Aida has grown its share of the residential property market in Welkom to around 30 percent in the face of strong competition from at least 30 other agencies in the Free State mining town.
Pieter Zietsman, owner of the Aida Goldfields franchise, says this has occurred over the past 12 months, largely as a result of a decision to focus on building a strong sales team - which is now comprised of 20 highly trained and motivated agents.
He also says that even though there has not been a marked increase in new residential developments, confidence in the town is at a high. "Welkom is basically still a mining town and the fact that there have been no retrenchments in the mining sector for some time has greatly contributed to a stable residential property market here."
Investor confidence is also clearly demonstrated by multimillion-rand commercial developments and healthy interest in the buy-to-let residential market, he says. Rentals for homes vary between R2000 and R3800/ month while those for apartments start at around R1200/ month.
Welkom is also experiencing a strong inflow of new buyers from surrounding settlements such as Thabong as the residents' economic prospects increase.
"As a mining town, Welkom has an excellent infrastructure and property here represents very good value when compared to property in other cities around the country," Zietsman explains. "Many retirees sell property elsewhere for, say R1m, buy a comfortable home here for around R300 000 and have a tidy sum left to invest to stretch retirement income."
Homes in Welkom can still be bought for as little as R150 000 while units in Thabong are even cheaper, at around R100 000. The bulk of residential sales are, however, around the R300 000 mark.
The record price for property in Welkom to date is R1,6-million for a large residence sold last year. Zietsman says, however, that the top asking price currently is R2,5-million for a partially completed mansion offering seven bedrooms and large reception areas. "When completed, it would be eminently suitable as a bed and breakfast operation."