BIUST causes property boom

SHARE   |   Sunday, 07 September 2014   |   By Phillimon Mmeso

Prior to its opening, many property experts predicted that its opening is going to hike rental prices in Serowe and Palapye and it seems it has exceeded their expectations.

Recently, BIUST invited property owners in and around Serowe/Palapye to register their houses with them so that they might put them on their data base.  The aim of putting them in a database was to help their students and staff to easily find accommodation.

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Now with lecture halls about to be crammed with eager students from around the country and beyond the borders, property owners in the central district council top villages are eager to capitalize on BIUST relocations.

The latest list of houses, e-mailed to lecturers has shown that the cheapest house to rent in Serowe is P1500 which is a one bedroomed house.  On the other hand, the highest priced house is a four bedroomed  house with an ensuite, study room,  a Jacuzzi, screen wall with electric fence as well as swimming pool   and is perked at P55 000 per month including security deposit.  The house is based in Serowe.

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This in contrast to a house in Phakalane Golf Estate, a leafy suburb in Gaborone,  with five bedrooms, swimming pool, two lounges, study room which is P30,000 per month.

Another house located at Mmanathoko ward in Serowe is P45 000 per month.

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A lecturer at the university said that though he knew that BIUST will trickier the rental prices in Serowe and Palapye he did not expect the owners to go to such extremes.

“They have to understand that it is not the university that pays for our rentals but us and also consider that students cannot afford such exorbitant rentals,” he said in shock.

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Recently  BIUST attracted the attention of the public after it was revealed that they have rented the house belonging to Botswana’s ambassador to United States of America, Tebelelo Seretse at P31 000 per month to be used by the Vice chancellor Professor Hillary Inyang.

Demand and supply determines the market value of properties and if the property owner feels that the demand is very high yet supply limited he/she can park the rental, said Valuations Director at Maruping Real Estate Modiredi Maruping.

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In their defence, the BIUST leadership reasoned that Professor Inyang needed a house that suited his status and that Seretse’s house is much cheaper than other houses in Palapye.

Palapye and Serowe are not large enough towns to supply rental buildings to meet BIUST’s accelerating student and staff housing demands. 

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Currently Botswana Housing Corporation has 350 houses in Serowe and they have been occupied by the public service employees especially teachers.

In the past, some people complained that BHC houses in Serowe and Palapye were too expensive to buy as they ranged from over P400 000 to over P1million.

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Efforts to get comment from BHC public relations officer Gomolemo Zimona hit a snag as it was said that he was out of office for the whole week.

The Patriot on Sunday wanted to know from BHC how much is rental prices for their houses in Serowe and Palapye.

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Another question sought to know if BHC will build more houses in Serowe and Palapye looking at the high demand of accommodation in the area due to the relocation of BIUST.

One of the property owners whose house is priced at P45 000 a month, was livid when asked how she arrived at that amount.

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“This is my house and I can charge any amount I want and who are you to question me!” before she dropped the phone. 

Botswana’s second university needs to be a community on its own with a variety of facilities and housing on a new purpose-built campus.

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The university can only accommodate 270 students on campus and 70 staff houses.  It is expected to have its second intake of students in October this year and most of them will be based in Serowe at the old Sekgoma Memorial hospital.

The population of the university is expected to increase to over 6000 students once Phase 2 of the project is completed and is expected to increase the demand of housing in the two villages.



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