Crystal Park's affordable homes

24 Aug 2012

The newly-developing Crystal Park initiative in Benoni aims to create wealth through home ownership.

Thabo Mashiane, a fireman, has taken a significant step towards this by becoming the first person to acquire a property in Crystal Park.

Mashianeis among the growing group emerging across South Africa who require access to affordable housing. He believed the development "perfectly suited his working requirements."

Research reflects that government housing currently focuses on households earning below R3 500 a month, while private sector developments cater to the country's top 10% earners receiving more than R20 000 a month.

The affordable housing segment considers households earning between those figures, essentially earning too much to secure government housing and too little to secure mortgage financing via traditional ways. Many buyers in this segment were first-time purchasers.

Acutts Motlekar, which is a joint venture between the Acutts Property Group and African investment holding company Motlekar Holdings, in conjunction with construction company Group Five as the building contractor and development manager, aim to bring 18 000 housing units to the market each year.

This conventionally translates into a R5 billion boost to the local economy with spin-offs and job creation expected in land surveying, architecture, building and construction, material delivery and administration.

The initial project, Crystal Park, was launched in Benoni in May with further projects on the way. The next phase would be in Midrand followed by Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, near Delft in the Western Cape and East London.

Each suburb will range between 600 and 2 500 houses to affect the delivery of quality houses to communities.

The consequential spin-off will involve the development of schools, shopping centres, health facilities and transport initiatives which Acutts chairman, Pat Acutt, confirmed formed part of the pre-planning phases in terms of getting the development areas approved.

Acutt said the on-site sales team had finalised the first sales in mid-June and, given phase one had been completed - there was no obstruction to increasing daily sales to the targeted 100. This figure allows for fewer finalised sales due to the present percentage mortgage finance declines.

First transfers will take place during August after which Group Five will build further units in the suburb on specifications.

"Construction is based on the number of units sold with the initial transfers affected within six weeks and thereafter within four months to accommodate the construction process. This is delivery on large-scale affordable housing," said Acutt.

The developers could achieve these volumes by maximising economies of scale in constructing the modern homes. Bulk infrastructure has been completed and the developments would not be sold off-plan, but as completed products.

Acutts Motlekar has also fast-tracked the bond approval system by using electronic submissions, once the standard documentation - identity documents, salary or pay slips, marriage certificates and credit checks - have been completed.

Acutt said this would enable their mortgage division to handle virtually any volume of bond applications daily.

"Buyers can see what they are purchasing within the limitations of their bond qualifications," he said.

The homes range between 45sqm for a one-bedroom unit and 90sqm for a four-bedroom one, with each having the ability to expand in line with the family demands and financial position. 

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