Activity in the property market in Wilgers and surrounding areas in Pretoria has picked up dramatically.
Fransiska Schutte of RealNet Wilgers and Surrounds says her office is currently fielding more enquiries than ever during the past two years, in sharp contrast to the lacklustre interest in 2008 and 2009. “Growing demand has compelled us to increase our complement of agents and the sterling performance of new agents Marianne Nortje and Rob Salvado, who between them sold a total of five properties in their first month, bears testimony to improving conditions,” Schutte says. “Another encouraging sign is that for the first time in a long while properties offered at market-related prices receive multiple offers to purchase in short succession. A third positive signal is that we are seeing increasing demand for properties priced at R1,6m and up, in contrast to a year ago when there was high buyer resistance to properties priced above R700 000.”
She reports that growing demand has also lead to a shortage of two-bedroom units with a bathroom and single garage in the price range of R600 000 to R650 000. At the same time, stack units of about 82sqm with a price tag of less than R485 000 are in growing demand. Units in this category are relatively affordable for younger buyers and also attract investors who earn good rental returns of up to R4000 per month, she says.
She adds, however, that affordability remains a hurdle in the market. “Not many first-time buyers, for instance, have saved the required sum of about R100 000 in order to buy a property of R650 000. Buyers who have been in the market and are buying new homes are also often still hobbled by the so-called chain of transactions on which their own depends. “Buyers are now often tied in a chain of up to eight transactions and if a single transaction along the chain sours, the whole chain collapses. Although the small cut in interest rates is to be welcomed, it is doubtful whether it will contribute to better affordability since consumers face steep hikes in electricity and probably fuel prices,” she says. “Better access to finance through lending institutions are now needed to give fresh impetus to the property market.”