MASERU — Property agent RE/MAX has opened a new office in Maseru, the eighth in southern Africa.
In a statement, the owner and broker of the new office, Brenda Martins, said RE/MAX Casa Blanca Realty decided to expand operations into Lesotho to address the growing demand and opportunities in the property section in Lesotho.
“While a large number of the local people living in Lesotho live below the international poverty line, we have seen a lot of activity with exponential growth recorded in some areas over the past few years,” Martins said.
“The driving factors have been the fact that foreign non-government organisations, expats and diplomatic missions have fuelled the economy in these areas. As a result, the demand for property has been on the rise and is currently vastly outstripping supply.”
Martins said while there are many entry level homes available on the market, there were very few mid-level homes which the majority of buyers are looking for.
“Entry level homes in Lesotho are mainly two or three-bedroom houses ranging in price from M70 000 to M350 000. These homes are generally not in a very good condition and have little appeal for the buyers entering the market,” Martins said.
“Good condition mid-level homes ranging between M800 000 to M2.5 million is where the real demand is, however, there are very few of these on the market at the moment.”
She added: “Houses in this range fetch rentals of between M5 000 to M18 000 per month, depending on their size, location and whether they are furnished or unfurnished. Top-end homes in the M2.5 million to M8 million brackets are available but very limited. Rentals for these properties range between M20 000 and M55 000 per month.”
Martins said the current buyers in Lesotho are mid- to high-level income earners who are mostly buying as part of a buy-to-let portfolio.
This is due to the fact that high demand for property has led to a high rate-on-return on their investment.
Martins added that unlike in South Africa where accessing finance was very difficult, “finance is very readily available to buyers in Lesotho”.
“As such, almost all property sales in the country are exclusively bought through bank finance,” she said.
The strong demand for property in the country has resulted in development projects engineered by some privately-owned companies as well as the state-owned Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation.
Some of these developments have taken the Lesotho property market to a new level.
She cited projects such as the Golf View Estate, Masowe, Happy Villa and Mpilo Estate.
RE/MAX of Southern Africa chief executive officer, Adrian Goslett, said: “Considering the vast demand for property and the rate of development of property in Lesotho, it was the natural decision to open a RE/MAX office and offer a comprehensive service to property investors in that market.
“We believe that the RE/MAX brand will add considerable value to the Lesotho real estate market as well as to individual buyers and sellers.”