Rentals soar as Bela Bela home shortage grows

Lack of new residential development in Bela Bela for the past four years has boosted the demand for rental homes in the Limpopo resort town.

Annelie Botha, owner of the local Aida franchise, reports that homes for sale are in short supply and that many prospective buyers thus have little choice but to rent accommodation.

Bela Bela experienced a flurry of upmarket lifestyle estate development on nearby nature reserves during the boom years. But, says Botha, there is currently little demand in this sector of the market since the stream of buyers who were buying luxury homes as weekend and holiday accommodation has dried up.

There is, however, a dire need for affordable accommodation that has not been addressed with new development because of the recession and subsequent tough economic times. “And as a result, rentals have escalated sharply, with modest one-bedroom flats in old blocks now commanding rentals of R2000 a month and more.”

Rents for two-bedroom flats or townhouses, she says, start at R3800 a month, while rentals for two-bedroom full title homes in security complexes start at R5000 a month. Older homes in the inner town areas with two or three bedrooms are fetching rentals of between R6000 and R9000 a month.

At the same time, Botha says, those homes that are for sale are relatively expensive because of the strong demand, with smaller and older properties in the R450 000 to R750 000 price range being targeted by first-time buyers and retirees.

Most first-time buyers in the town are office workers at Eskom's local branch or at the local municipality and earn between R15 000 and R18 000 a month.

Meanwhile, although demand for properties in the local leisure market is currently depressed, Botha says that the estate homes remain good long-term investments because Bela Bela has lost none of its appeal as a tourism centre. Homes in lifestyle estates around the town offer state-of-the-art luxury and many are built on three levels, offering unimpeded bushveld views. Prices vary from R2m to R6m.

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