Bedfordview enters more sustainable market

Generous sized stands, 24-hour guarded boom protection and easy access to major routes have contributed significantly to the growth of Bedfordview’s residential real estate market, where some property values have rocketed by as much as 50 percent in the last three years.

But despite its allures, the local market is turning and selling prices are increasingly being decided by buyers rather than sellers, says Ismail Essop Laher, principal owner of Realty 1 International Property Group in Bedfordview.

The plush suburb on the eastern border of Johannesburg has seen its market enter a new phase characterised by a slowdown in overall price growth from 32 percent in 2004 to 10 percent during the first quarter of 2006.

Further evidence of a change in market conditions is the failure by the majority of sellers to obtain full asking price for their properties. “They therefore have to become more realistic, both about pricing and about the likelihood of having to accept lower offers,” he says.

According to Laher, Bedfordview sellers are, on average now getting between five and 10 percent lower than asking price, and homes of sellers who refuse to lower their expectations are sitting on the market. But Laher is upbeat about prevailing market conditions, believing them to be far more sustainable going forward. He predicts that the current level of growth will continue for the remainder of the year, ensuring that property retains its status as one of the country’s premier investment vehicles.

Stock levels are up threefold compared with last year although anything less than R1,6 million is in short supply. Generally speaking, buyers are now entering the market at around R2 million, which will buy them a townhouse or a free-standing house with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and three reception rooms. The most active sector of Bedfordview’s market ranges from this price to around R4 million, which will pay for a luxury five or six bedroom house with up to four reception rooms. Properties with larger price tags than this are moving more slowly, taking three months or longer to sell.

Laher reports a growing trend by young entrepreneurs and business people to live in Bedfordview, encouraged by its ideal location for commuting to economic hubs such as Sandton and Johannesburg CBD. Attracted by the area’s secured environment and large residential stands, they are re-homing their young families in rising numbers, he says. On the flip side of the coin, sellers include a growing contingent of older people who are downsizing and moving into residential complexes, retirement villages or out to other suburbs and towns in order to be closer to their adult children. Those in this sector who wish to remain in the area, and who place a high value on security, location and quality finishes have a fairly wide choice of units if they are able to pay upwards of R2 million.
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