News from - Homenet Property Group

Richards Bay taking baton back from Coega

For the past few years, Eighties boomtown Richards Bay has been living in the shadow of Coega, the deepwater port and surrounding industrial development zone (IDZ) now taking shape near Port Elizabeth.

Now, however, it is making a comeback, says Lionel Foster, principal of leading local estate agency Homenet Fosprops.

"It is worth noting that Richards Bay has the closest deepwater port to Gauteng, that there are still large parts of the 2700ha port precinct to be developed and that the local municipality is experienced in facilitating new investment in the area," he says.

"And the large IDZ zone - VAT and import / export duty exempt - that is being established will now allow exporters to establish their premises on freehold land here to manufacture and export."

The Richards Bay industrial area adjacent to the port also has a lot going for it, Foster says, and has shown exceptional growth over the past five years. It has excellent infrastructure and the necessary services to support any new enterprise.

"Exciting prospects for the future include large scale proposed developments such as the R2bn Pulp United paper pulp mill and a R40bn oil refinery and dry dock, and if these come to fruition, property prices and rentals will skyrocket."

Meanwhile, he says, the local residential and commercial property markets are already showing strong growth, with a very low number of freehold homes being available to buy or rent - and prices being underpinned by a shortage of land for new development.

"There are numerous flats, clusters and duets to rent but the new R350-million shopping centre development and development of the northern CBD commercial block are expected to generate higher demand for this type of housing soon, and result in rental growth."

And, notes Foster, the appeal of Richards Bay is not limited to lucrative investment returns. The town also offers a sought-after lifestyle for family buyers, holidaymakers, first-time homeowners and professionals, with spectacular sports and watersports amenities, a well established retail area, leafy and clean residential suburbs, golf estates, a well run municipality which is financially strong, and easy access to Durban and Gauteng.


Second chance for buyers in Dullstroom

A new generation of affordable properties is emerging in the Dullstroom area thanks to a growing subdivision trend. This is opening up the market more widely to buyers who might have felt that they had missed the Dullstroom property bus, says Pieter Minnaar of leading local agency Homenet Dullstroom.

"Dullstroom property prices are easily comparable to those of up-market Jo'burg areas as we all know, and the general slowdown of the property market this year appears to have done nothing to dent that," he says. "But now fresh opportunities are arising with the advent of a new breed of private 'developer' in the town. These are in fact local residents who are increasingly sub-dividing their large properties and developing additional homes for sale on a freehold basis."

Minnaar explains that stands in this area average around 1300 to 1400sqm so sub-divisions therefore result in properties of around 500 to 600sqm on which homes of around 120 to 130sqm are being built. "Building costs in Dullstroom average R3000 to R4000/sqm, and these homes are being brought to the market at between R750 000 and R850 000, which provides the developer with a good margin while providing the buyer with an entry into this market at a price that is distinctly attractive."

What is more, these private developers are obliged to comply with strict building guidelines which provide for iron roofs and either rockface or face brick finishes, he notes.

"At the same time, architects in the area are sensitive to the retention of the look and feel of the Dullstroom community and, together with the quality builders we have locally, are typically delivering delightful cottagey homes with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and open plan kitchen/dining room/lounge areas, inevitably with a feature fireplace. "Buyers generally tend to be private owners, but there is plenty of potential for syndicates to acquire these properties as well, opening the way to shared use of the properties as weekend getaways."

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