Property group Aida National Franchises has opened a new agency in Namaqualand as part of its drive to take the brand to rural communities that have not before enjoyed the benefits of concluding their property deals through a large and established group.
The franchise, which operates from offices in the recently upgraded Engen complex in Lutzville on the West Coast, will serve property clients in the area stretching from Vanrijnsdorp to Doringbaai, including towns such as Strandfontein, Vredendal, Klawer and Koeknenaap.
Owner Anna-Marie Koch says the area attracts seasonal tourists at the end of winter when Namaqualand puts on its famed wild flower display while coastal towns are drawing holiday investors. However, the mainstay of the local property market is local buyers investing in their own homes.
"Prices in inland towns such as Lutzville, for instance, have grown remarkably during the recent property boom and most now fall into the R750 000 to R850 000 price bracket. Affordability has become an issue for local residents since salaries have not kept pace with the growth in property values and I see this as a major challenge in the local market."
Beachfront property in Strandfontein and Doringfontein now command prices from R1,3m upwards while prices of stands typically vary between R350 000 and R500 000.
Farming, mining and canning form the backbone of the local economy and Koch expects that the release of mining houses on to the open market will benefit the local property sector in towns such as Lutzville.
"The Namaqua Sands mine started selling mine housing to employees about a year ago and plans to divest itself totally of its housing portfolio. This will release additional units into the open market eventually," she says.
Aida's new CEO Jan Davel this week pledged his support for the new franchise, saying the group intended strike a healthy balance going forward between such expansion on the one hand and consolidation of Aida's substantial national footprint on the other.