In the area 3 – Parow


It may come as a surprise to those Capetonians living in more affluent areas that what are sometimes referred to as the disadvantaged suburbs have a flourishing community life – and an active property market.

Nowhere is this more evident that in Parow Valley and its satellite precincts, Ravensmead, Elsies River, Cravenby, Matroosfontein and Bishop Lavis – which together have 14 000 homes

Alvin Suklall, the Rawson franchisee who serves this area (and who has over the years since he bought this franchise in 2006 been a regular recipient of Rawson Group awards) says that even now in what is technically a downturn phase, he is selling between three and four homes per month.

What is more, he says, there are now clear signs that values have bottomed out and significant further drops are very unlikely.

“By the end of 2010 I calculate that we will be selling up to ten homes per month. Almost all my areas remain very popular, firstly because they are close to so many industrial areas and, secondly, because they have established infrastructures – schools, shopping malls, cinemas, sports fields and hospitals.”

The major hold-up to sales right now, says Suklall, is not a lack of willing buyers but rather the incredibly tough criteria (including very big deposits) imposed by the National Credit Act and the banks’ reluctance to be deeply involved: up to 60% of all bond applications in his area are turned down.

“There are, however, signs that this is changing. ABSA and Standard Bank are now in certain cases giving 100% bonds on homes valued at under R430 000 and 85% of value loans are more common now.”

At the moment, says Suklall, the tough loan conditions are forcing willing buyers to go more downmarket than they would have 18 months ago.

“Seventy percent of my sales are now in the R300 000 to R500 000 bracket – but the good news is that throughout this area buyers can get real value for money: kitchens with granite countertops, laminated wooden floors, down lighting, well maintained gardens and A1 security systems. Those who do not live here can have now idea of the value obtainable right now.” (He himself bought a five bedroom Parow Valley home in 2002 for R350 000 – but he could sell it for over R1 million today.)

“I am,” he says, “surprised at the small number of investors so far attracted to Parow Valley. We can get rentals of R4 500 to R5 000 per month for a three bedroom home bought for R400 000 – surely this must rank as an above-average return.”

One of the reasons for the lack of outsider interest in homes here, Suklall feels, is that relatively few agents who have operated here have been adequately qualified.

“We have seen a reluctance to knuckle down and get the Board and SSETA NQF4 examinations passed. Nor have some agents really done their homework on market conditions and comparative prices.”

Suklall himself has passed not only the two examinations referred to but also assessors and valuation courses and the NQF4. He has in all 42 certificates testifying to courses passed and awards won.

“I believe that education is the key to raising the image of our profession. I am, therefore, right behind the EAAB and SSETA in their drive to make all agents true professionals – and any who join use here at Parow Valley will have to commit themselves to passing all the exams.”

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