The Creation Of Real Estate Opportunities Due To Covid
According to the CEO of Stanbic Bank, Leina Gabaraane, to build a stronger economy post the COVID-19 pandemic, ZAMBIA embraces significant shifts created in the virus’s local economic landscape.
According to Jimmy Khan, the CEO of Lafarge ZAMBIA, There has been quite a notable shift in ZAMBIA’s domestic construction industry due to the acute increase in small projects all over the country.
Gabaraane stated during the recent webinar of Stanbic Anakazi Online Conversations that new commercial sectors have sprouted as a result of the COVI-19 pandemic while others have been stifled as well.
He told Langmead Media that a drastic change in the economic landscape should be an absolute reality as we advance. However, the question remains, how can the country accordingly adapt and benefit from this pandemic to restructure the economy and pave the way for new growth sectors?
According to Gabaraane, the real estate industry has also been heavily impacted by the pandemic, among others.
Gabaraane stated that there remains a lot of room for growth despite the reduced demand for commercial floor space and the industry hanging in the balance.
Gabaraane stated that fewer people have been entering the premises physically because of social distancing, and many people opting to work from home. The trend is likely to continue even after the situation has normalized, as several businesses have realized and are effectively utilizing the digital sphere to make remote working a success. As industries settle along with this new business routine, many organizations ask themselves if they even need all the commercial space they used to require before the pandemic. This can be an alarming situation since there is a large amount of capital invested in Zambia’s real estate industry.
Gabaraane also said that this fall in demand for commercial office spaces could pave the way for a rise in the residential market as people would require homes with adequate space for a home-based office.
According to Gabaraane, the most important question was whether the people are willing to benefit from this rising opportunity and converting office spaces to residential properties with built-in office areas or start building residential properties that have their workspaces?
He added that financial institutions now have the responsibility to support this growth by ensuring that the influx of capital is channeled adequately where needed most.
Jimmy Khan also noted that the local construction industry had also experienced a shift with an acute rise of small real estate projects. In contrast, the larger infrastructure projects have come to a halt across the country.
Jimmy Khan stated that many people staying home had realized a surplus in their resources, which would have been otherwise spent on social gatherings and events. According to him, these are the funds being channeled towards local real estate projects too. As a result of having more time and resources, people have resorted to building their own houses or expanding their properties. It can be termed as inflation hedging or a solid investment depending on the perspective.
However, stakeholders must find ways to stimulate this new forming norm to keep the real estate industry-relevant.
Jimmy Khan is now working towards creating a new product specifically suited for local construction with increased efficiency and lowered costs to ride this market shift.