Richards Bay home buyers economise shows statistics

Home owners and buyers in Richards Bay are heeding the warnings of possible interest rate hikes and the rising cost of living, and are actively looking for smaller, well priced properties.

“Houses under R1.3 mil are selling fairly quickly if they are in a good condition. Although buyers may be able to afford more, many are restricting themselves so as to still maintain their lifestyles and to be prepared for possible interest rate hikes and the like”, explains Sharon Mattison, Manager of Leapfrog Property Group Richards Bay, “Top end properties are staying on the market for a long time. There just isn’t that same need for executive style properties at this stage”.
Hot spots
Mattison notes that there’s been a marked increase in housing renovations in Arboretum and Veld and Vlei, narrowing the price margin between these areas and Meer en See, traditionally considered a prime area. “Buyers are also starting to view Meer en See as too far from the CBD and schools, making it less financially viable for some”, shares Mattison.
Properties in Meer en See are still the priciest at an average of  R1.688 million for a freehold property, whereas sectional title properties are a little more affordable than in Arboretum at around R660 000.
There’s an almost equal split between sectional title and freehold properties in Arboretum, selling for an average of R705 000 and R1.16 million respectively, and the newer simplexes in the Arboretum / CBD area are certainly driving these prices. Forty-three percent of recent buyers are between the ages of 18 and 35, indicating that the area is attractive to first time buyers and young families.
When it comes to Veld en Vlei around eighty percent of the properties are freehold, selling for around R1.125 million. The area currently caters to an older group with the majority of recent buyers being between 36 and 49 years old.
Maintenance a problem
Mattison shares that there is a general shortage of well-priced stock, pointing out that part of the problem is a lack of property maintenance and/or necessary upgrades; “Many home owners have been accessing their home loans to pay for cars, school fees etc and then when needing to sell are forced to recoup the amount still owed on the bond, but the house now doesn’t carry that sort of value because it hasn’t been upgraded.
Sellers need to keep their properties well maintained and upgraded where financially viable. Any upgrades should be neutral and sellers must be cautious of over-capitalizing in their area”, advises Mattison. 
Renovations aside, buyers are also deterred by the fact that a number of properties border the green belt (natural bushy municipal land) which many feel is a security risk. Additional security measures could do much to increase the attractiveness of a property bordering the green belt.
Sectional title in demand

Safety concerns and financial constraints make sectional title properties very attractive. “We see a real mixture of buyers looking across the board, but many are attracted to complexes for security reasons and to cut back on the expense of maintaining a house, garden, pool, alarm etc”, Mattison explains.
All in all buyers in Richards Bay are looking for sound, economic  investments and are definitely being influenced by price, amenities and security – and are willing to scale down to find it. 

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