In the suburbs that make up Johannesburg's "New South", homebuyers who have been sitting on the fence for months are now starting to commit to purchases in anticipation of prices turning upwards once more.
So says Colin Rodrigues, principal of leading local agency Homenet Delta, who notes that prices in the area have stabilised and are set to stay firm as property market sentiment slowly turns positive, bringing with it the potential for higher asking prices.
"Fence-sitters have realised that they can't sit any longer," he says. "They have to get back into the game or risk missing out on bargain properties. Enquiries from the Indian community in particular have picked up dramatically with many sounding out numerous possibilities before buying."
The rental market in the area is booming, opening up opportunities for investors, especially in the apartment sector. Flats in the area typically cost between R500 000 and R1,2m and rent for between R3000 and R6000 a month.
In the freehold market, properties priced between R1,5m and R2m are selling well at present and development in the area has continued apace for the most part. An example is the Aspen Hills Estate which has fared well and is now due to launch its second phase. On completion, the mixed-use estate will comprise roughly 1000 freehold unit packages including cluster homes and townhouses. Stands measure 500sqm and prices range between R2,5m and R6m.
Other developments in the area that have met with success include Bassonia Estate, Bassonia Rock and the Meyersdal Eco Estate.
Rodrigues acknowledges that the instance of foreclosures, auctions and deed of sale transactions in the New South has increased of late, but says the banks have become much more sympathetic and are only foreclosing as a last resort.
Meanwhile potential buyers from across the spectrum are producing much more substantial deposits, he says, and are increasingly winning the banks over on home loan applications. Other current market traits include extreme avoidance of any property that buyers perceive as overpriced and a lack of cash buyers in contrast to many other parts of the country.
ISSUED BY HOMENET