Suburb Focus: Centurion

What used to be the sleepy area of Pretoria known as Centurion is today a bustling hub of activity with much working in its favour – specifically in terms of planned development – which stands to benefit residential property in the area.

City of Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa recently announced that the city plans to raise R750 million on the capital market during the next financial year plus an additional R10bn over the next five years to fund infrastructure.

One of the main beneficiaries of these funds will be the proposed Tshwane International Convention Centre as well as adjoining road improvements to the site and access to the electricity network.

Another project is the construction of Rainbow Junction which will be situated 6km from the city centre and will serve as a mixed use development. The city envisions this project to mirror the success of Melrose Arch in Sandton. 

The Centurion residential property market stands to benefit from these developments – even though not all of them will occur in the area itself - the infrastructure upgrades will likely boost local business which will draw people, many of whom will buy in the surrounding suburbs such as Centurion.

Residential property can be divided into two markets offering something for everyone; the upper market focuses on the various estates (Cornwall Hill, Centurion Golf Estate, Zwartkops Golf Estate, Irene Proper, Tenth Lane Estate, Irene Farm Village, Southdowns, Midstream and Heritage Hill) and the open areas that cater to the lower to upper income markets.

Properties in the estates tend to be freeholds and selling for between R1 million to R3 500 000. Typically these properties tend to be re-sales and are not bought by first time buyers. This is reflected in the latest statistics from Lightstone which indicates that most recent buyers fall within the 36 -49 year age bracket.

Prices in the other areas vary quite drastically from R400 000 to R1 500 000 and buyers fall predominantly in the 18 – 35 year age gap. Glenda Wolters from Leapfrog Property Group believes that, “complexes are still mostly in demand; however there is a new trend starting picking up where we’re finding that younger people are moving out of townhouses and into free standing properties for the bigger stands”.

This area specifically stands to gain from the increased connectivity provided by new BRT stations; according to a report in Pretoria News the service will now operate Paul Kruger Street/CBD to Hatfield and Menlyn, ending in Mamelodi.”

The same report indicates that council has been advised to revise the current route to include “a service to Hatfield via Kotze/Jorissen/University Road and that the service from Menlyn to Mamelodi be rerouted via Simon Vermooten Road, Tsamaya Avenue, Waltloo Road, to Mamelodi (Mahube Valley), rather than Solomon Mahlangu Drive (Hans Strijdom Road) to Mamelodi.”

Not only do these areas stand to gain from the improved connectivity but areas slightly further afield such as Centurion will benefit due to the fact that commuting will become more viable. A desirable residential area like Centurion might well become more attractive to buyers who couldn’t consider it before due to traffic and/or transport.

The Gautrain could also come to play a much larger role in the area with Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe indicating that “the next phase of the Gautrain development could include a loop through Pretoria connecting suburbs around the central business district that are home to 400000 people, two universities, 48 government departments, six hospitals and 30 schools”.

The Agency is also contemplating a route extension between Pretoria and OR Tambo whilst the link from Park Station opened recently.

Not only do businesses in Centurion stand to benefit from the improved infrastructure and increased connectivity in the area but also home owners; the upgrades could dramatically reduce congestion in the area which makes commuting a better prospect. The upgrades also stand to make the zone more popular for potential investors and property buyers – increasing the value of residential property. 

The hope is that both the infrastructure improvements as well as the increased connectivity between Centurion and the rest of Pretoria and the Johannesburg CBD will make the area more attractive to students needing accommodation as well as people who work in Johannesburg but, would prefer to live in Pretoria.

Another plus in the area’s favour is of course the plethora of schools available – there are no less than ten primary schools and eight secondary schools. A variety of reputable medical institutions service the public. Liza Smit, an agent at Leapfrog Centurion finds that “ an agent it’s great living in Centurion because it’s so centrally located with easy access to several highways, shopping centres, private schools, government schools, hospitals and the Gautrain. Then there is also the farmlike area – Irene - with the dairy, big trees and historical areas. It’s got everything my clients or I could ever need.”

“More good news is that the banks have generally relaxed their lending criteria making now the time to buy a home – especially in an area that’s got so much in its favour”, believes Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group.

While many of the proposed upgrades are only in the planning phase at the moment it is clear that Centurion already has much to offer in terms of property selection, services and ease of commuting. This picture only stands to improve as the upgrades take place.

Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group

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