The new Northern Cape University located in Kimberley is expected to register its first students in 2014 and the city is scrambling to provide housing for the inflow of new residents.
Van der Walt says varsity residences are being planned but are unlikely to provide enough room to accommodate the students. The rental market is already under severe strain with prospective tenants taking up whatever is available, irrespective of their preferred price bracket, he says.
Kobus van der Walt, local developer and co-owner of the Aida estate agency in the city, foresees great demand and shortages in the rental market when the campus opens.
He says varsity residences are being planned but are unlikely to provide enough room to accommodate the students. The rental market is already under severe strain with prospective tenants taking up whatever is available, irrespective of their preferred price bracket, he says.
"This strong demand has seen rentals escalate and landlords are consequently earning much better returns than in other nearby centres such as Bloemfontein. Investors have been quick to spot this and are active in the market.”
However, Van der Walt says new development is urgently needed and they hope that development land will be made available in good time to prepare for the expected influx of students looking for accommodation.
He says development land is currently in short supply, with private developers last in the queue. Furthermore, electricity supply in the city is taking strain and the power infrastructure needs urgent attention, he says.
“It is to be hoped that all interested parties in the city will work together assiduously to tackle this issue in the short time remaining and that existing capacity and expertise will be employed by the council."
An indication of the dire need for new units is the fact that a small 22 unit development in Cassandra that Van der Walt recently brought to market was sold out in record time, with the final eight units selling off-plan. The units sold at prices between R695 000 and R850 000.
Similarly, a planned development of 44 homes in Rhodesdene drew more than 100 enquiries as soon as the advertising boards went up, says Van der Walt. The sectional title project is expected to be completed in the next 18 months and will offer two bedroom units at prices from R850 000 and three bedroom units from just more than R1 million.
The residential market is currently also lively, he says. "As the capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley houses many provincial departments and they are seeing an influx of buyers drawn from surrounding areas as they find employment in the city."
Two bedroom townhouses are currently selling at prices from R735 000 to R850 000, while townhouses with three bedrooms sell at around R950 000 to R1.1 million.
Average family homes are priced at R1.1 million to R1.5 million while luxury homes in Carrington Road - home to professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers and judges - and Royaldene are selling at prices of up to R3.5 million.