In the area 2 – Hartebeespoort

Hard times for Hartebeespoort

The economic crisis is taking its toll on the Hartebeespoort property market, once the darling of Gauteng’s rich and famous.

So says Ben van Zijl, principal of leading local agency Homenet/ Harcourts Ades Royal who notes that property sales and prices in “Harties” have come under extreme pressure in the wake of stricter bank lending policies and the global economic meltdown.

The area boomed a few years ago and development took off. Sales and property prices were buoyant and a number of record deals occurred. “Over the past year though, Harties has done an about-turn. Sales at developments have virtually come to a standstill with only a handful being concluded in recent months. Private sales on the southern side of the dam have met with more success but only marginally so,” says Van Zijl.

“Harties was traditionally viewed as a luxury property area and people are shying away from buying here as ‘extravagant’ purchases are the first thing people cut back on in tough times.”

He says the new lending protocols being applied by the banks are also playing havoc with market prospects and that the incidence of foreclosures and forced auctions has also increased.

Meanwhile, development in the area has slowed dramatically and applications for new developments have dried up. According to Van Zijl, many units are standing unsold and empty and a number of approved developments have been put on hold until the market improves.

“Some developers are now offering their units to the rental market in an attempt to cover costs. But although rentals were buoyant six months ago, this sector has also quietened down now as potential tenants can pick and choose from a wide variety of cheap rental stock.”

However, he says, there is hope for Harties. “The area has inherent appeal and potential buyers are still keen to come here to escape the crime and grime of Johannesburg or Pretoria, and despite the low volumes, the average sales price has remained fairly robust at R1,5m.

“In addition, the area had become somewhat saturated in terms of development and a lag in this sector will help to underpin the prices of existing units.”

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