Areas and Places Research

Is the North West’s housing market keeping up with its population growth?

The road to Potchefstroom.

The North West province is one of three provinces – alongside Gauteng and the Western Cape – where population growth has exceeded the national average of the past eleven years.

With 4.2 million people living in the North West, in 1.3 million households spread over 18 municipalities and 48 towns, its urban areas are home to 53% of its population, housed in 90% of its formal properties. The remaining 47% live in the non-urban areas, where only 10% of the province’s formal properties can be found.

The four biggest municipalities (consisting of the towns and non-urban areas within their boundaries) account for half of the province’s population.

A growing population has an appetite for housing, and so we have taken a look at the numbers behind the name to understand why population numbers in the Platinum province are rising ahead of the national average, and how the housing market is faring,” says Hayley Ivins-Downes, Head of Digital at Lightstone Property.

Entry level housing

The numbers tell a story of housing challenges against a backdrop of a rising population. Around 72% of households live in informal dwellings, while 28% live in formally registered homes.

Only 35% of deeds registered properties are valued at more than R500 000 against a national average of around 50%, and only 15% are valued at more than R1 million against a national average of 30%.

There are approximately 350 000 registered title deeds in the province, the third least in the country. The bulk (approximately 190 000) of the province’s formally registered properties are in the affordable category, followed by ‘Mid Value’ (just under 120 000), ‘High Value’ (almost 40 000) and ‘Luxury’ (7 000).

During 2022, ownership at the lower end of the market received a boost, with 2 500 properties in Orkney transferred from the local municipality to individuals,” says Ivins-Downes. “Similar transactions took place in Wolmaransstad (500), Klerksdorp (400), Potchefstroom (160), and Ottosdal (150)”.

In some cases, non-urban areas have developed outside a town’s borders, and sometimes they are upmarket estate developments, sometimes poor rural communities, or informal housing.

The three biggest towns (formal properties)

The largest three towns in North West, in terms of properties formally registered at the Deeds Office, are Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom and Rustenberg, and they account for a third of the province’s properties – but just 15% of the province’s population.

Of the three, Rustenberg has more properties of higher value – just over 30% are valued at more than R1 million, compared to just over 20% in Potchefstroom and slightly more than 10% in Klerksdorp.

Conversely, properties of unknown value account for 50% of stock in Klerksdorp, and just over 10% in Rustenberg. Often, these unknown value properties are in the lower value areas.

Where are the deals being done?

Most property sales (as opposed to transfers from municipalities) took place in Rustenburg and surrounding non-urban areas (1 800), Potchefstroom (1 215), Hartbeespoort or Brits and surrounding areas (1 260) and Klerksdorp (800), as at January 2022 to date.

The most valuable properties

The total property value in Klerksdorp, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, and Orkney account for 43% of North-West’s combined property value. The province’s highest average property values are found in Kosmos and Hartbeespoort, where the average property value is R2.4 million. More than half of the houses in these towns, situated on the edge of the Hartbeespoort Dam, are valued at above R2 million, compared to the province average of 4%,” explains Ivins-Downes.

Spread of R2 million and higher valued properties

There are 235 Estates in the province with 32 000 residential units. There are 57 ‘luxury estates’ (where the average value exceeds R2 million) in the province with more than 10 properties per estate. Luxury estates account for 11 500 properties. The highest value estates, with an average value of more than R3 million are: