The Hogerty Hill Residents Association is pioneering a groundbreaking initiative to address the housing needs of Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.
Spearheaded by Sabastian Mubvumbi, the technical head for the association who has 25 years experience in the civil engineering and property development space, the scheme aims to make property ownership in Zimbabwe more accessible to those at home and abroad.
The Hogerty Hill Residents Association’s innovative approach centers on creating a sense of community and shared responsibility, Mubvumbi said.
Under this scheme, no single entity owns it outright; rather, participants become integral members of a collective effort. The scarcity of available land and the soaring costs of fully serviced stands in Zimbabwe have long been barriers for many prospective homeowners.
Mubvumbi elaborated on the housing scheme, stating, “for one to have a stand in Zimbabwe one must have “a minimum of US$40,000 or even up to US$100,000 cash for a 1000 square meters stand in the Borrowdale area.”
“Recognizing that many diaspora members typically earn between US$15,000 and US$60,000 per annum, the association saw the need for a more attainable housing solution.”
Mubvumbi added, “What we want for prospective land owners, especially those in the diaspora, is the opportunity to own property here because when they come for holidays, they often stay with relatives, which can lead to unnecessary friction and gossip.”
The initiative, supported by Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, has come together to make homeownership a reality.
The scheme is structured as a crowd funding effort to acquire land and facilitate development. The pilot project in Hogerty Hill has gained significant traction, with the first phase fully subscribed, boasting approximately 170 beneficiaries making monthly contributions towards land acquisition and development.
The second phase is also on the cusp of reaching the halfway mark in subscriptions.
Mubvumbi also revealed that Hogerty Hill phase one and phase two are schemes that fall under Dumba Housing Scheme.
He said the mechanics of the scheme “might seem like too good to be true initiative but as the head of this initiative I put my head on the block and vow that nothing, save for an earthquake will stop this development from becoming a success.”
“Indeed it is not a straw in the park, taking into consideration that people were cheated before and lost thousands to unscrupulous people but I want to assure you that everything is above board. Fortunately, more and more people are understanding the process of the scheme and all questions that are being thrown at us we are addressing them. We actually welcome questions. Any member of the scheme or prospective member is free is to cross check us or with any relevant authorities.”
He added: “The concept of this initiative was conceived in June and has received an overwhelmingly positive response, with interest from individuals worldwide, calling for expansion beyond Harare.”
The project allows people to make manageable, interest-free payments over an extended period. In phase one, participants made payments over 24 months to the seller, while in phase two, the payment period extended to 30 months.
To ensure the transparency and security of contributors’ funds, the association established the Dumba Housing Trust, which will have satellite offices in the UK, America, Australia, South Africa and other countries where Zimbabweans are trading their labour.
“This trust will not only cover Harare but also other towns and cities. Contributors will deposit their funds in the country of their residence, with management responsibilities vested in elected members in the respective countries,” the association added.
Mubvumbi emphasized, “We want people to have control of their contributions and ensure their hard-earned money is safeguarded against any potential scams or irregularities, as we’ve seen with bogus land barons in the past.” “The funds will only be disbursed for the purchase of identified land, depending on a member’s monthly contribution.”
The innovative approach offers participants the flexibility to choose their desired housing options, categorizing them into low-income, middle-income, or high-income groups.
This choice enables them to select high-density, middle-density, or low-density suburbs or become part of a cluster development.
Hogerty Hill Residents Association’s vision and commitment to addressing the housing needs of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are already taking tangible shape in Hogerty Hill, with plans to expand to other regions.
The Estate’s director concluded, “This initiative is about making homeownership more achievable and secure for those living abroad and at home.”
The Hogerty Hill Residents Association hopes to continue driving change for accountability in the Zimbabwean real estate market while heralding a new era of affordable and community-driven homeownership.