Developers get busy again in Belfast

New residential development in the Mpumalanga town of Belfast has taken off since the beginning of the year in the face of looming housing shortages.
Developers are concentrating to a large degree on rental units in expectation of an inflow of mine employees once pending applications for a new coal mine are granted, says Francois de Villiers, owner of the local RealNet franchise.
“The level of available rental stock is currently low and demand is steadily increasing as it is. Local businesses are recruiting employees from other parts of the country and most newcomers initially prefer to rent,” he says.
As a result, rentals have almost doubled in the past five years and currently start at around R2500 a month for units with one or two bedrooms and one bathroom.

3 Bedroom House for sale in Belfast
“Property development in Belfast has been moribund for several years and several partially completed projects were put on ice when the recession started to bite. However, most of these are now going ahead rapidly, and several new projects now are taking off too,” De Villiers says.
Smaller developments are being undertaken by investors who are buying up two and sometimes three large adjoining stands and then building up to 10 simplex homes. Some of these units will be offered for sale, but a large percentage is earmarked for rental in view of existing and expected future demand, he notes.
"However, if mining applications are granted, current development will be insufficient and more units will have to be brought to market to supply the expected demand."
Prices of undeveloped stands about 2855sqm in size range between R70 000 and R250 000, depending on location and available municipal services.
Meanwhile, there is strong demand among buyers for homes in the R450 000 to R650 000 price range. “Family homes with three bedrooms and in good condition as well as larger properties needing renovation are available in this price range,” says De Villiers, “and there are older homes still available for as little as R300 000, but the renovation costs on these will typically add at least R100 000 to R150 000 to the buyers' capital outlay.”

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