Lesotho in property boom

MASERU — Lesotho’s property market is booming with new projects sprouting around the capital Maseru.

Property developers who spoke to the Lesotho Times this week said the residential property market was slowly picking up.

Lesotho Steel Products managing director, Andre Bothma, said there was a high demand for residential property in Maseru.

“There is a high domestic demand for high quality housing.

“However the focus currently is in the upper consumer segment,” Bothma said.

He said his company was currently building larger residential properties that targeted the higher end market.

Property prices for the higher end segment can range from M1 million upwards.

Bothma said they build houses in response to market demands.

“We sell plans to clients first and agree on the type of property to develop. This is a new concept for Lesotho,” Bothma said.

He said there was a special preference in Lesotho for cluster houses where a number of housing units are built within a single premise.

He said these cluster houses were popular because they offered security to tenants.

Bothma said securing land was still a big challenge for local businesses and was impacting negatively on the development of properties.

“If we can get land more easily then we can our improve operations.

“If the land is available then anything is possible,” Bothma said.

He said the recently enacted Land Act could make it easier to source land for investors in the property sector.

Theese Phooko, the managing director of a local property firm Thescons, said there was a high potential for growth within the medium and lower segments of the property market.

“The demand for upper class units will soon be saturated.

“However there is a high growth potential in the medium to lower segments of the market,” Phooko said.

Phooko said the higher end market segment comprised housing units with prices ranging from M500 000 per unit while the middle segment comprised houses ranging between M100 000 and M500 000.

He also bemoaned the lack of suitable land to allow for expansion within the property sector.

“The major challenge is that there is a lot of land that is tied up. The issue of land ownership is still a major issue,” Phooko said.

He said his company was currently looking at targeting the medium and higher earning segments.

Phooko said it can take up to a year to secure a land lease.

Lenka Mphafi, who is a project manager at Matekane Group of Companies, said his company had also diversified into the property market.

He said the company was currently building a seven-story property totalling 9 000 square metres to provide office and retail space.

“Property managers around the country have long waiting lists of private people who are seeking decent office space.

“This indicates there is high demand for office space,” Mphafi said.

He also said the MGC was looking at venturing into the residential property market as people were seeking good quality housing.

“Property has a high potential as Lesotho is still developing,” Mphafi said.

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