Newcastle is Booming

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Newcastle, the third largest city in Kwazulu-Natal, shares its name with 27 other towns and cities around the world. Used as a depot in both the first and second Boer Wars, the town truly came into its own when coal was discovered there.

Although the coal mining industry still plays a major role, the overall area has become an industrial hub and is home to, among others, Mittal Steel South Africa. The city also has the distinct honour of producing the largest amount of chrome chemicals in Africa, thanks to a joint venture involving Karbochem and Bayer.

The growth of the city has seemingly had a direct impact on the demand for property and as such, prices have risen sharply in recent times. The popular suburb of Aviary Park is one example where property prices seem to be holding their own and statistics released by Lightstone reveal that there have been 43 transfers in the area in the last 12 months.

Market stock in this particular suburb is made up of 87.47 percent freehold property and 12.53 percent sectional title property. With a choice of three primary schools and two high schools in the vicinity, this popular suburb appears to be an area of choice for the younger set, with 28.57 percent of recent buyers aged between 18 and 35 years.

Buying property in Aviary Park will set buyers back an average of R839 000 for a freehold property and just over R700 000 for a sectional title unit. The stats reveal that there has been significant growth in terms of price attained in the sectional title sector of the market, with the average price in 2010 coming in at a much lower R586 000.

Although property does seem to be more affordable in Arbor Park, a suburb situated fairly close to the city centre, Lightstone’s statistics reveal that there has also been a marked increase in price averages in the last 12 to 18 months. Arbor Park recorded 42 transfers in the last 12 months and market stock is made up of 100 percent freehold property. The average price paid in 2011 came in at R523 000, significantly higher than the R374 000 recorded the year before.

This trend seems set to stay as property transfers thus far in 2012 averaged R534 000. Perhaps it is its close proximity to shops and other amenities which encourages residents who have bought into this suburb stay for an extended period. Something is going on, as the statistics indicate that a staggering 55.99 percent of residents have lived in the area for longer than 11 years.

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