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Govt to address ballooning housing backlog

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BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

GOVERNMENT is working towards developing cluster housing units for low, middle and high-income earners to address the country’s ballooning housing backlog, NewsDay Buisness has learnt.

This comes amid reports that the national housing backlog has clocked 1,5 million with the rising cost of living caused by the depreciating Zimbabwe dollar making it difficult for the majority to buy houses.

Cluster housing units have been identified as an alternative for delivering affordable housing.

“We are looking at cluster housing as one model but we are also looking at densification. For every land set aside for housing 40% must be for the construction of flats in order to reduce the backlog from where it is to meaningful levels,” National Housing and Social Amenities minister Daniel Garwe told NewsDay Business.

“Government has now adopted the use of new technologies in housing delivery where we’re reducing the cost by about 35% and delivery time by about 50%. So, it is very realistic and achievable to have that backlog cleared within a very foreseeable period in light with the National Development Strategy.”

“The second model is gated communities. But, within those developments, we are saying 40% of the developed land must be set aside for the construction of high-rise buildings and flats and we are starting with four and six floors. These are ongoing projects that have already started,” the minister added.

Property expert, Washington Musiiwa confirmed that real estate agents and local investment firms were investing in cluster homes since they were considered to be cheaper.

“The trend is visible and everywhere for us to see and it has been ongoing for some time. It is only now that it has been a bit accelerated,” Musiiwa said.

“If you look at the old suburbs in Harare where pensioners are staying like Waterfalls, Hatfield and Greendale, you see they are staying in very big yards. But, at this stage because they are pensioners, those areas are so inactive because they cannot maintain those yards.

“So, people are realising you may not need a very big yard that is more expensive for you. You would rather do clusters on 500 square metres.”

Follow Tatira on Twitter @tati_tatira

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