Even though first time home buying activity remains under pressure across the whole country, the most activity in this segment takes place in the Gauteng province, according to a recent report from FNB, quoting figures from its FNB Estate Agent Survey.
“For 2017 year to date, Cape Town’s first time buyer percentage (first time buying expressed as a percentage of total home buying) has averaged a low 8.02%, compared to Johannesburg’s 28.62% and Tshwane’s 24.3%“.
“These first time buyer estimates in the two Gauteng metros for 2017 reflect a relatively affordable and price realistic Gauteng residential market,” notes the report.
Chris Hajec, Seeff’s MD in Randburg, says that developers with both a national and a provincial scope have focused in on key nodes in Gauteng to take advantage of the ongoing population explosion which has seen a million new residents move to South Africa’s fastest growing province in the last four years.
“First time home buyers together with retired down scaling buyers and investor buy-to-let buyers are at the profitable centre of all the action“.
“Any one of these classifications of buyers has a significant stand-alone impact on the market, but with the similar price band and set of criteria common to all of them, together they represent a formidable influence on the real estate trends in Gauteng”.
Seeff’s principals in Gauteng’s major metros agreed that the most active price range in first time buyer activity range from R700 000 to R1.5 million and named the below areas as some of the most favourable suburbs that first time buyers should invest in:
Hajec continues that although first time home buyers have many options when it comes to affordable property and entry level homes in Randburg, Northriding is currently the epicentre of first time home buyer activity and affordable middle-income development where one bedroom townhouses are priced from as low as R700 000.
“Developers have targeted Northriding for a number of reasons, including the availability of open land, its central and convenient location and the proximity of lifestyle amenities“.
Interestingly, there is also a micro trend in Randburg’s more established suburbs (inside the ring road) of smaller developers taking advantage of the lack of affordable opportunities for first time home buyers to create profitable conversions.
“With an average price range of R1.8 million to R2.3 million for freehold property in these suburbs, we now see a new phenomenon of smaller, three to four unit developments being created from single family homes in areas with flexible zoning which often incorporate the existing structure as one of the units or a part of several”.
Hajec continues that for the first time home buyer on a budget seeking a full title freehold property the options are quickly dissipating.
“Westdene is the perfect example of a suburb that was well within a first time home buyer’s budget five years ago, but not anymore as prices in the now fashionable “Meldene” area of Westdene are starting at an average of R1.4 to R1.5 million“.
Ten years ago many people would not have anticipated the gentrification of Westdene and the disproportionate rise in appreciation seen in property here.
Suburbs like Sophiatown and Albertsville would be unlikely to escape a similar metamorphosis. Both these suburbs still offer freehold homes below a million rand to first time home buyers”, he concludes.
Midrand, Sunninghill, Paulshof & Barbeque Downs
Charles Vining Seeff Sandton’s Principal, says that their most northern Johannesburg and Midrand suburbs offer great options for first time buyers, working either in Johannesburg, Sandton, Midrand or Pretoria as they offer easy access to the N1 and M1 highway interchanges, which makes travelling North or South easy.
“One or two bedroom apartments can be bought in Midrand from R750 000 to R800 000 and two or three bedroom apartments can be found in Sunninghill, Paulshof and lesser-known Barbeque Downs at prices under R1 250 000“.
Most of the first time buyers we work with are newly employed in the area and are starting their careers. Making an investment in property at this stage of their lives is a very smart thing to do.
“Many banks offer great rates to young professionals and as an investment in the longer term smaller properties are always in high demand, both to on sell after three to five years, or to rent out”.
Hurlyvale, Highway Gardens, Eastleigh and Illiondale in the Edenvale area
David Ingle, Seeff’s MD in Edenvale/Bedfordview, says the above areas are first-time buyer hot spots. He adds that sectional title units in Greenstone Hill, Dowerglen and Edenglen are good first time buys priced between R650 000 and R1.4 million.
“A couple of years ago suburbs like Marais Steyn Park in the Edenvale area offered great value as well as some areas in Bedfordview and the more established estates in Greenstone such as Thorn Valley, Bush Willow Park and Waterstone Park. However, although still good investments they are now beyond the reach of most first time buyers.”
Ingle concludes that if price is not an issue, buyers looking to obtain their first property should look at investing anywhere in Modderfontein (Lakeside and Thorn Hill Estate) or Linbro Park as both these areas promise to grow immensely. 16 000 new residential units are planned for Linbro Park alone for instance.
Alveda Park, Kibler Park & Mayfield Park
Trevor Sturgess, Seeff’s MD in Kibler Park, says the most popular price range in these suburbs for first time home buyers is between R650 000 – R950 000, but go up to R1.250 million.
“A few years ago first time buyers looking in the R450 000 – R550 000 price range could still find an entry level home in Alveda park, but this is no longer the case“.
“At present we are marketing three bedroom, two bathroom townhouses with granite tops for R825,000 in Kibler Park and small three bedroom homes in Alveda Park for R770,000 so there are good opportunities available”.
Winchester Hills, Ridgeway & Ormonde
Russell Theron, Seeff’s Principal in Glenanda, says that the above areas offer opportunities in the R600 000 – R900 000 price range.
“First time home buyers are especially interested in two bedroom townhouses that can be found in these suburbs at an affordable price“.
“A few years ago Mulbarton and Mondeor were popular amongst first time buyers, but property prices here have escalated and these suburbs are generally no longer affordable for first time buyers.”
Northern areas in Bosksburg, Ravenswood, Bardene & Everleigh
Joao de Gouveia, Seeff’s MD in Boksburg & Benoni says the above suburbs all offer lock up and go property ranging from R700 000 to R1.5 million and are located close to shopping centres and highways.
“In addition to these suburbs, first time buyers should also keep a close eye on property in Sunward Park, Parkrand and Rynfield in Benoni as there is a lot of new development taking place where there are no costs to the client except for bond costs, obviously making it very attractive to first time home buyers.”
Areas close to the Centurion Gautrein Station
Steve van Wyk, Seeff’s Principal in Centurion, says first time home buyers in Centurion can find lock up and go units in ‘newish’ complexes that are located close to important roads and the Gautrein stattion for between R700 000 to R1.5 million.
“Areas like Celtisdal, Eco Park Estate, Heuwelsig Estate and Kosmosdal are also attractive options to first time home buyers and are more affordable than the older areas”.
Mahube Valley, some areas in Doornpoort and Capital Park
Peter Mokwana, Seeff’s Principal in Jacaranda, says that first time home buyers in this area are generally looking for homes with at least two bedrooms, one bathroom and a lock up garage.
“Property matching these criteria can be picked up for between R600 000 and R1.1 million in the above areas and it is sometimes even possible to find three bedrooms in the same price range. That is of course always a bonus.”
Mokwana concludes that while property in suburbs like Montana Park, Magalieskruin and some areas in Doornpoort were accessible to first time buyers not too long ago, this is generally not the case anymore.