Burgeoning Newcastle nobbles first time buyers

Newcastle’s average house price has increased so significantly since the first quarter of 2006 that first time buyers are struggling to keep up with high prices.

Attributing demand for accommodation to the town’s new shopping centres and factories, Annamarie Deetlefs, principal of Realty 1 International Property Group in Newcastle, says the resultant employment of both locals and newcomers has resulted in heightened interest in home ownership. Strong and ongoing development in Newcastle’s retail and industrial sectors is a major driver behind this moderately industrial town’s rapid economic expansion, she adds.

Newcastle has seen entry level residential property prices rise from R300 000 to between R500 000 and R600 000 since January 2006 - and she expects the trend to continue throughout the course of this year.

“Newcastle is catching up with the rest of the country when it comes to the average selling price of properties,” Deetlefs says, and with local building costs starting at R3 000 per square metre her advice to first-time home owners is to invest in existing rather than new properties where possible.

Most in demand are freestanding properties consisting of three bedrooms and a single bathroom with garage facilities on 1 200 square metre plots. These are priced from R500 000. Flats are also popular and where two bedroom flats in a plush suburb such as Hutton heights sold for R300 000 a few years back, there is little stock available under R500 000 in that flat market today.

Sectional title developments, though in short supply, are also hotly prized amongst people scaling down and looking for lock-up-and-go home bases with reliable security.
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