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Pta: budding buyers defy slow-down

14 Dec 2006
Strong demand for owned accommodation by up-and-coming emergent buyers in the Pretoria suburbs of Hatfield and Sunnyside is defying the current slowdown in market activity being felt in large parts of the country.

So says Lynette Marè, manager of the Realty 1 International Property Group franchise in Hatfield, which was recently bought out by property attorneys Jacques van Wyk and Koos van As.

According to Marè, their farming area can be divided into three sectors that together cater for the needs of entry level, middle market and luxury home buyers. Those with limited affordability are making Sunnyside their point of entry into home ownership, she says, even though they are keeping their eyes firmly on the more upmarket suburbs where they intend relocating as soon as their affordability allows. Predominantly emergent market buyers, they are using the small, one-and-half and two bedroom flats that characterise the area, as springboards to first-time home ownership. The result is a rapid turnover of stock in Sunnyside and a correspondingly buoyant market for homes in the R300 000 to R500 000 price range.

The next level up is in the vicinity of Pretoria University, which is also enjoying healthy buying interest, she says. This is largely as a result of a wave of new residential development in the area, mostly in the form of substantial apartment blocks that are springing up out of the ground where old houses once stood. Marè says buyers are typically parents of university-going offspring and investors who are guaranteed strong capital growth on the back of reasonable short-term rental returns.

According to Marè, the trend has been for most of these apartment blocks to sell out off-plan, long before a single brick has been laid. Mostly two bedroom flats with single parking facilities, they are selling for around R500k.

Less in demand owing to its top-end-of-the-market pricing is the area around the Union Buildings, which boasts suburbs such as Colbyn and Eastwood. Graced by homes built circa 1910 to 1950, buyers covet their character which is often epitomised by steel pressed ceilings, large spacious rooms and established gardens. Those built on inclines also tend to offer stunning city views. Generally well-maintained, these homes start at around R1,5m, topping out at about R4m, she says.

Currently home ownership here tends to be in the hands of older people, but Marè is expecting a downward shift in age as long-time residents sell up and move to retirement homes. The resultant offloading of their homes on to the market is likely to stimulate buying by younger families, effectively resulting in a rejuvenation of the area, she predicts.

High on the back of the franchise's success, which has seen turnover triple in the last three months, Marè says it is a unique operation that offers a one-stop shop to buyers and sellers. This includes selling, a full legal service right up to transfer, and access to home loan finance through its dedicated mortgage origination component. – Ingrid Smit

For more information contact (012) 430 3568 or visit www.realty-1.co.za.

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