Severe housing shortage in Pretoria CBD

Growing demand among public servants for housing in central Pretoria has led to severe shortages.

Current estimates put the shortage in the region of 330 000 units, says Chris Swanepoel of the RealNet Sunnyside office. “Suburbs such as Sunnyside, Arcadia, Hatfield and the city centre itself are popular among public servants and other young professionals who are looking for housing close to the central business district.

“Consequently, the whole area, already known as Pretoria’s flatland, is earmarked for further dramatic densification. Developers have started buying up adjacent properties and are demolishing old homes to make way for new apartment blocks,” he says.

Once completed, the Gautrain project is expected to further boost the property market around the new station in Hatfield. Another trend is conversion of homes around the Loftus rugby stadium near the campus of the University of Pretoria into offices for professionals such as architects and attorneys.

Swanepoel says the inner city areas have shaken off their image of crime and grime thanks to concerted efforts by various stakeholders to clean them up. The clean-up campaign is supported by local businesses, political parties and local government and teams of volunteers take to the streets once or twice a month armed with rubbish bags.

“Not only do the volunteers physically clean up litter, the campaign aims to instil pride in their suburbs among residents. The results have been remarkable.”

The local RealNet office has taken this community involvement a step further and is in the process of setting up adult literacy classes in conjunction with a local pre-school. “We view it as imperative that people living and working in a community reach their full potential. It is the most assured way of establishing and maintaining a vibrant and sustainable community – a pre-requisite for a healthy property market,” says Swanepoel.

He adds that the area currently offers a wide array of properties, ranging from bachelor apartments to historic homes and various embassies. Prices for bachelor units start at around R270 000 while large old homes sell at prices of up to R2m. Embassies in the area are valued up to R10m.

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