LISTED property management and development firm, First Mutual Properties, targets to invest in new projects in the properties sector leveraging on the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trust (REITS) legislation.
In its 2020 annual report, First Mutual Properties said REITS unlocks an opportunity to access wider funding options for companies to undertake new developmental projects as well as enhancing transparency in the properties market.
“The introduction of REITS legislation presents an opportunity to access wider funding options to undertake new developments and enhancing transparency in the property market, while also creating further diversification opportunities.
“These are emerging opportunities that the group seeks to explore,”
said the company.
The firm remains focused on further strengthening its competitive advantage by differentiating its existing products and enhancing tenant experience.
The group hopes to continue to place emphasis on repositioning its property assets through planned maintenance and refurbishments, while the addition of new products through developments remains the key driver to optimising the property portfolio mix and ensuring regular and predictable distribution of earnings.
“Capital preservation with growth into selected sectors will remain top priority to ensure long term sustainable earnings and distribution to shareholder,”
said First Mutual Properties.
During the period under review, the company prioritised the safety of tenants, with ZWL$32,99 million spent, targeting the maintenance and upgrading of space for new and existing tenants. “This investment ensured that our properties remain safe for occupation. The group remains alive to the economic conditions facing its business partners including tenants.
“Against this, the group suspended rental reviews in the second quarter of the year to allow its partners to absorb and manage the pressures caused by economic volatility and Covid-19 induced shocks in the first half of the year.
“Rentals were, however, reviewed in the second half of the year to protect the business and enable the group to continue offering a quality product to its tenants,”
said First Mutual Properties.
On property valuations, the company said an independent property valuation conducted by Knight Frank Zimbabwe as at December 31, 2020 valued the property portfolio at ZWL$9,40 billion, being a 50 percent gain on the prior year on inflation adjusted terms and 575 percent in historical terms on a market value basis.
The gain was driven by fair value gains realised across the sectors with the highest gains realised in the land bank, retail sector and industrial sectors.
“The gains realised on the land bank are driven by re-zoning of a land bank from residential to commercial, while value appreciation in the industrial and retail sectors are due to improved rental potential and demand,”
it said. — @okazunga.