Recent testimonies from a number of Johannesburg estate agencies operating on the northern and western sides of the city all point to one fact: since late last year there has been a noticeable reversal of previous negative trends in the property sector. Such trends, it is said, have given way to a slow but steady growth in values and sales prices achieved.
This view was recently put forward by Estelle Schutte, the Rawson Property Group’s co-franchisee with June and Taryn Steven, for Ruimsig, North Riding and Helderkruin.
“Since the start of the recession in 2008,” said Shutte, “most properties in our areas dropped by around 15% in value. Those in the top brackets lost most with those in the more affordable areas dropping far less.”
Now, said Schutte, the downward trend is a thing of the past: prices in Ruimsig have stabilized and have begun to rise at 2 to 3% year-on-year.
Furthermore, in view of the strong on-going demand in virtually all Ruimsig price brackets, she is now confident that this upward movement will continue.
“In Ruimsig itself,” she said, “80% of the demand is for units in the R800,000 to R2,2 million bracket, but throughout the Greater Ruimsig precinct (which includes Amorosa, Willowbrook, Poortview, part of Little Falls and Très Jolie) the area offers homes from as little as R800,000 (for example, a bachelor pad in Amorosa) to as much as R18 million (for a 2ha small holding with a large upmarket home in Poortview). The decline in prices is now definitely over.”
Sellers, said Schutte, have picked up the new confidence in the market very quickly and are now less likely to negotiate on prices to the same extent that they did previously.
Also now aware of the turnaround, she said, is Ruimsig’s growing band of buy-to-let investors, who, as in the old days, are now looking to build up portfolios, usually of three to six units. Ruimsig has a special division shared with other franchisees of this management team, to administer landlords’ properties for them, if they so wish. This division is situated at their North Riding office.
Asked to explain the huge demand for homes in her area, Schutte said that, apart from its wide range in prices (the vast majority of homes remain affordable by South African middle class standards), the main attraction of the area is its rural atmosphere. Bounded on one side by farms, it has hills, rivers, kloofs and waterfalls, and these open areas are complemented by a golf course and sports fields. In addition, she said, Ruimsig has excellent schools, (for example, Maragon High School, Trinity House and Monash University). Adding to the area’s appeal, said Schutte, are top range retail centres, said to be among the best in South Africa and it is worth noting that the new 75,000 m2 Cradlestone Mall, funded by the Sasol Pension Fund and Retail Africa, is nearing completion. This will be one of the most upmarket and luxurious malls in South Africa – and is bound to raise the profile of the area in the same way as other major retail centres have done elsewhere.
“There could,” said Schutte, “never be a better time to buy or sell in our area than now. Sellers are assured that if the price is market-related, the home will sell within eight weeks on average. Buyers can now buy knowing that the value of their investment will steadily appreciate over the next few years.”