Rental shortages spur Witbank property market

Demand for residential rental units in Witbank remains high as contractors and new employees at Eskom's Kusile power station and the steel industries in and around town scramble for accommodation.

But, says Rosa Frederico of RealNet's local franchise, investors in buy-to-let properties are currently sitting on the sidelines, which is causing a shortage of rental homes and leaving new residents few options. "As a result we have seen an upsurge in sales, particularly to first-time buyers and couples with young families," she says.

Homes priced at below R1m are particularly sought-after and, says Frederico, comfortable family homes in the R750 000 to R1m price range are now in short supply. Newer townhouses and apartments are selling well to younger buyers at prices ranging from R600 000, while two- and three-bedroom units in Kwaguqa, Clewer and Witbank extensions are selling fast at prices between R350 000 and R800 000.

Family homes that were built many years ago for Eskom and Highveld Steel workers but are now privately owned offer good value at prices between R700 000 and R900 000. "These homes are well-built and sturdy and have three bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge and dining room and one or two garages on big stands," she says.

Free-standing homes in popular areas such Model Park, Del Judors, Reyno Ridge, Highveld Park and Die Heuwel sell at prices starting at around the R1,2m mark and are typically targeted by professionals.

Frederico says demand for smallholdings is also steady because many buyers are looking for the best of both worlds by living out in the country but within a few minutes' drive of all amenities in town. However, smallholdings are not often offered for sale and those that do come on the market take a while to sell because prices are steep. Units of 2ha are marketed from R2m to as much as R10,8m.

However, a selection of undeveloped stands is available for buyers wishing to build their own homes. Prices start at around R400 000 for fully-serviced stands of between 900 and 1080sqm.

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