Real estate experts have attributed the mushrooming of countless shopping malls up and down the length and breadth of Botswana to growing demand. In spite of existent malls housing the same retailers and selling virtually the same goods, this has not deterred property investors from expanding their property portfolios by building more and more.
As incredulous as it may sound, real estate experts maintain that this trend is due to demand, as the market has yet to reach full capacity.
Real Estate Institute of Botswana President, Modiredi Maruping said;
“Ordinarily, an increase in any product runs down the price, and that is if the market is satisfied. But if the market is still not satisfied, the process will remain high, so yes there are many malls coming up and the rent at these malls is not necessarily low. I also think it is because the market has not yet been saturated.”
Maruping said this is evidenced by the sheer volume of people that continue to flood the various malls both in Gaborone and nationwide. He cited Palapye as one example, where three such mega malls are being constructed, with more expected as the town continues to grow.
“There is still money to be made through malls. In Palapye, there are three malls coming up and it seems like the market is really waiting for such a thing. Going forward, these malls will provide for the wider population of the Central district.”
There have been concerns about the sprouting of malls, but as long as investors see the need to invest in them, the market will allow it, especially when there is still capacity to expand. Game city shopping complex recently expanded, while there are plans to give Airport Junction mall a facelift too. The idea is to attract more people to malls by providing a one-stop shopping experience through access to various retailers that were previously absent from these malls.
“The negative impact on the prices has not been felt by the investors who are putting money in these malls,” Maruping said.
Maruping believes that although many of these malls have the same offer in terms of retailers, this is mainly done with the consumer’s best interests at heart as well as their convenience.
“By these shops opening in as many places as possible, it gives Batswana convenience, as they used to have to cross borders for these shops.”
Maruping further said Batswana have not come to the party by setting up credible shops to give their foreign counterparts a run for their money. Having said that, it’s not been confirmed how much the property market contributes to Botswana’s economy. Maruping said it’s high time the value of the property sector was determined.
“No statistician knows, no economist knows how much this industry contributes to the economy. We are not looking to find out how much impact the industry has on the GDP. We know we are making a huge impact, but just how much we don’t know,” he said.
Maruping said as real estate experts, they have the resources but need someone to come in and assist in that regard. He said he believes real estate can rejuvenate the economy and drive Botswana forward.
Reference: Echo newspaper