E-tolls make a quick impact on Midrand property market

Demand for Midrand properties with convenient access to secondary routes or near the Gautrain bus route has climbed steeply since the start of this year.

This home in Carlswald Lifestyle Estate is on the market through RealNet Midrand South for R4,6m.
“The impact of the E-toll switch on was almost immediately visible in this area as well as in traffic flows on alternative routes,” says Emma Ledwaba, owner of the new RealNet Midrand South franchise.
"Traffic on the R55 and other back roads has increased dramatically and buyers are targeting homes near these routes, as well as near the Gautrain bus routes. Sellers in these areas now receive multiple offers that match asking prices as buyers are willing to pay a premium for suitable homes," she says.
Demand as a whole in areas such as Kyalami, Halfway Gardens and Vorna Valley is also higher than last year and Ledwaba ascribes this to the central location of the area relative to Johannesburg, Sandton and Pretoria. "Buyers who travel for work between these centres are trying to limit trips to the minimum, whether on tolled roads because of related costs or back roads because of increasing congestion."
Ledwaba, who has 12 years' experience as an estate agent in the Midrand area and opened her own franchise under the RealNet brand at the beginning of January, says signing three sales contracts within the first week of operation is a good indication of how lively the market is.
"It remains to be seen to what extent the trend will be sustained because an additional factor is that many people review their future plans at the end of the year and for many it includes entering the property market in the new year.
"However, recent commercial development and planned residential developments would seem to indicate that the whole area is gearing up for further growth, which would make property here an attractive investment for home buyers as well as buy-to-let investors."
The local market offers a very diverse choice of properties and prices start at around R500 000 for a one-bedroom unit in a security complex. Prices for units with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in estates now average R1,5m, while free-standing homes are available from around R1,1m. At the top end of the market full-title homes in estates are currently generally selling for between R3,5m and R6m (see photo)
Ledwaba adds that upcoming middle class buyers with joint incomes of around R75 000 per month are responsible for a large percentage of current activity in the market. "Buyers are typically in professions such as IT or engineering but it is interesting to note that in spite of high incomes, around 50% find it difficult to obtain home loans because they are over-exposed to short-term financial obligations. As part of our service, we help such clients to obtain financial planning assistance to improve their credit profiles before applying for finance again," she says.
Ledwaba, who gained wide experience as an agent with an international estate agency group, says she chose to join the RealNet group because it exclusively focuses on the local market and is thus very much in step with local trends.

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