When some four years ago Jan Oberholzer joined the Rawson Property Group as a franchisee, he took on no less than four franchise areas altogether. Today, therefore, he and his team serve an area to the west of Johannesburg in which there are approximately 19,800 housing units in all (60% freehold and 40% sectional title).
These cover suburbs such as: Northcliff, Quellerina, Fairland, Berario, Blackheath, Fontainebleau, Florida Glen, Bergbron, Greymont, Cresta, Darrenwood, Windsor, Valeriedene, Robin Hills, Robindale, Montgomery Park and Roosevelt Park. Together this area makes this one of the biggest franchises in the Rawson Property Group and the nine agents serving the territory are currently achieving no less than 12 to 15 sales, on average, per month.
The on-going demand in the area, says Oberholzer, is driven by the fact that these suburbs are approximately 10 km from the Johannesburg central business district and being sited inside the “ring” road, they have easy and swift access to the Sandton business centre to which the South African commercial world is increasingly gravitating.
Also drawing people to the area, says Oberholzer, are the excellent schools and the close proximity to good regional centres and popular golf courses – such as Randpark, Windsor and Bryanston.
Sale prices throughout most of the area vary from R600,000 to R16 million, with prices as low as R450,000 for a three bedroom townhouse in Windsor. However, as elsewhere in the more affluent suburbs of Johannesburg, the strongest demand for homes is around the R2,5 million mark. Any home in this price bracket that comes onto the market tends to be sold within 45 days or less.
Oberholzer says that an analysis of his franchise’s sales reveals that prices are rising year-on-year by 5,2% and in view of the on-going demand he does not foresee this dropping off at all this year, even if interest rates rise by as much as 1,5%.
Rentals in the area (this franchise manages some 60+ rental properties) are rising faster than sales. Oberholzer estimates that the increases here are in the region of 10 to 12% per annum. Again, he foresees demand continuing to be very strong – because so many South Africans have impaired credit records that prevent them from qualifying for a bond.
“Ever since I arrived here,” says Oberholzer, “we have been putting out the message, that there can be no better place to buy a home in Johannesburg than in our popular, centrally situated suburbs. The value for money remains very good, the prices are reasonably affordable and the appreciation rate is now increasingly satisfactory.”