Alternative materials make building sense

Building packages that offer buyers homes built with alternatives to traditional bricks and mortar are gaining popularity because of cost savings.

Chris van der Nest, manager of the local Homenet Trio office in Grootbrak on the Garden Route, says alternative materials limit building costs to around R3800/sqm depending on inside finishes, as opposed to R4500 to R5500/sqm for traditional brick and mortar homes.

"As an example, the so-called Vermont cladding is currently very popular and we work with a developer who offers building packages using this material. New homes built in this manner also offer far better value for money than existing houses," he says.

Vermont cladding is a cement fibre product that resembles wood and offers superior insulation - an important consideration in the current climate of power scarcity, Van der Nest adds. "The finished product is very attractive and finds favour among buyers. The building packages are also popular among investors since lower building costs mean greater rental returns or smaller bonds."

About 80% of investment properties in the area are rented out on a permanent basis while the remainder are used or let as holiday homes, he says. Indeed, Grootbrak is still a prime holiday destination. It is situated between George and Mossel Bay and is just 10km away from the George airport.

Homenet Trio is currently marketing vacant stands in the area at prices of between R300k and R1m, with the option of drawing up building plans according to the buyer's specifications and arranging with the developer to build a home using Vermont cladding.

Van der Nest adds that prices for traditionally-built homes in Grootbrak currently range between R650k for basic two-bedroom units and R6,5m for upmarket homes on smallholdings. Prices for vacant smallholdings of between 3ha and 6,5ha start at around R1,7m. Most homes sold locally fall into the R860 000 to R950 000 price range.

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