Areas and Places

Prices of Mitchells Plain homes now stable, but not yet rising

Home prices in Mitchells Plain have shown no signs of rising as yet – but they are no longer falling. This was said recently by Michael Feltsman, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for this area. (This is one of two Rawson Property Group franchises serving Mitchells Plain).

“The prices are now stable and I think we can expect steady rises from the end of this year onwards,” said Feltsman.

Despite a small but steady outflow of Mitchells Plain residents to areas such as Goodwood, Parow, Bellville, Brackenfell and Kuils River, demand for homes in Mitchells Plain, adds Feltsman, remains strong – and if a home is correctly priced it will always sell within four to eight weeks.

“Our first challenge today,” he says, “is not finding buyers but rather finding stock. In the current near-recessionary conditions very little upgrading is taking place: those who are paying off a low priced unit bought some years ago – or have already paid it off – tend to sit tight and hold on. The main reason for this is, that there is insufficient supply of starter homes for young couples.”

“Our second challenge,” says Feltsman, “is to get more buyers qualified for bonds. Despite careful pre-qualifying by our sales staff, some 40% of our bond applicants are rejected and it does seem to me that the banks, relying on their score card criteria rather than on a perceptive analysis by an experienced loan manager, are side-lining some very worthwhile applicants.”

His team, says Feltsman, has been selling two to four homes per month over the last year – and the vast majority of these are in the R300,000 to R450,000 bracket, with the strongest demand still being for homes below R350,000. On such low priced units, he adds, it is almost impossible to cut commissions.

For the first time, sales on the borders of Khayelitsha, Mandalay and Montclair are now being processed regularly. Documentation here, he adds, has traditionally been difficult but is gradually being sorted out. His franchise now has a resident consultant, Nontsikelelo Herimbi serving these areas.

With so many Mitchells Plain residents not in a position to buy, rental demand, says Feltsman, grows stronger month-by-month and fairly ordinary two and three bedroom homes can fetch up to R3,500 per month.

Recognising the need to be in a higher traffic, higher profile position, this franchise is moving from its Simonsig Avenue Westridge premises to offices in the Rocklands Centre, on the corner of Caravelle and Park Avenue. Feltsman is confident that this will bring in more business and he is, in fact, budgeting for five to seven sales per month by the end of this year.

“With seven years’ experience in Mitchells Plain,” he says, “we are now one of the recognized “big players” in residential housing – and can capitalize on the reputation we have built up.”

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