A buyer’s guide to the Upington property market

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Upington is one of the Northern Cape’s most buzzing and popular metropoles, and that’s thanks to a variety of amenities and highlights both inside and outside its borders. Not only does it boast its own airport, as well as several medical facilities, commercial centres and primary and high schools, but it’s also home a campus that forms part of the Vaal University of Technology, and to the wine tasting centre of Orange River Cellars, one of the province’s major wine estates.

The town is also nestled amidst numerous natural wonders. The Orange River flows through it, for one thing, and it’s about an hour and a half away from the magnificent Augrabies Falls National Park, and two and a half hours from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Upington is clearly a go-to destination for anyone who is keen on investing in property, be it a young couple keen on starting a family, a senior citizen looking for a pleasant place to live after retiring, or a money-savvy individual looking for extra income by renting out a home. No matter who you are, however, it’s important to know about the property market you’re entering into. Fortunately, Lightstone Property has compiled data pertaining to trends in Upington’s residential sector between February 2018 and January 2019.

Ownership statistics

Lightstone’s data reveals that most of Upington’s stable property owners in 2018 were residents over 50 years. Mature adults (aged 50 to 64) made up 37% of the group while pensioners made up 34%. These two demographics were, however, the lowest amongst property buyers in 2018, while the youngest demographic, comprising residents aged 18 to 35, formed the highest percentage, followed by middle aged adults (36 to 49 years old). In addition, only 7% of property sellers were from the youngest demographic, while only 24% were mature adults. This hints at Upington’s possible appeal as a destination for couples who have started, or seek to start, a family, as well as people who are planning their retirement.

Lightstone also found that, as of January 2019, the most owners still living in Upington had been there for 11 years or more, while the smallest amount of recent property sellers in the town had lived for five to 10 years. Upington obviously grows on its residents!

The most popular property types

As of January 2019, there are 11 456 properties on Upington’s residential market. 11 190 of these are freehold and not in estates, 174 are freehold properties located within estates, and the remaining 92 are sectional title units. Transfers of all these property types, as well as plots of vacant land, occurred between February 2018 and January 2019, with sale prices ranging from below R400 000 to higher than R3 million. This highlights the town’s diversity in terms of property opportunities.

A total of 304 units were sold in Upington over the relevant time period, the majority of which were developed freehold properties (241 to be exact). Houses in this category filled all five price ranges used by Lightstone in their report. Most of them (80 in total) sold between R800 000 and R1.5 million, the middlemost range, while 72 sold in the lowest range (under R400 000). Seven houses fetched over R3 million, making them the most expensive of all properties sold.

Freehold plots of land were the second most popular properties in Upington, with a total of 47 having been sold. 37 of them were in the lowest price bracket, while the remaining 10 sold for prices between R400 000 and R1.5 million. Four additional plots were also sold, all of them located within estates and fetching between R400 000 and R800 000.

Fully developed estate-based properties also featured, with one selling in the range of R1.5 and 3 million. Five others sold between R400 000 and R1.5 million, and joining them in this price bracket were six units that fell within sectional title schemes, the only properties of this kind to feature in the Upington residential market in 2018.

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Home price growth

Between 2017 and 2018, price increases occurred amongst two property types. The median price of sectional title scheme units grew only slightly, from R465 000 to R572 000, while the median price of freehold properties saw far more substantial growth, increasing from R530 000 to R850 000. In 2019, sectional sectional scheme units have so far seen a decrease to R450 000, while freehold units have dipped to R100 000. Meanwhile, vacant land saw a slight decrease from R170 000 to R150 000 between 2017 and 2018.

Number of registrations

In 2018, 254 freehold properties were registered on the Upington residential market, 71 less than the amount recorded the year before. Vacant land also saw a decrease, with 58 plots in 2017 dropping to 53 a year later. The only increase recorded was amongst sectional scheme units, the amount of which grew from four to six. As to 2019, 3 sectional scheme units and one freehold property have been registered so far.

Popular neighbourhoods for buyers

A large portion of Upington is made up of several tightly knit suburbs located between Upington International Airport and the Orange River. They are all intermingled with the town’s various amenities and commercial centres, though the closest to the airport itself are Florapark, Paballelo, Blydeville, Oosterville, Middelpos and Keidebees. Suburbs that are further away but still located amongst important facilities and features include Mountain View, Hillside, Rosedale, Morning Glory, Belview and Progress. Property buyers should also investigate living opportunities in Louisvale. Though based on the other side of the Orange River, it features both educational and medical facilities.

Whether you’re starting a family, nearing retirement, or looking for a profitable investment opportunity, Upington is certainly a worthwhile place to look for property in the Northern Cape. This is mainly thanks to its surrounding landmarks and its generous collection of public amenities and spoiling commercial hotspots.

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