Service delivery should feature on home buyers’ checklists

Service delivery

With the date set for local government elections taking place on the 27th of October 2021, many homeowners are starting to wonder whether the municipality in charge of where they live, provides adequate basic services. In a few months’ time, South Africans will be able to vote for a local authority that they view to be well-run and able to deliver essential services.

But the ability of the local authority to provide basic services should also be a consideration for home buyers says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond.

There are many factors to consider before looking at areas in which to live. These include whether there is adequate public transport, proximity to schools and work, if applicable, as well as access to medical facilities and retail opportunities. The level of service delivery offered by the local municipality is another important factor as it affects not only the experience of living in an area, but also the long-term return on an investment”.

The provision of basic services that many of us take for granted – such as refuse removal and electricity supply – is managed by the local municipality. So, it is certainly in your best interest to investigate the performance of the local authority responsible for an area before you put in an offer on a home,” he says.

You may have found your dream home, but if you are going to struggle to have regular and efficient municipal services, it may be better to consider settling somewhere else. Potholes and overflowing refuse bins do not make for a pleasant living environment.”

Independent ratings agency Ratings Afrika has recently released its ranking of the best performing municipalities and metropolitan areas in the country for 2020. The coastal town of Mossel Bay ranked as South Africa’s most financially sustainable municipality out of the 113 included in the study. Home to five of the top performing municipalities and metros – including Saldanha Bay, the Swartland (Malmesbury) and Overstrand (Hermanus) – the Western Cape came out the best province in terms of sustainable local government. The City of Cape Town was named as the most financially sustainable metro.

Cobus van den Berg, Just Property’s franchisee for Mossel Bay, says the area’s well-run municipality is one of the draw cards for buyers semigrating to the Garden Route from Gauteng and elsewhere in the country.

Midvaal in Gauteng, considered one of the fastest growing areas in the region, clinched the second spot. Midvaal offers a range of real estate, from sectional titles to large farms. The KwaDukuza municipality (Ballito) in Kwazulu-Natal, also fared well.

A municipality or metro that is run well and is financially stable is not only able to provide basic services. It is also able to withstand economic shocks such as a pandemic, and attract investment,” says Coetzee.

These factors may well serve to appeal to prospective property buyers, which would mean that buying property in these areas can be a wise long-term decision, as there is a good chance of a solid return on this investment.”