Richard Matengambiri Shares Rawson Properties’ Journey Through Zimbabwe’s Real Estate Sector

Embark on a journey through Zimbabwe’s real estate evolution with Richard Matengambiri, a seasoned professional boasting over 20 years of experience. From the inception of RM Africa Property Consultants to the strategic acquisition of Rawson Properties, witness the growth into a multifaceted player in property sales, valuation, and pioneering land development through Ten Axis Property Development.

Interview with Richard Matengambiri, Managing Director at Rawson Properties

Richard Matengambiri, Managing Director at Rawson Properties

Could you provide some insights into the background of Rawson Properties, including how it originated?

I bring over 20 years of experience in the property market, having entered the field after completing my first degree. In 2007, I founded my own entity, RM Africa Property Consultants, focusing on property sales, valuation, and management. The vision behind the company, as implied by its name, was to establish a presence in Africa. Additionally, I aspired to engage in international business. In 2010, I strategically partnered with an international company by acquiring the Rawson Properties franchise based in South Africa. This franchise purchase was made through my company, RM Africa. Rawson Properties officially entered Zimbabwe in 2010, and to date, we continue to operate under the Rawson Properties franchise arrangement.

So, your focus lies in land valuation and the marketing of houses, is that correct?

Over the years, we have been committed to ensuring the growth of our business. As a result, we have expanded into property development, currently concentrating on land development with future plans to venture into building and selling houses or developing clusters. Presently, our portfolio includes property development, in addition to sales and marketing, as well as property valuation. An interesting aspect is that our property development activities are carried out through our sister company, Ten Axis Property Development. This sister company handles the development, and the output feeds into another sister company, Rawson Properties, which specializes in marketing and selling properties.

Have you initiated any land development, or is your focus solely on marketing properties from other real estate developers?

We have already commenced property development, specifically in land development. This is carried out through our sister company, Ten Axis Property Development, as I mentioned earlier. When I refer to land development, it involves identifying a vacant piece of land, subdividing it, and then installing essential infrastructure such as water, sewer, roads, and storm drains. The intention is to sell the developed areas as vacant plots or spaces. This is the current focus on the ground. As for building houses, we have not embarked on that aspect yet.

Could you elaborate more on your services?

In terms of our services, we primarily engage in property sales and marketing. This involves acting as agents, identifying individuals looking to sell their properties, and marketing those properties on their behalf. Our goal is to find willing and able buyers, facilitate negotiations between the parties, and earn a commission when the sale is successful. That is the essence of our property agent services, centered around the marketing and selling of properties.

The second category of service we offer is property valuation. We assist individuals in determining the market values of their properties, especially when they require a market value certificate for purposes like securing a mortgage loan from a bank. We provide professional advice on market values and, in some cases, offer gross replacement values for properties that need insurance. Additionally, for businesses preparing year-end financials, we provide market values for their properties to be incorporated into their financial statements.

Lastly, our third major service is property development. Currently, our focus is on land development, and we carry out these activities through our sister company, Ten Axis Property Development. So, in summary, these are the three main services we offer.

Since you operate within the commercial real estate industry, could you share your opinion on the real estate market in Zimbabwe?

The real estate market in Zimbabwe has experienced a period of stagnation, I would say, for the past 10 to 15 years, although not quite 20 years. However, there is a noticeable resurgence happening now. We are witnessing an improvement in the supply of available properties and various ongoing projects. Notably, there is a significant uptick in cluster development, particularly in the medium to low-density suburbs of Harare. This trend is quite prominent.

On the residential front, the market is still in the process of recovery. Mortgage finance remains a challenge, with a lack of readily available mortgage facilities. As a result, a majority of residential transactions are cash sales, where individuals have to secure their own cash for upfront payments. While there are occasional instances of mortgage facilities, the predominant mode of transaction in the residential market is essentially cash-based.

Are there any ongoing projects that Rawson Properties and Ten Axis Property Development are currently involved in?

We are currently managing two projects related to land development. The first one is a medium-density project named Erasmus Park, situated in the eastern part of Harare. This development involves the establishment of a sewer reticulation system, water services, and road infrastructure, including storm drains. Erasmus Park is a mixed-use project featuring residential, commercial, and industrial components, including institutions such as schools and churches. We are nearing completion, with about 98% of the services already provided. Our focus in Phase One is on servicing the project with roads, water, sewer, and electricity, and individuals have already commenced building houses.

The second ongoing project is a low-density development called Luna Estate on the western side of Harare. We specifically selected Luna Estate due to its proximity to the New City being constructed in Mount Upton, northwest of Harare. This project comprises approximately 960 low-density units. Similar to Erasmus Park, we are constructing roads, water reticulation systems, storm drains, and electricity infrastructure for Luna Estate.

Could you share your vision for the future regarding Rawson Properties and Ten Axis Property Development’s projects and expansion plans?

One significant development I would like to highlight is that I am in the process of establishing a Property Group company. In this structure, Rawson will function as a subsidiary, alongside Ten Axis Property Development. Additionally, I plan to incorporate a renewable energy company to be part of this group. The renewable energy company is still in the establishment phase. The ultimate addition would be a real estate financial services arm, where we aim to provide mortgage facilities. Essentially, the group will consist of Rawson Properties, focusing on property sales and marketing, as well as valuation, Ten Axis Property Development concentrating on property development, the renewable energy company generating renewable energy for our real estate, and the mortgage finance company offering real estate finance to our projects.

The grand vision is to list this comprehensive group on the stock exchange by 2030. In terms of projects in the next three years, we have identified a significant undertaking in Harare South, involving about 6200 units of high-density nature. It is a mixed-use development in partnership with the landowner, with the vision of transforming it into a smart city in the high-density area of Harare. This flagship project is our focus for the next three years, aiming to develop this land into a smart city.


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