Housing and rental prices in Tsumeb have dropped significantly in recent months and realtors in the copper-mining town anticipated this decrease in rental and housing prices earlier this year.
Those in the real estate business attributed the expected change in housing and rental prices to short-term projects at the surrounding mines that were slowly coming to an end.
One such project is the construction of the N$3 billion acid plant at the Tsumeb smelter that attracted a lot of employment opportunities to the town thus increasing the demand, which then escalated the pricing of flats and houses.
In recent months, housing and rental prices have soared due to high demand from contract migrant workers that came from as far afield as South Africa and India. Companies sub-contracted by the Tsumeb smelter are renting most of the flats and houses in Tsumeb at exorbitant amounts. This has in turn pushed up rental prices for locals.
A two-bedroom apartment in the townships cost as much as N$4 000 in the past with prices dropping to N$2 700 currently.
Some one-bedroomed apartments in the posh areas of the town were rented out for as much as N$5 000, with some estate agents claiming there are many foreign workers who can afford it and it is a good time for their property business to flourish.
At the moment, apartments in the posh area have dropped to about N$3 000 for a one-bedroomed apartment. Some locals even rented their houses out for as much as N$20 000 per month in areas close to the central business district (CBD) with others priced even higher in the affluent areas of the town, due to the demand by foreign executives that came to work at the copper smelter.
One estate agent, who requested anonymity, said business is not a good as it was a year ago as locals are refusing to pay high amounts and they are forced to drop prices to stay in business. A resident of Tsumeb, Alexia Xamises says she could not afford to rent a flat six months ago but now she can afford a one-bedroomed flat, as rentals have dropped.
“I am able to rent a place of my own now although it has not completely dropped to affordable rates, at least I can have a place of my own,” said Xamises.
The CEO of Tsumeb Municipality, Archie Benjamin, at the beginning of this year revealed the town’s plans for the construction 1 500 houses for the low and middle-income groups and still awaits ministerial approval to kick-start the projects.