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Middelburg the centre of attention

26 Sep 2007
An acute shortage of accommodation in the Mpumalanga mining towns of Steelpoort and Roosenekal is fueling property market activity in nearby Middelburg.

That's the word from local real estate expert Lizette Turpin, who has just bought the local Realty 1 International Property Group franchise. Turpin says Middelburg's strong economic growth, coupled with rising, end-user demand for homes and keen investor interest were the reasons behind her decision.

The Highveld farming town, which sits on the Maputo Corridor, is home to one of the largest stainless steel producers in the world. It also boasts thriving coal and platinum mining activities, hence the steady influx of newcomers from other areas, she says.

"These people all need homes, so demand for well-priced properties is extremely high." Not only are her company's sales volumes exceeding expectations, even with it being a traditionally busy time of the year, but Turpin also reports strong take-up of rented homes, saying that turnover in her rental department has more than doubled in the last six months, and shows no sign of slowing.

"Middelburg is seeing a huge influx of people who are employed on the mines in the Steelpoort and Roosenekal areas but cannot find accommodation there. At the moment we are still able to meet the demand for housing, which is also being stimulated by growing buy-to-let investor interest."

For the mining fraternity, Middelburg's allure is essentially its proximity to their places of work as well as its freeway access to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Witbank and Nelspruit.

"Families find Middelburg attractive for different reasons, including its excellent schools, which explains why units in townhouse developments such as Zyldean, which lies adjacent to the Middelburg Primary School, are so popular," she says.

Families are also taken with Middelburg's country setting, close-knit community and the fact that it's within easy traveling distance of tourist destinations such as the Kruger National Park and Loskop Dam. Those with spending power of around R800k plus will have access to exclusive suburbs such as Kranspoort, which has its own golf course surrounded by a game reserve.

From an investor perspective, local demand for accommodation as well as Middelburg's growing tourism sector is spurring local and foreign interest, since both sectors promise good returns in the medium to long-term, she adds.

While the implementation of the new National Credit Act (NCA) in June affected the market to some degree, she says the lost momentum has since been regained. Currently, demand is highest for homes in the R600k to R1,2m range and ideally situated close to good schools. Units in secure complexes and building packages are also selling well.

The suburb of Aerorand, which lies to the south of Middelburg, is particularly sought-after, owing to the nature of its homes, which are generally new and modern. It is also the location of a large new shopping mall, office parks and mini-industrial development, all of which indicate strong investor confidence in the area, she believes.

Retirees are also settling in Middelburg as evidenced by healthy take-up of units in the new Roberts Estate, a semi-retirement village.

For more information contact 082 441 5816.

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