Benoni now 'fertile ground for renovators'

The Benoni property market has completely transformed and in the process has discarded its "mining camp" image to become a progressive example of modern living.

Numerous factors are working in favour of the market: general economic prosperity, growing population, increased buying power from the emergent middle class, upgrades in infrastructure and the shortage of new land for development.

And as a consequence of these and other drivers, values and sales volumes in the area have stood up exceptionally well to the overall slowdown of the property market, says Lance van Heerden of leading local agency Homenet George Rennie.

"Home prices have cooled but arguably to a far lesser degree than many other areas and there is a steady tone to the market that must be the envy of some parts of South Africa," he says.

"Traditionally of course Benoni was known for its freehold property, much of which was mining company-related with buyers drawn from a distinctly blue collar base.

"But recent times have seen heavy emphasis on sectional title and cluster development, a component of the market that is in heavy demand, fuelled by the slow approvals for zonings and town planning restrictions."

Recent years, Van Heerden points out, have also seen the emergence of exclusive areas and up-market homes and Benoni is in fact putting the seal on its transformation now with the news that its first golf estate is to be developed.

"And this is now having a spin-off for the original freehold homes, many of which are large, spacious, solidly-built structures that make ideal prospects for makeovers and refurbishments by families seeking more space - or by fixer-upper investors and developers looking to turn a profit."

In terms of infrastructure, Benoni is well served by the East Rand Mall and the Lakeside Mall, and traffic congestion is to be addressed as part of a new drive to improve road networks by the Ekurhuleni Municipality under which Benoni falls.

Ekurhuleni is known for its progressiveness and local ratepayers are generally more than pleased with the standard of service they receive from their local authority, a fact which also impacts positively on Benoni property values.

"In short, the immediate outlook for the market is exceptionally positive Most activity is in the lower to middle price ranges but there's no question the area is well poised to fully capitalise on any renewed growth," Van Heerden says.

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