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High demand for rental property in Bloemfontein

25 Jul 2017

There is no doubt that the country’s economy is not well, and many people are on short time or have been retrenched, and there is no sign that this is going to change anytime soon.

This four bedroom, two bathroom home in Langenhovenpark, Bloemfontein, has a balcony and covered patio. It is available to rent for R14 000 per month - click here to view.

“In Bloemfontein at least, while we are suffering the same kind of problems, the residential letting market seems to be holding up well in this economic onslaught. 2016 was a year when the number of vacant residential units was on the rise after five years of excellent letting opportunities for landlords and year-on-year rental increases in the region of 10% per annum,” says Mike Spencer, principal of Platinum Global, a Bloemfontein-based letting agency.

“That year was not a good one for landlords, with a market in which it was difficult to keep units full. Areas that pandered to student accommodation were the hardest hit, possibly as a result of student protests, but overall the residential letting market was soft.”

Spencer says that all changed at the beginning of 2017, with a massive influx of students at the beginning of the year taking up any surplus that was available, and the market has continued to be in short supply ever since.

He says their portfolio has over 1 500 letting units of which currently only 32 properties are immediately available (2.13%). Of the vacant units, Spencer says the vast majority are at the lower end of the market - bachelors and rooms - and almost all of these are in the middle city or Willows, which lies close to the Central University of Technology. Only one house is immediately available and four townhouses.

This two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Arboretum, Bloemfontein, has an open-plan lounge and dining area. It is available to rent for R6 000 per month - click here to view.

“Demand in the residential letting market, especially for quality homes, is still very strong and we would have difficulty finding upmarket homes for new tenants,” says Spencer.

“It is obvious that there is a need for the development of new rental properties of all types, but not only is it very difficult to find suitable sites, but current government legislation does nothing to encourage the building of rental properties at a time when new building is essential.”

While it may not be indicative of every area in the country, Spencer says the increase in population generally indicates the need to increase the pool of rental properties. 

He says this needs to be encouraged by relaxation of onerous impositions by a complicated and red-taped government bureaucracy. Simply making it easier for a landlord to enforce his rights would be a start in the right direction, for example, a landlord should be allowed to withdraw electricity sales from a tenant who fails to pay his service fee and it should be quicker to be able to have a tenant evicted.

“Overall, the residential letting market is one that if freed from red tape, could offer considerable opportunities to create new job opportunities in the development of large-scale residential letting units,” says Spencer.

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