Toll road plans will impact property markets

The proposed tolling of the N1 highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg will have a mixed impact on property values and the prioritisation of growth areas.
“It’s an aspect that all property stakeholders in the affected areas will have to take into account,” says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group.
The programme is part of a national roll out of new toll stations on existing and new routes criss-crossing the country.
Others routes of note in the toll station programme are the Cape Town ring road, the R300 between the Hex River and Bots River, the N2 between George and Port Elizabeth, the N2 along the Wild Coast between East London and Isipingo, the John Ross Highway between Empangeni and Richards Bay and the N4 highway from Mozambique to Botswana. 
Due to the population densities involved, however, arguably the greatest impact on the property market will be felt on the Johannesburg to Pretoria route which bisects one of the heaviest concentrations of residential and industrial areas in the country.
“Gauteng’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product is about 33% and it has the greatest density of population including the highest percentage of newly economically enfranchised South Africans,” notes Kotzé.  
“The region accounts for 40% of the country’s manufacturing and financial services, it has benefited from rapid migration into a limited land mass and it houses 53% of the country’s affluent households. In this context, the volume of traffic on the N1 between Pretoria and Johannesburg (the Ben Schoeman highway) is one of the highest in Africa.
“International experience shows that commuter patterns are influenced by proximity to toll roads and this will occur on this route to one degree or another as the toll station roll-out takes place.
“It will all come down to accessibility to places of work and general infrastructure and how that relates to the cost of commuting using a route that in the past was not tolled. In turn some areas will benefit while others will be penalised.”
Complicating the issue further, he says, is the advent of the Gautrain “which is already affecting property demand patterns as we all know”. Similarly the new Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) in Johannesburg, the Rea Vaya, will come into the equation as its network grows.
“Understanding the dynamics involved will therefore be key for all stakeholders in the property market - developers, homeowners and corporates alike - and there are lessons to be learnt from what has taken place overseas in this respect, notably in the UK which has a long established park-and-ride culture of commuting by public transport.”
Issued by ERA South Africa

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