Wilgeheuwel, with its 2,499 gated estate housing units, its 1,080 freehold homes and its 8,557 sectional title apartments has, says Frederick Lange, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for the area, emerged as the ideal place for Johannesburg’s growing middle class to gain a foothold on the home owning ladder.
This, says Lange, is because Wilgeheuwel’s position, some 20 km from the centre of Johannesburg and a similar distance from the centre of Sandton, is highly convenient for commuters and the area can still provide attractive housing at what middle class buyers see as affordable prices.
The average price for sectional title units being sold at Wilgeheuwel at the moment is R687,500, while the average for gated estate homes is a low R911,000. Even freehold properties, on average, cost only R1,022,000 and new sectional title units now coming on stream are being sold for prices as low as R580,000 and seldom exceed R900,000.
Even better news for prospective buyers, says Lange, is that the Rawson Property Group’s sales prices quite clearly reveal that since November last year the downward or stagnant trend in prices has been reversed: they are now, in fact, rising by 3,5% year-on-year and this figure has been confirmed recently by Deeds Office statistics.
“These very satisfactory figures,” says Lange, “have come about because sales numbers in the last few months have reached levels never seen before in this area. In February, one of our agents sold 11 homes in just one month and in June we were the second top fee earner in the whole of the Rawson Property Group, which now has over 200 franchises. This result was achieved with 13 properties sold at an average of only R991,000.”
Right now, he says, the average time it takes for his team to sell a Wilgeheuwel home is only 21 days. These figures, says Lange, prove yet again that the sole mandate system on which all of his agents operate is by far the most efficient, if the sales team is competent.
Unfortunately, says Lange, as a result of the successes so far he is now running very low on stock and the challenge for him this month and in September will once again be to build up stock quickly – because the franchise has dozens of willing new buyers waiting in the wings.
Now that price rises are a reality, existing home owners may prefer to hold onto their properties. For eight out of ten of these people, he says, the news about the price rises will be particularly good because if they bought in the 2005 to 2009 era their bond repayments were calculated at a higher than current value. This situation will, however, be remedied with current price increases within the next two to three years, says Lange.
“I suppose this is the obvious thing to say, but in the current market there can be no better area in which to buy. The 3,5% price rises will, I believe, in the coming year, rise to at least 6 or 7%. Those buying now, therefore, are assured of getting a better return than most other investments, including the money market.”