Gautrain, rates boost rental demand

WITH the Gautrain rapid rail link project gathering momentum, demand for residential rental accommodation in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs is becoming stronger as foreign staff involved in the project are sent to SA.

US international television network CNBC’s expected arrival in the country this year and Barclays Bank’s entry have also contributed to strong demand for rental accommodation.

Sarah West, Pam Golding Properties’ Gauteng rental manager, says the company has had a lot of interest from people involved in the Gautrain project.

The Bombela consortium that won the tender to build the Gautrain includes two foreign companies, Canada’s Bombardier and Bouygues Travaux Publics of France.

“We’ve had a lot of French expats coming into the country. Because of that they have tended to focus on the areas close to the French school, which is situated in Morningside Extension 40.”

She says the areas where they have been seeking rental accommodation include River Club, Morningside, Benmore, Rivonia and the eastern tip of Bryanston. “We have done quite a few rentals to Bombardier and Bombela.”

Monthly rentals range from R12000-R30000, depending on the seniority of the person being sent to SA.

Herschel Jawitz, CE of Jawitz Properties, says that at the end of last year the group saw “consistently strong demand for corporate rentals”.

“The tendency is for most of the multinationals to prefer their staff members to be accommodated in gated, secure communities or complexes,” says Jawitz.

Corporate rentals range between R15000 and R30000, depending on the position held by the staff member.

“I think there is lots of business being done by multinationals in SA and I think there will continue to be a steady demand for that kind of accommodation into the foreseeable future,” Jawitz says.

A Parkhurst resident, who did not want to be named, says he has been offered R20000-R26000 a month for his two- bedroom house on two separate occasions in the past few months.

He says the offers came from an estate agent representing two foreign multinational companies.

Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, says the demand for rental accommodation is also coming from people taking a short-term view on the residential property market. He says higher interest rates have made property even more expensive and caused some people to switch to rentals in the hope of a better short-term deal.

“The mood of the property market and the mood of the rental market are never in synch. It’s either one or the other, to some degree, meaning that if the rental market is doing well, the property market isn’t usually doing that well, and vice versa.”

He says there is demand from corporations for rental accommodation in the northern areas.

“The same corporations could also be buyers in a different market and are taking a short-term view because in the long term, buying a property is a better bet.”

Article by: Nick Wilson - www.businessday.co.za