Pretoria's Orchards and Booysens are blooming

Residential development in Orchards, north of Pretoria, is "exploding" as developers respond to huge demand from first-time buyers in the affordable market.

Willie du Plessis, who holds the local RealNet franchise, says the quick development of the area the past five years can be attributed to the fact that it is on the far urban edge, with lots of room for expansion. And, he adds, its popularity can be ascribed to the fact that upwardly mobile buyers from Soshanguve view the area as a stepping stone to larger properties in Pretoria North proper or areas to the south, closer to the CBD.

Homes are typically compact - two or three bedroom homes of around 60sqm - and are priced at between R400 000 to R500 000. Bank repossessions are sold at around R300 000 and sometimes for as little as R250 000, which opens up the market for qualifying lower-income buyers.

Du Plessis, who acquired the RealNet franchise for the western parts of the Moot earlier this year, says the flow from Orchards to suburbs in the Moot area particularly benefits Booysens. Close to the Mabopane highway, it offers solid homes in an established suburb at affordable prices.

Many buyers are public servants with families who qualify for bonds to buy homes in the R500 000 to R700 000 price range. Homes in Booysens are substantially larger than in Orchards and range up to around 120sqm. Another draw card for buyers from Orchards is the large stands that range from 1000 to 2500sqm.

Four-bedroom homes on the larger “burger erven” of 2500sqm are fetching prices of up to R850 000 but developers have seen a gap in the market and are buying up such properties. Existing homes are then demolished and the land is subdivided into four plots on which units are built and sold at prices from R550 000 each.

Such newer units find ready buyers, says Du Plessis, because prices are market-related and some buyers are willing to swap the luxury of a larger stand for the benefit of a brand-new home.

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