Toll roads will cause major shifts in property market

Toll roads are the big issue for many consumers at the moment - especially in Gauteng – and they are set to have a major impact on home buying and renting patterns.
So says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, who notes: “Hundreds of thousands of people travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria every day, many of them living in one city and working in the other, and it is estimated that such commutes will add at least R1000 a month per vehicle to the monthly household budget.
“And the situation will no doubt be much the same for those commuting between the East Rand and West Rand, or between the southern suburbs of Johannesburg and Sandton or Midrand.”
Even those using buses and taxis will be affected because fares will rise to cover the new tolls, he says, “and if you add these new costs to already rising fuel prices, and higher food prices because of the higher cost of transporting freight via the toll roads, the cost of commuting will just not be affordable for many families.
“We also can’t see most employers agreeing to increase wages and salaries to cover the increased cost of getting to work, so most commuters will be left with the choice of giving up their current employment and seeking work closer to home, or relocating closer to work.”
Consequently, Gray says, Harcourts is expecting a surge of homebuyer interest in clusters of suburbs close to the major work nodes of central Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“However, given that the property market is still slow and that existing homeowners may find it difficult to sell in order to relocate, what we think will happen first is a massive increase in demand for one and two bedroom apartments and townhouses right across Gauteng, as many commuters turn to buying or renting a small unit close to their workplaces where they can live during the week, and only go home at weekends. This way, they will also be saving on petrol.
“We also expect that those lucky enough to be able to make use of technology and work from home most of the time, or have the skills and resources to set up their own home business, will increasingly do so, with a resulting increase in demand for properties with home offices or work spaces.”

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