Polokwane property top of the pops

The Polokwane residential property market is hitting the high notes with strong signs of renewed activity after the recessionary slump.

Registered sales by the RealNet Polokwane Sales franchise, for instance, have trebled in the past year and agency owner Maryna van der Merwe says this is mostly due to strong demand from emerging middle class buyers.

“This has put pressure on stock levels that is increasing daily because the July interest rate cut has further spiked demand. About 75% of current buyers are medium income earners in the emerging middle class.”

Family homes are in short supply, she says, with demand highest in the R1,2m price range, while townhouses for less than R900 000 are popular among people in their thirties. The office sold five townhouses at prices between R405 000 and R899 000 in the first nine months of the year – compared to 13 during the whole of 2011.

A new trend is strong demand for undeveloped stands, especially among upwardly mobile buyers. “Many buyers migrating to the suburbs now prefer to build homes to their own specifications and Bendor on the eastern boundary of the city is currently a popular destination for prospective owner-builders. Stands of between 650sqm and 800sqm in the suburb are selling fast at prices of between R300 000 and R700 000,” Van der Merwe says.

She adds that the registration process of sold property has speeded up, which adds further impetus to the market. "Until recently, registration took up to four months but two months are currently the norm. It not only benefits buyers and sellers involved in particular transactions, but also seems to lift the mood in the market as a whole."

Many locals keen to buy homes do not, however, qualify for financing because their credit records are impaired, she says. And at the moment, such consumers have little option but to rent accommodation, which underpins the buy-to-let market.

"But it points to sustained interest in the local property market for years to come since tenants who manage to clear their records are likely to become future homeowners."

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