About-face for Randburg market

The Randburg property market is experiencing a surge in activity with enquiries and show-day attendance suddenly spiking.

Greg Wilson, sales agent for the local Chas Everitt International franchise, says the market "turned" in mid-January, just months after the bottom effectively dropped out of the entry-level sector.

The lull came when first-time buyers in Randburg simply dried up and stock simultaneously swamped the market as investors and owners found themselves unable to afford bond repayments. Property priced between R400 000 and R800 000 barely moved as a combination of strict bank lending protocols and general economic unease took their toll, and values dropped by as much as 20%.

"But we think the worst is now over," says Wilson. "In the past week we have fielded more enquiries for entry-level property than in the previous six months. Buyer sentiment has improved greatly thanks largely to the latest interest rate drop and the prospect of a further cut soon. Of course it remains to be seen whether or not the banks will come to the party."

Randburg has long been popular with those looking to be close to their place of work as many commercial nodes - and good schools - are within walking distance of residential accommodation. The area's appeal has been further bolstered by ongoing efforts to spruce it up, Wilson says, with considerable amounts of money having been pumped into making the Randburg CBD clean and safe.

Most demand for sectional title accommodation in the area is still currently directed at properties priced in the R400 000 to R600 000 range, he says. These are typically of a lock-up-and-go nature.

Freehold homes are currently selling for between R1.3 m and R1,8m depending on locality, but stands are moving very slowly as sectional title development in the area is effectively at a standstill thanks to poor electricity supply.

"Five years ago I could sell a 4000sqm stand in Randburg within a week. Now it takes much longer and potential developers want to pay substantially lower prices because of the holding costs they face until the electricity supply problem is resolved."

ISSUED BY CHAS EVERITT

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