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Home buyers find value in West Rand

26 Mar 2013

The fact that house prices on the West Rand are “realistic” is one of the reasons behind an influx of home buyers who are willing to add extended travelling times to their daily commute in exchange for good brick-and-mortar value for money.

On the West Rand, buyers aren't limited to townhouse living owing to budget constraints as there are freestanding houses in the same price range, albeit in the older suburbs.

This is according to Louis Barbosa, principal of Harcourts Rhino in Roodepoort on the West Rand and 25 year veteran of the West Rand property sector. Calling the West Rand “the undiscovered jewel in the Gauteng crown”, Barbosa says people venturing out west for the first time are invariably impressed at the area’s facilities, scenic countryside setting and the competitive pricing of its housing stock. This, along with its proximity to highways which shorten the distance to the Johannesburg city centre, is behind a number of buyers’ decisions to stop searching in closer, though more expensive, locales, says Barbosa.

Extending from Randfontein in the west to Roodepoort in the east and encompassing Krugersdorp, the West Rand is 4 087 square kilometers of residential suburbs, commercial and industrial activity, agricultural holdings, mines and new development.

Bordered by the Magaliesburg Mountains to the west, it’s home to the world-renowned Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and the Cradle of Humankind as well as a host of hospitals, schools, golf courses, malls and shops and entertainment centres, says Barbosa.

Upbeat after a vibrant first quarter, Barbosa says his office is enjoying healthy activity throughout the area, with demand for price ranges and not so much for suburbs. He says buying interest is up to the mid-R1 millions, although sales are taking place across all price ranges which he attributes to the correct price counseling of the sellers. To this end, he says properly priced properties are selling within 21 to 30 days of being listed.

Properly priced properties are selling within 21 to 30 days of being listed, with buying interest up to the mid-R1 millions although sales are taking place across all price ranges.

Commenting on current market trends on the West Rand, Barbosa says buying decisions tend to hinge around three factors: access to transport to and from work, proximity to schools and affordability. Therefore, the popular suburbs are those in which these aspirations can be met. "Some folks buy freestanding homes in the older suburbs while others prefer town houses and a simpler, more modern lifestyle," he says. On the West Rand, buyers aren't limited to townhouse living owing to budget constraints as there are freestanding houses in the same price range, albeit in the older suburbs.

First-time buying activity is particularly strong at the moment, he says, hence the quick turnover of units in the R400 000 to R600 000 price range, the threshold at which no transfer duty is payable.

This will typically buy a two or three bedroom apartment or townhouse, with one bathroom and a garage or carport. Among his office’s listings in this category is a secure unit in Wilgeheuwel for R439 000. It has two bedrooms, full bathroom, modern kitchen, a balcony with built-in braai and a carport, it’s an ideal starter home or buy-to-let property, he says.

Buyers who prefer freehold living have a wide choice, from three bedroom houses in areas such as Maraisburg and Florida, which start at around R650 000 to larger, more luxurious family homes in Wilro Park, Noordheuwel, Roodekrans and Helderkruin, which cost upwards of R1 million.

At the top end of the market, in suburbs such as Helderkruin View, Noordkruin, Noordheuwel, and Ruimsig, Barbosa says large, quality homes carry price tags of over R2 million, with some properties in excess of R10 million.

New office listings in this category include a 408 square metre country lodge in Kenmare for R2.15 million. The home overlooks the Kenmare Kloofs River and has four living areas, sundecks, balconies, four bedrooms, a study, two and a half bathrooms, a guest flat, domestic accommodation, a double garage and a double carport. Among its many features are full length windows, Rhodesian Teak floors and stepping stone walkways through the infinity pool area to the entertainment boma.

There’s also a new 300 square metre double-storey in Ruimsig for R2.15 million. It offers four bedrooms (main bathroom en suite), family bathroom and guest bathroom as well as an ultra-modern open plan kitchen, formal dining and living rooms and a separate family room, double garage and pool in a manicured garden.

Barbosa is expecting the West Rand property market to be stimulated further as new developments such as Cradle Stone Mall near the Silver Star Casino reach finalisation, which he believes will have a knock-on effect on employment and convenience for residents.

Cautiously optimistic about the continued healthy performance of the West Rand’s real estate sector going forward, he says the potential exists for capital growth to be better than inflation, lending credence to property’s value as a good, long-term investment vehicle.

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