Northern Cape economic boom boosts property market

The economic boom unfolding in the Northern Cape has significantly boosted the demand for property, not only in the main centres, but also in the smaller towns.

According to Seeff's principal for the greater Upington area, André Mostert, the agency is struggling to meet the demand for property as buyers and tenants flock to the area.

The property market statistics for urban areas such as Kimberley and Upington bear out the growth since 2009. In Kimberley, about 850 property transactions worth almost R692 million has been recorded for the past year; 43% more than the 593 sales to the value of just under R352 million in 2009. In Upington, transactions are up by about 48% from just 308 transactions to the value of under R124 million to 456 property transactions worth almost R200 million over the last year.

The boom was kick-started by the opening of new iron ore and manganese mines in the last three years that led to an influx of people and business growth to serve the sector and new residents, especially housing, says Myra Schonken of Seeff Kimberley. The Sol Plaatje University, the first in the province opened this year and Phakalane Airways has introduced flights between Kimberley and Upington and to Calvinia, De Aar, Kuruman, Sishen and Lanseria on a non-scheduled basis. Near Carnavon, the first of 64 antennas of MeerKAT, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project launched about a month ago.

Just outside Upington, the first 75MW solar farm, part of a multi-million rand energy solar project recently opened and business and property in the town is booming, says Mostert. The first super-regional shopping centre, Kalahari Mall with 70 top retail stores and restaurants is now open as is the new 360-bed Dr Harry Surtie Hospital. Tourism is also growing on the back of attractions such as the SKA project, Namaqualand flowers, Richtersveld and the KgalagadiTransfrontier Park. This, says Mostert, has also seen a return of buyers to villages such as Springbok and Port Nolloth on the coast.

Mostert says that while the shortage of especially affordable housing for sale and rental remains a challenge in Upington, two new residential developments are underway that will at least meet some of the demand. The first, Bella Rosa, with 310 plots is setting a new standard for the town with modern homes and will also be the first suburb with a Home Owners Association (HOA). Plot and plan options are available with a choice of finishes that include energy-efficient fittings and air-conditioning in the living areas. Prices start at R899,000 for two bedrooms and R1,05 million for three-bedrooms.

The second, Augrabies Park is an affordable housing development with 276 plots, sized from 400-900sqm. Plot and plan options are available and prices start at R549,000 for three bedrooms. This fully integrated development includes provision for business, community facilities and public open spaces. It is ideal for first time home buyers, says Mostert as full bonds are available to qualifying buyers.

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