The Chas Everitt International property group is making its first foray into Africa this month with the opening of an office in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.
The franchise rights to this operation have been awarded to Chandalala Kondolo, who has gained extensive experience in the Zambian market over the past 12 years as the principal of his own agency and as a consultant to international and Zambian organisations in the residential, commercial and agricultural property sectors.
Kondolo, who holds a diploma in financial administration, opened Dez Rez Properties in 1996 and recently decided to convert to the Chas Everitt International brand because of increased investment in the Zambian market.
"There have been significant changes in our market with material increases in investment in the past two years," he says. "My agency needed to adapt to the changes and looked to the South African industry for assistance because of its know-how. I shopped around for possible partners but ultimately chose Chas Everitt because of the group's advanced systems and excellent support, which, I am confident, will enable the agency to grow into the market leader in Zambia," he says.
He adds that Zambia, which has copper mining and processing, construction, agriculture, tourism and beverages as its key industries, is showing GDP growth of 5,8% and that Lusaka has a severe shortage of good quality modern offices.
"Demand is growing for secure office space away from the city centre. The office market is expected to expand as a result of an imminent boom in the local economy. Prime rents are in the range of US$17-19/sqm per month.
"Meanwhile there is also growing demand for suburban retail space. The 6000sqm Crossroads shopping mall lies to the east of Lusaka but there are no modern shopping centres on the southern, northern and western sides of the city yet. Work is due to start soon on Southgate Park, a major retail, office and housing estate with an 18-hole golf course south of the city.
"As far as the industrial market is concerned, there are signs of increased manufacturing output. Most of the country's warehousing stock is old and in poor condition. Owner-occupiers are starting to build for themselves and there is growing demand for space in the order of 1000 to 2500sqm."
In the residential market, he says rentals have risen steadily in the past year with increased demand for all types of property in prime areas. Typically, prime rents are in the range of US$2000 to 3000 a month.
Demand for property to buy, whether plots or stand-alone houses in need of refurbishment, is also high. "Properties in the prime residential areas of Lusaka are selling for US$250 000 upwards, regardless of condition or plot size. Also, developers are now starting to look at providing houses and flats for sale and marketing them off-plan."