Record sales in Middelburg
Ndebele Dolls, Middelburg

The Chas Everitt International franchise in Middelburg has just had a bumper sales month, thanks largely to increased demand among buyers from the neighbouring Mhluzi township.

Franchise principal Susan Muller says those looking to upgrade from Mhluzi are purchasing homes priced between R400 000 and R500 000 in the Mpumalanga town. Meanwhile “black diamond” buyers are also making an appearance with many initially renting properties before purchasing for between R800 000 and R1,1m.

“Many buyers are taking advantage of the lower prices sellers are currently asking,” she says. “Indeed, some sellers have dropped their asking prices by as much as R250 000.”

As a result, refurbishment has also caught on in a big way. Many buyers are purchasing property in the older parts of town, revamping them, selling at a profit, upgrading and then repeating the cycle.

The rental market in the town is also incredibly buoyant at present, says Muller, with high demand being driven by the many contract workers who gravitate to the town on a regular basis to work in its coal mines, steel plant and power station.

In fact, many potential tenants are currently battling to find accommodation, she says. Two bedroom townhouses rent for R4500pm on average while an upmarket freehold home in the town can fetch as much as R8000pm.

Interestingly, though, a buy-to-let market has yet to manifest in the town and sectional title properties are selling relatively slowly.

There is also a dark cloud on the horizon in the form of falling steel prices. For the first time ever, the local steel plant closed over the holiday season for three weeks. And should such conditions continue, they could have a negative impact on the town’s property market this year, says Muller.

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