More new development for Soweto as housing demand rockets

A new mayoral plan to build thousands of new houses, several shopping centres, eight schools and state-of-the-art recreational facilities in Protea Glen will help to alleviate the growing shortage of homes for sale in this increasingly popular suburb of Soweto.
That’s the word from Mike Mangena, principal of top local estate agency Harcourts Unlimited, who says: “This development will effectively create an entirely new suburb – and provide 30 000 more housing units to our market. These units, which will include freehold and sectional title homes, will go a long way to alleviate the stock shortage we are experiencing and provide much-needed accommodation.”
Pundits have been reluctant to call the buoyant market in Soweto a “boom”, he says, but “an astounding number” of homes are changing hands at the moment, allowing owners to upgrade to better homes, and entry-level buyers to get a foothold in the market.
Part of the reason for this turnover is that existing owners are using the equity in their homes to sell and buy better properties. Mangena explains: “The latest research by the FNB Property Barometer puts home value growth in former black suburbs at 9,5% year-on-year in 2014, compared to 6,8% for homes in the traditional suburbs of the big metros, and I would agree with that figure.”
Soweto is currently a very exciting place to be operating in the real estate industry, he says.“Because most of the houses fall within the affordable range, we are finding that people who left Soweto to live in the former all-white suburbs, are now coming back in droves to become homeowners here.
“But although affordability is a huge factor, this influx also has to do, we believe, with the neighbourliness, community spirit and Ubuntu that characterises our areas. The former white suburbs just don’t have the vibe of Soweto, which has undergone a total transformation since I was growing up here.”
Soweto is a vibrant city with a population of over 2m, and millions of rands have been spent in upgrading the infrastructure, he notes. “Since 1994, government has pumped millions into new services here. The original matchbox houses are largely a thing of the past and there are many entertainment venues. What’s more the service charges and property rates are substantially cheaper.”
Price increases are the norm in the newer suburbs, where current buyers can expect to pay R450 000 for a two bedroom, one bathroom house, and R550 000 to R650 000 for a three bedroom, two bathroom home.Mangena recently sold one of the latter, with an additional double garage, for R680 000.
He says there is still much work to be done to educate people about the value of investing in their own homes, and about how to finance these purchases, with some salaried employees not even realising that they can qualify for a bond.
However, once they do understand the process and how home equity can be used to build wealth, our clients have no qualms about buying sectional title properties or buying off plan, so we are really looking forward to selling in the new Protea Glen development now.”

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