Areas and Places

Johannesburg's North Riding still riding a high demand wave

Like many South African estate agencies now experiencing boom conditions, the Rawson Property Group’s North Riding franchise (which for the last eight years has been owned and managed by Taryn Steven) ascribes much of their success to the fact that they can still offer properties at what the South African middle class regard as reasonable or affordable prices. In North Riding, said Steven, ‘affordable’ means that sectional title units can be priced from R580,000 to R1,5 million and freehold homes from R850,000 to R2 million.

“In this price range,” she said, “the demand is so great that we will usually receive double offers on at least one-third of our stock and we are able to sell most houses within anything from one to 21 days, with the majority going within one week. If any property takes longer than three weeks to sell it is almost certainly due to the fact that it is overpriced and a re-pricing will probably be necessary to achieve a sale.”

In boom conditions of this kind, said Steven, prices year-on-year have risen by more than 12% per annum and stock will always be in short supply. Her team, she said, has, with great effort, managed to keep stock levels up to ± 25 units at any one time, but in previous years they could easily have had double that level on their lists.

Conditions in North Riding’s rental market, said Steven, are even more buoyant: her staff manage 220 properties in all and they very seldom have even one unit vacant for longer than a month. The rental levels now obtainable, like those of house prices, are rising steadily, but at an even faster rate – and tenants these days can expect to pay anything from R5,500 per month for a bottom rung two bedroom apartment to R18,000 per month for a luxury three or four bedroom home on a 1,000 m2 erf.

“Taryn Steven,” said David Jacobs, the Regional Manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Northern Region and KZN, “has been adept at every aspect of the property business and her team have consistently maintained a high profile in the area.

Two of their more popular hand outs, were free candles to cope with the power shedding crises and handing out boxes of matches for Braai Day — both helped to position them as neighbourhood specialists.”

They have also achieve incredibly high bond acceptance rates — over 90% — as a result of careful investigation and the prequalifying of buyers. The use of Rawson Finance should also not be underestimated. The consultant appointed to this franchise is particularly adept at getting home loans approved.”

Steven herself said that one aspect of her business which she is now particularly proud of is that, unlike so many other estate agencies, Rawson North Riding has greatly reduced the number of deals that fall through.

“We now have,” she said, “an in-house dispute resolution facilitator. This means that contentious issues can be dealt with before they actually cause the deal to founder. I believe many other agencies could benefit from a service of this kind.”