Capital projects set Emalahleni market alight
As the “coal capital” of South Africa, the city of Emalahleni in Mpumalanga currently has the hottest property market in the country.
“The massive effort to boost SA’s power supply is centred here,” says Hein Strydom, owner of the local Aida franchise, “and the city, formerly named Witbank, together with the neighbouring town of Middelburg, is now responsible for 43% of the province’s GDP.
“There are already five power stations going full-tilt here, another (Kusile) under construction and a seventh being planned by Anglo Coal. And while there are already some 45 coal mines in operation, at least four new ones are set to open to supply the new power stations.”
In addition, he says, the strategic location of the city at the junction of the N4 and N12 highways in the Maputo Corridor has attracted huge steel and chrome manufacturing concerns, and to facilitate exports, Transnet is now spending millions of rands to upgrade the railway links to Maputo harbour.
“As the economic nerve centre of the province, Emalahleni already supports amenities such as a regional shopping centre, three hospitals, a Tshwane University of Technology campus, the Eskom regional office, and the headquarters of many mining companies, and now because of all the new capital projects, even more people are pouring into the city in search of both rental and permanent accommodation.”
Consequently, unlike most other parts of SA, Emalahleni has experienced a surge in property sales over the past year, with demand strongest at the lower end of the market, where house prices range from R470 000 to R700 000, says Strydom.
“And we are now also experiencing improved demand for mid-range housing in the R900 000 to R1,5m bracket.”
The demand for light industrial, agricultural and commercial properties has also been high in the light of the increased local demand for goods and services of all types, he says, but sales in these sectors have been hampered by the banks’ reluctance to lend to self-employed individuals.
“Meanwhile, the rental market is booming, with many buy-to-let investors now able to achieve a rental income to bond expenditure ratio of up to 95%, provided they buy the right property. And there are several new developments under way now that will provide suitable 2x2x2 units at prices below R500 000.”
Issued by Aida National Franchises