Namibia Discovered - Property Aplenty

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

After reaching Windhoek by air, it was several journeys by train and road that brought to life this unique coastal region with a vast adjacent desert, also gracing the country’s name.

All good intentions of relaxation materialised once the curiosity of witnessing a property market abuzz with activity in Windhoek, was satisfied. Driving through this hillside town meant moving through a hive of business activity, where foreign accents of proprietors and property agents alike, illustrated the diverse cultural history and architectural influences in the town.

What reflected one of many positive outcomes here is a remarkable property performance, despite challenging conditions in the local mining industry that was aptly rewarded by thebanking industry. Bank Windhoek's mortgage loan portfolio of the Property Finance Branch, as reported in October, surpassed the N$3 billion mark during the 2011/2012 financial year. Christo de Vries, Managing Director of Bank Windhoek said: "The registered mortgage lending business generated by estate agents for Bank Windhoek in the 2011/2012 financial year amounted to N$113.7 million. Local agents, Joubert Balt Real Estate Windhoek was awarded top property agency, as well as for top agent performances by Bank Windhoek last month.

Showing high demand here is demand for a city lifestyle in nearby suburban areas, popular for offering easy living and short commuting distances. But, close proximity comes at a price, as seen in Joubert Balt Real Estate listings of a two bedroom Luxury Hill property listing for N$8.4-million, a four bedroom house located on 2 300m2 in Windhoek Central for N$15-million, a four bedroom house in Klein Windhoek for R14-million, and a three bedroom house in Eros for R12.7-million.

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Travelling away from the city while passing through the desert-like villages of Omaruru and Karibib, with modest houses and typical small town industry, brought the welcome sea breeze driven by the cold Benguela current. The town of Walvis Bay, of much cooler weather conditions, is predominantly a commercial and industrial centre where lucrative industry attracts well heeled investors. Here, a large beachfront plot of land with building rights for 14 units is on offer by Remax Properties for N$3.750-million, while a four bedroom house in the central business district of town is currently on the market for N$3.450-million.

About 15km along the coast, is where property agent of 10 years, Susan Curtis of Susan Curtis Properties, is resident in the smaller village of Lang Strand, located centrally between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. She says the coastal holiday home market of this region is abuzz with activity again, after difficulties in the local mining industry saw a slow take-up of a prolific spate of new housing developments, particularly in Swakopmund.

However, says the optimistic Curtis: “The ideal location of Lang Strand provides the agency with 50 permanently rented property units for six to twelve month periods, mostly due to close proximity to the beach and neighbouring towns, and from where residents as far as the back rows of houses, can always hear the sounds of the ocean.” She says a purchase of around R970 000 to R1.5-million currently buys comfortable holiday homes, in both Lang Strand and Eco Village.

And so, contentment of seeing the active property market of an African neighbour, coupled with a promised return for a beach holiday in the quaint German settlement of Swakopmund, eased a somewhat reluctant departure.

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