buying as part of a buy-to-let portfolio. This is due to the fact that high demand for property has led to a high rate-on-return on their investment. She notes that in contrast to the strict lending criteria experienced by buyers in South Africa, finance is very readily available to buyers in Lesotho. As such, almost all property sales in the country are exclusively bought through bank finance.

The strong demand for property in the country has resulted in development projects engineered by some of the private owned companies as well as the state owned Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation. Some of these developments have truly elevated Lesotho property market to a new level, an example are projects such as Golf View Estate, MASOWE, Happy Villa and Mpilo Estate, to mention a few.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says: “Considering the vast demand for property and the rate of development of property in Lesotho, it was the natural decision to open a RE/MAX office and offer a comprehensive service to property investors in that market. We believe that the RE/MAX brand will add considerable value to the Lesotho real estate market as well as to individual buyers and sellers.”

The new office aims to provide the excellent service that has become synonymous with the RE/MAX brand. “Our goal is to add value to the real estate market in Lesotho and assist property investors through the process of purchasing property in this region. Although we currently operate mainly in Maseru, our plan is to expand and offer our services to clients in other districts of Lesotho as well. The Lesotho market is primed for growth and we aim to be at the forefront of this exciting time,” Martins concludes.

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