The Vaal river, an important landmark of the town.
Over the past five years, the creation of a new industrial corridor along the R59 arterial between Johannesburg/Ekurhuleni and the Vaal Triangle has brought major changes to the property markets of towns like Vereeniging, Meyerton and even Heidelberg, according to Christoffel Janse van Rensburg, the Rawson Property Group’s Vaal area franchisee.
“In recent times, big companies such as Everite, Heineken, Nampak and Tongaat Hulett have all set up new factories or distribution centres in the corridor,” he says “and as many other businesses have followed suit, both employment and housing demand in the nearby towns have been boosted.”
This is probably most clearly reflected in the little country town of Meyerton, located in the heart of the Midvaal municipality, where the average freehold property price has jumped from around R782 000 five years ago to around R1,12 million now – and where there has also been much new housing development, especially in the under-R600 000 affordable sector.
According to property data company Lightstone, the average price for a sectional title home in Meyerton is currently around R410 000 and, says Janse van Rensburg, this is well within reach for many of the young first-time buyers who work at companies in the corridor. “Understandably, there is also high demand here for rental units, which makes Meyerton a good option for buy-to-let investors too.
“For example, we currently have a good selection of modern two bedroom flats and townhouses for sale in and around Meyerton at prices between R450 000 and R550 000, and rentals for such units generally range from around R4300 to R5500 per month.”
However, he says, the town also has many attractions for more established, family buyers – some of whom have moved here to be closer to work and some of whom have relocated from Johannesburg in search of a more peaceful lifestyle.
“Public schools in and close to Meyerton include several English and Afrikaans primary and high schools like Henley High, while private schools include Broadlands Primary and Greenacres Primary. The town also has very popular sports and golf clubs, a good variety of convenience stores, shops and restaurants, and is just 14km from the Midvaal Private Hospital which is located directly across from the River Square shopping mall in Vereeniging.”
Meyerton also offers a range of properties to suit different budgets and lifestyle preferences, with prices for good quality family homes starting at around R750 000 for three bedroom houses in Riversdale and ranging all the way up to about R4 million for four bedroom luxury houses in the upmarket Golfpark area and Henley on Klip.
Meanwhile in Heidelberg, located just off the N3 highway to the east of the Midvaal area, property prices have climbed steadily over the past five years in response to an influx of new residents who are prepared to commute daily to Johannesburg, the East Rand or the Vaal Triangle in return for the lifestyle they are able to enjoy here.
“Heidelberg has gained increasing recognition as a clean, well-run and relatively crime-free town,” says Janse van Rensburg, “and it offers residents excellent medical facilities, shopping centres and a big selection of sporting and recreational facilities. It is also only 60km from OR Tambo International Airport.”
However, he notes, the local property market still offers excellent value for money, with modern two bedroom flats and townhouses in some suburbs still selling for less than R400 000, and prices for well-kept family homes starting at around R650 000 to R700 000.
“And at the top end of this market, we have luxury four bedroom, four bathroom mansions in the exclusive Heidelbergkloof Estate listed for less than R5 million.”
In Vereeniging, which was already an important industrial centre before the establishment of the R59 corridor, the property market was for years shaped by the fortunes of large employers such as Anglo Coal, CBI Electric, DCD Ringrollers, Dixon Batteries, M-Tec, Rand Water and Vereeniging Refractories – and negatively affected when any large plant was closed.
“However, there is a reason it is often described as a ‘model town’ and in recent years the R59 upgrade has opened it up to many new residents who commute daily to various parts of Gauteng as well as a large number of retirees and semi-retirees,” says Janse van Rensburg.
Major attractions for such buyers include excellent public and private schools as well as proximity to the Vaal campus of Northwest University and the Vaal University of Technology in nearby Vanderbijlpark, easy access to several large shopping malls, good medical facilities including a Medicross centre and the Midvaal Private Hospital, and an array of good restaurants, entertainment venues and sporting facilities, including the Maccauvlei and Riviera on Vaal golf courses.
“But the chance to live close to the Vaal River and enjoy a wide range of water-based leisure activities is the biggest attraction for many of these buyers, and several new developments have been built over the past five years to meet the additional demand. What is more, although home prices have risen by an average of 25% in the popular Three Rivers area, it still offers very good value for money”.
“For example, our current listings in this area include spacious family homes at prices from around R850 000 to R1 million. One can also buy really large executive homes in Three Rivers East for R2 million to around R4 million.”