Areas and Places

Rustenburg starts to shake off mining woes

The Rustenburg property market is recovering after the protracted mining strikes which had a decidedly damaging effect on local real estate.

Adina Harmse, owner of the Harcourts Rustenburg property franchise, says roughly half of all buyers in the Northwest town are employed in the mining sector and the uncertainty brought about by the strikes depressed demand for residential units as well commercial property, because entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses had adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

“But our town is now on the road to recovery and we are seeing a concomitant increase in the demand for residential units. Strict lending criteria in the light of the recent turmoil in the market are still having an impact, however, and prospective borrowers have to submit payslips for the past six months to be considered for bonds.”

She adds that some businesses closed during and in the wake of the strikes, but the fact that some mines stayed operational and the support from other economic sectors, such as agriculture, brought a measure of stability.

“And as confidence picks up we see are seeing more home buying activity, especially in the lower price ranges. Units prices at between R500 000 and R800 000 are currently most sought-after, but there is also reasonable movement in the R1,75mto R2m range.”

Harmse says buyers between 25 and 35 years old are mostly targeting two-bedroom apartments at around R550 000, while full title houses priced at around R650 000 in areas such as Oos-einde, for example, are also popular. Family homes in popular suburbs are achieving selling prices of between R1,2m and R2,75m, while prices for top properties can reach up to R6,5m.

Meanwhile, she says, developers are now scouting for land for new housing complexes, especially townhouses that will be brought to market at prices between R900 000 and R1,5m.

There is also new development in the commercial sector which is a further sign of renewed confidence. Apart from the Platinum Square centre that opened last year, the Waterfall Mall shopping centre is undergoing refurbishment to the tune of R33m, which will create welcome opportunities in the local economy. Another big retail brand has reserved 5000sqm, and independent developers are starting to source land for smaller commercial developments.

“In spite of the difficult year we have experienced, optimism is now evident and it was heartening to see how residents stood together during tough times. There is a definite hunger for new business, which bodes well for the future and I am convinced that Rustenburg remains one of the best destinations for investors who want to see growth in their portfolios,” Harmse says.