R1bn’s worth of property sets auction record for High Street

Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.

These auctions also serve as a very useful dipstick barometer of the health of South Africa’s property market, according to High Street Director and Lead Auctioneer Joff van Reenen, because only a fraction of the total value amounting to less than 4% of the stock comprises bank-instructed lots.

“We’re breaking our all-time sale by volume record for the second time this year with our final auction for 2017 on November 23, when some 60 lots will go under the hammer. The combined value of these properties and the lots that went on the block in our sale on November 1 is a staggering R1bn.

“This market activity is despite the prevailing macro-economic climate that remains subdued, so when we see signs of economic recovery we anticipate even more movement and greater sales volumes.”

Van Reenen says prices achieved on their auction lots this year have also remained consistent; a win-win for both buyers and sellers. 

“Everyone gets nervous in an erratic market. Sellers are reluctant to release stock and buyers are concerned about value, so catalogues shrink and sales floors are sparsely populated. This year we’ve seen record volumes of prime lots and excellent prices achieved. 

“There’s clearly money in circulation, and while 2017 has seen significant reorganising of major property portfolios this has by and large created opportunities for new players to enter the market. In the South African context, diversification is exactly what we want to see happening with long-term investments.” 

According to High Street Auctions Joint Managing Director Lance Chalwin Milton, modern warehousing and prime development land continue to be snapped up at auction, but retail centres also remain very much in demand and sale stock is available. 

“Our final auction of the year features two retail centres, one in Wilgeheuwel on Johannesburg’s East Rand, and the other in Hartenbos in the bustling Western Cape coastal town of Mossel Bay, which is experiencing an investment boom. 

“The Roodepoort centre includes 19 shops, lower ground storage, Post Office Boxes and ATMs giving a total gross lettable area of 2 640m² including 95 parking bays. In addition rental is being achieved from a car wash and two cell phone towers.

“The Mossel Bay centre, on the other hand, consists of 15 shops and offices with Grade A finishes and ablutions. Key tenants include Momentum, Rawson Properties, GS Construction and Steps Gym, and we already have strong interest in both properties.”

Van Reenen says another lot that has attracted significant buyer attention in the forthcoming auction is the land on which the Blaaubank Gold Mine is located in the Cradle of Humankind. It opened in 1886 and is still producing the goods today. The land is, however, being auctioned without the mineral rights.

“No other place gives visitors an insight of early gold mining like Blaauwbank, which is situated in the west of Gauteng at the foot of the Kashan Mountains in the Magaliesberg and is the oldest proclaimed gold mine in Gauteng.

 “The land is ideal for camping, team building or just for a day-long visit to journey back into the origins of South Africa’s gold mining industry. The property comprises mostly vacant farm land, consisting of 13 individual farm portions that together measure just over 763 hectares.”

But Van Reenen says the lot that has created the most widespread public interest in the final auction of 2017 is the sale of Tshwane’s Mayoral Residence.

“This is the first time a city will be selling its mayor’s official residence, and significantly the proceeds will go toward the development of housing for the Tshwane community.

“The five-bedroom mansion set in expansive grounds in the elite suburb of Muckleneuk will be on show on Sunday the 19th for prospective buyers to view.”

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