Bloemfontein's property market is marching to its own drum with price rises averaging well above the current 9 or 10 percent being achieved nationally.
Lower to mid-priced homes, up to the R1m mark, are mainly responsible for the growth and shortages of stock as well as an effective moratorium on new development due to the unavailability of services are bound to underpin the market further going forward says ERA Bloemfontein's Jan van Vuuren.
Commenting on the Bloemfontein market generally, he says buying patterns are definitely changing and whereas the northern suburbs of the city are more than ever the preserve of the wealthier buyers, strong demand has emerged from first time homebuyers in the southern and eastern suburbs.
In general, prices are rising steadily; contrary to many other parts of the country and market conditions are expected to remain buoyant with the outlook for 2008 being distinctly upbeat.
Van Vuuren says the Bloemfontein municipality's decision to place a virtual moratorium on new services development, particularly on the western side of the city, is largely responsible for the increase in prices. "The result is that people moving to Bloemfontein, from Gauteng for example, are surprised at how little their money will buy in terms of local property."
However, he says, there is definite buyer resistance to current asking prices and a rising preference for rental as a result. Not surprisingly, the rental market has taken off and a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with little else is now renting for around R5000 pm.
"And this situation does present opportunities for buy-to-let investors."