A drastic slowdown in the property markets of smaller Mpumalanga towns due the closing of mines, political turmoil and crumbling infrastructure have fuelled the resilient Nelspruit market which, underpinned by the booming farming and forestry industries and regular international events, has held its own during the economic downswing.
Eric Slabbert, Principal and Owner of Prime Platinum Property in Nelspruit says that well-priced homes in the entry to mid-markets are still selling well, with a medium turn-around time of between three and five months while homes at the upper end of the market typically take between five and nine months to sell.
He adds that the prevailing economy and current influencing factors have precipitated a few notable market shifts in recent years, including increased demand for rental properties and the development of secure estates.
“Nelspruit is becoming increasingly populated by luxury developments and private schools and we have had great success selling homes and vacant stands in well-established estates like the multi award-winning Rest Nature Estate, backed by Sanlam Limited and a development team with a wealth of experience and impeccable track record.”
“In developments like these, investors have the confidence to purchase a stand first and build at a later date, which helps with cash flow during these tough times, saves on transfer duties and makes it possible for buyers to add their personal touch to create their dream home.”
However, Slabbert adds that due to the moderately high standard of the Nelspruit municipality, buyers still feel comfortable purchasing freehold homes, with the most popular properties being houses in the R1.2 million to R1.7m price band.
“Many of these homes have the potential to be partially used for business as well as for dual living and they are also popular as many buyers require space to store a boat or more than one vehicle.”
“Our main challenge has been reaching a broader market and adequately showcasing properties to attract buyers from other areas, especially now that more and more people are looking to move away from cities in search of a more tranquil lifestyle.” says Slabbert.
Too this end, Prime Platinum Property has embraced the latest digital technology which has been galvanising the real estate industry abroad and was recently introduced to the South African market.
“Up until now, potential buyers from other regions – as well as local investors – have had to wade through countless interchangeable property photos online, trying to discern the highlights – and flaws – of each and decide on the basis of the limited information they can glean“.
“However, with the 3D clarity and detail of the augmented reality technology offered by the Propscan app, it will be much easier for potential buyers to effectively narrow their or even choose a property.”
Amje van Eeden, Director of Propscan, Mpumalanga, says: “Out-of-town buyers are required to invest considerably more time and incur steep travel and accommodation costs if they want to inspect their pre-selected properties and see more than the limited, selective information captured in a few photographs”.
“This capability is becoming paramount in South Africa where people now move cities almost as often as they do suburbs and AR presents an efficient and exciting new way to engage buyers and reach broader target markets.”
“Until now, our experience with the online world has been primarily two-dimensional, but because AR enables us to go beyond the limitations of physical tools and geographic proximity, the potential applications are quite literally endless,” says Propscan founder JP van der Bergh,
He adds that this ground-breaking technology gives realtors’ clients the edge over other homes being marketed with more conventional tools, as properties are not only showcased in greater detail but there is also an immediate call to action as they can communicate with the listing agent or broker directly via the built-in chat and calling features.
Slabbert concludes: “In an increasingly competitive marketplace – and a world where consumers now expect instant access to concise information – it is essential to be able to efficiently showcase the options available to buyers, especially those who are not familiar with the area.”