While Covid-19 has had an impact on the South African property market, there are still significant investment opportunities, especially in the residential sector.
Pretoria, for example, as emerged as an attractive destination with several areas showing great potential for growth says Keabetswe Nkotswe, TUHF portfolio manager.
“There has been steady progress, but it really has been an ongoing process of forging relationships with key stakeholders at local government, the municipalities, property developers, universities, and other role players to identify the hotspots. We are focusing on the inner city, but the likes of Silverton, Sunnyside, Capital Park, and others have emerged as great investment opportunities” she says.
According to Nkotswe, one of the major trends has been the interest in family-led units in Pretoria West. However, Arcadia, Sunnyside, and Gezina have proven popular with younger families looking to share accommodation with friends. A central theme behind this growth has been easy access to amenities and transport to the Pretoria CBD.
The amount of higher learning institutions in Pretoria also makes it attractive for student accommodation but there is the concern that student housing might be on a bubble that could burst at any stage. As such, there is a focus on residential accommodation that lends itself to being adaptive, if need be, as opposed to the more traditional student-res type.
“With Pretoria generally being cleaner and more laid-back than Johannesburg, families are finding great appeal there. Convenient access to shopping centres, banks, churches, schools, and transport – not to mention the nightlife in different parts of town – are all contributing to making Pretoria the perfect springboard for investment – and for the post-pandemic ‘new normal’” she adds.
Style and comfort
It is particularly multiple bedroom units with spacious kitchens and lounges that have been in demand. The reason being that multiple individuals can rent them and have a ‘lock up and go’ setup. This is ideal for those who are staying in the inner city for work and going home over the weekends.
“Given how the pandemic has resulted in many people losing their jobs, they are looking to downgrade to smaller spaces that are more affordable. The best thing is that these multiple bedroom units are future-proof to transition into family-led environments when the time comes” says Nkotswe.
There are plenty of deals to be had but the challenge has been for investors to come up with the required equity. Nkotswe says that plenty of exciting buildings are becoming available in the market. “With the work-from-home environment being a part of the ‘new normal’, many offices and commercial buildings are available. These provide brilliant investment opportunities to convert into residential spaces”.
For TUHF, it has been important to forge relationships with auction houses and estate agents to provide the necessary leads when relevant commercial property becomes available.
“The inner city is especially exciting for us. We have been very proactive in being on the ground and engaging with the community; from building managers to shopkeepers and other people who know the areas and understand the dynamics at play. We are passionate about this community engagement, which also becomes a great awareness driver for us” she concludes.