The arguments against e-tolling and the strong opposition that they have engendered, surprising though it may seem, have failed to bring about any long term changes in the newly imposed user tax arrangements and this being so, the question is now being asked: “What effect will e-tolls have on the South African residential property market?”
Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, when asked this question recently, replied that the e-tolls will further strengthen the demand for central urban and suburban properties which are within 30 to 40 minutes’ travel time of the major work nodes.
“For more than a decade now,” said Rawson, “we have seen this trend gain momentum: all of our franchises selling homes in or near popular work areas (e.g. the Cape Town City Bowl, the Greater Sandton precinct in Johannesburg and Berea in Durban) are flourishing as never before.”
The old days of ‘heroic’ daily commuting of 40 km or more each way, said Rawson, are now, with increased traffic congestion and the travel cost by car costing anything from R1 to R3.50 per km in petrol alone, are unlikely to last. Higher density living and increased use of public transport in the more sought after nodes will progressively make commuting less necessary for many people and this change is inevitable.
Many of the bigger metro managements, said Rawson, are now altering their design rules to allow for high density sectional title development but the end result need not be the disaster some fear, because, as the Rawson Developers’ central Southern Cape Peninsula property developments have shown, multi-unit complexes can actually increase the amount of open landscaped space around buildings, improve the residents’ lifestyle and general happiness and add value to all properties in the same precinct.
“This is not speculation,” said Rawson. “Several off-the-cuff surveys taken by our development team in precincts they have developed have shown that these are facts. One has only to go to a development such as The Rondebosch and talk to occupants to see how genuinely they are enjoying their semi-communal lifestyle.”