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ER suburb's residential feel risked

12 Oct 2007
Conveniently located near the O.R Tambo International Airport, Kempton Park is a fast growing area, converting large tracts of land into modern, lifestyle villages.

Kempton Park is a mere 28 minute drive from Sandton, and thrives off having the N3 and R24 highways on its doorstep.

Of all the Kempton Park suburbs, Rhodesfield is set to become all the more convenient as it has been identified as one of the proposed sites for a station along the Gautrain M-1 Corridor, located east of Aston Street and south of Valencia Street.

Work is already underway and 94 houses along Fitter Road have already been demolished. Furthermore, accommodating traffic (foot and motoring) will result in the widening of Proctor and Kimmerling Roads.

Based on deeds office data, Rhodesfield and Rhodesfield Extension One's average freehold price for the past two years was R746,437 while sectional title was R412,695. Rolling average figure projections show a substantial increase of 29,2% in prices during the past 12 months, as current year-on-year investment in the area produces noteworthy returns.

However, deeds office data shows that demand for freehold has taken on a "hump" trend, whereby the amount of holdings bought and sold over the past year reached a peak at the beginning of the year of just over 12 transactions, and decreasing steadily to a current level of less than eight transactions per month.

Moreover, freehold prices have achieved averages of over R1m and have done so with more frequency since the beginning of the year. According to deeds office data, an average freehold price of R1,082,941 was recorded in February, R1,287,000 in March and R1,012,636 in June 2007.

Neighbouring Cresslawn's average freehold price between April 2003 and March 2005 was R289,314, and R491,641 between April 2005 and March 2007. The 41,1% increase in the area over this four-year stretch is an indicator of the healthy interest and growth in the market.

However, the Gautrain has thrown the proverbial spanner in the works; security has begun patrolling the pathway for the train. Toni Burrows of Seeff Properties confirms the residents' anguish: "Nobody knows what is going to happen." The corridor designated for the train has become a no-go area, and has cast its foreboding reach over the entire suburb.

What is certain is that the commercial and business spill-over from nearby O.R. Tambo International will become more concentrated, as reservations are already in place for commercial development. Ultimately, business creep will continually threaten Rhodesfield's once well-established residential personality.

The first phase of the high-speed train between Pretoria (Tshwane) and Johannesburg and the airport is due to be completed in 45 months, making the completion date June 2010, the same month as the start of the Soccer World Cup. – James Monteiro

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