TBY talks to Caroline Hoddell Managing Director, Signature Properties on the sector.

Caroline Hoddell

What are the characteristics of the sales and leasing markets in Lusaka?

There are two parallel markets running alongside each other; a dollar rental market for foreigners and a local market characterized by a lack of decent housing, expensive rentals, and badly maintained utilities. Recently we have begun to see an emerging middle-class market and a mushrooming of new houses being constructed to cater for it. The age of first-time property owners has fallen dramatically, from people in their 50s in the early 2000s to those now in their 20s, which is a positive development. The whole lending market has also opened up and is no longer tied up with lending institutions. As a city, Lusaka has an interesting history. Lusaka started off as a small town, with no apparent potential. Money coming in from the Copperbelt used to bypass the city and go straight to Harare. It was not until the 1950s or 60s that there was planning and infrastructure development, meaning the capital grew into a sprawling, unplanned city, from which many difficulties arise such as access to water, power, or roads. All these have had an adverse effect on real estate.