|Aida National Franchises is on the expansion trail in Mpumalanga, starting with the recent re-opening of its office in Sabie, the town at the heart of the Lowveld forestry industry.|
The franchise has been awarded to George Meyer, a local financial adviser, who plans to take the brand to Hazyview in October and Graskop early next year.
Meyer studied architecture at the University of Pretoria before joining a local estate agency in 1991. Six years later he returned to his roots and bought Sabie Brokers, a firm that manages a large investment portfolio. He became active in property development, building and marketing and decided to acquire an estate agency to offer an additional service to his investment clients.
"I consulted my former principal who had just joined the Aida group and his advice was to get the backing of a prominent group. However, at the time the local Aida franchise was not available and the plan was put on hold. When the franchise did become available, I was first in the queue to apply for the rights," Meyer says.
He says Sabie, and indeed the whole Lowveld, shows great promise for further development. "The area is experiencing a property rush on a par with the Pilgrim's Rest gold rush more than a century ago. Large numbers of international investors are buying here and it is also becoming a popular
retirement place because of our beautiful surroundings - we have mountains, forests, an abundance of natural water, and lots of fresh air.
"The market has already shown phenomenal growth. Stands that sold for R25 000 two years ago are now selling from R180 000. The huge demand has led to farmers rezoning their land for residential development and we are currently busy with two large complexes that will bring 150 units to the market, one on the road between Sabie and White River, the other near the Long Tom Pass.
"Building has also started on the upmarket Zangeo Estate in Mount Anderson, Sabie's latest upmarket suburb. Nine full-title units of 200sqm each will have views of the mountain and the Bridal Veil waterfall.
"This is Sabie's first security village, but without any barbed wire in sight. Log fencing will add to, rather than detract from the scenic surroundings. Building packages that include the price of the stand cost around R1-million and each open-plan unit features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, double garaging and a fireplace."