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Upington on the runway to growth

22 Jan 2007
The planned upgrade of the Pierre van Ryneveld airport near Upington is expected to boost economic growth - and the property market - in this Kalahari town.

That's the view of Annette Fourie, principal of the new Aida office in Upington, who notes that the airport's runway - the longest in the southern hemisphere - has already been upgraded for military purposes and that a hub for servicing planes is now planned, to relieve pressure at the OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.

"New job opportunities at the airport will cause an inflow of technical and support staff and will stimulate the local property market. Another stimulus will be the relocation of about 700 Defence Force members and their families to Upington this year," she says.

Improved cargo facilities will also form part of the airport upgrade and are expected to boost the local agricultural export industry, particularly of table grapes.

Deeds office data reveals that the average price of freehold properties sold in Upington between November 2005 and November 2006 increased by 20%.*

Fourie says the local property market has room for growth with prices for small two-bedroom homes currently starting at around R200k.

"However, most trading is in the R700 000 range. Homes in this category are typically three-bedroom, two-bathroom units with outside features such as a braai area.

"Homes at the top end of the market command prices of between R1,2m and R3m. These are typically in the Keidebees area on the banks of the Orange River and offer pastoral views over the river and the surrounding farmland."

The market consists mostly of full title homes but limited sectional title development is planned. Fourie expects such smaller units may be in demand among new airport employees.

"Meanwhile the rental market is already healthy, with standard three-bedroom houses commanding rentals of between R2600 and R3000 per month," she says.

The new Aida office, which will field four residential agents, will soon also appoint an agricultural property specialist. Fourie says this market is vibrant. "Prices for agricultural land range from R200/ha to R1000/ha, depending on potential, rainfall and infrastructure. Grape farms are typically about 50ha in extent while cattle farms are of course much, much larger."

*Data based on transfer dates and freehold prices limited to between R100k and R2m.

For more information contact 054 332 1634.

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