Established just over 60 years ago to provide housing, schools and other amenities for the employees of Sasol’s first coal-to-oil refinery, Sasolburg is still a “company town” in the sense that its economic well being is still largely dependent on a few big manufacturing plants.
“However”, says Eugene Cilliers, “the Rawson Property Group franchisee in Sasolburg, the town also happens to be located on the banks of the Vaal River close to the Vaal Dam, and to offer excellent value-for-money when it comes to residential property, so it is proving increasingly attractive to “semigrants” from Johannesburg and even further afield”.
“Sasolburg has a total population of around 150 000, and most home owners here are employed at one of the local chemical factories, which include Dow Plastics, Karbochem, Omnia Fertilizer and of course Sasol Chemical Industries, which has recently expanded its wax production capacity at a cost of some R14 billion”.
“But over the years, these companies – and Sasol in particular – have also invested billions of rands in developing and maintaining the town’s municipal infrastructure and public facilities, and to add to this, it has first-rate schools and tertiary education institutions, two hospitals, a top-class golf course and several shopping malls with most national retailers present.”
And all of this combined with a friendly small-town atmosphere is attracting an increasing number of out-of-town buyers who are now seeking to relocate and live in Sasolburg, even if it means commuting to their jobs elsewhere, he says.“Johannesburg is just 80km away, for example, on the upgraded R59 arterial, while the Vaal Dam playground, with its own range of leisure attractions and water sports facilities, is right on the doorstep.”
“Such buyers tend to favour the more affluent part of town known as Vaalpark, where the average price for a suburban three bedroom, two bathroom family home in good condition is around R1,1 million”.
“The top end of the market in this area is around R9 million for a luxury home in an exclusive security estate on the banks of the Vaal, while R2,6 million will buy a modern five bedroom, three bathroom home that we currently have for sale, which also offers a home office and separate two bedroom flat.”
“For those who would prefer to buy a newly-built home”, Cilliers says, “the Heron Banks Golf and River Estate, which has 3km of Vaal River frontage, offers house and townhouse building packages at prices from just under R1,3 million to around R2,9 million. Stands are also available at prices from R775 000 for those who wish to build their own homes”.
Meanwhile, many first-time buyers from nearby towns such as Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark and further afield are also being attracted to Sasolburg now because property prices here are considerably lower and they can thus afford to become home owners sooner rather than later.
And such moves, he notes, are likely to become even more frequent following the recent launch in Sasolburg of the multi-million rand Sasol Business Incubator, which aims to accelerate the development of new small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that will not only support each other to ensure sustainability, but also create further employment opportunities in the area.
“As it is, though, there are currently many properties here to suit first-time buyers, including two and three bedroom townhouses at prices from around R540 000, and good-quality three and four bedroom homes in the older part of town at prices from around R700 000 to R1,6 million.”