Situated in the cultural heartland of the Mpumalanga Province is the town of Witbank. Initially named after a rocky outcrop of white sandstone that served as a resting place for wagon transport drivers, Witbank is Afrikaans for White Ridge.
Goslett says the most sought-after properties in Witbank are homes priced between R400 000 and R800 000.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says there have been some interesting developments within the property market in Witbank central.
He explains that from 2004 to 2007 the average price of both freestanding homes and sectional title units increased steadily, however, from 2008 the price of a freestanding and a sectional title unit began to act independently from each other.
While the average price of a freestanding home decreased in 2008, the average price of a sectional title unit continued to show improvement. In 2010 the reverse happened and the price of a freestanding home saw a massive increase, while the average price of a sectional title unit decreased.
During 2011 further increases in the price of freestanding homes meant a further decrease in prices of sectional title units. In 2012 the pattern reversed once more and sectional title unit prices started to gain momentum, while a decrease was seen in the prices of freestanding homes.
During the first few months of 2013, both types of properties have seen a remarkable increase in price with the average price of a freestanding home hitting a record high of R860 000.
According to Lightstone figures, between 2004 and the beginning of 2013, the highest number of sectional title unit sales occurred during 2005, with 40 units sold, while during 2007 the highest number of freestanding homes were sold with 82 transactions recorded.
Goslett says neither type of property has seen more than 40 units sold in any one year since 2007 although he notes that freestanding homes have consistently outsold sectional title units in the area in terms of volume. This can be attributed to the fact that there are not many sectional title units available in Witbank, with freestanding homes making up 71.47 percent of the market stock, while sectional title units account for just 28.53 percent.
Goslett says the most sought-after properties in Witbank are homes priced between R400 000 and R800 000. These properties account for more than 60 percent of the homes sold in the area from January 2012 to December 2012.
He notes that 21.6 percent of homes sold during the same period were priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million, while 16.2 percent of properties sold in the same period were priced under R400 000.
During 2012, only 2.7 percent of homes sold in Witbank were priced between R1.5 million and R3 million.
In March 2006 the area was renamed and is now also known as eMalahleni meaning ‘place of coal’, due to the fact that coal was discovered in the region by early travelers.
Established in 1890 after the discovery of the coal deposits, many farmers arrived in Witbank with their wagons in an attempt to cart the coal away. These early attempts were unsuccessful and it was only in 1894 when Paul Kruger’s railway lines were completed, that the coal could be transported from the area.
Witbank was officially declared a town in 1903 and become a municipality in 1914.
Over the years the town has seen remarkable development and has transformed from a small farming community into a large, bustling business community. Interestingly, Witbank is also home to Witbank Dam, the largest municipal dam in the southern hemisphere with a catchment area of more than 3 540 square kilometres.