Centurion still a great choice for first-time buyers

A central locality, easy access to business and retail nodes and a plethora of affordable sectional title apartments and townhouses means that Centurion, remarkable in recent years for its upmarket lifestyle estates, is still an ideal option for first-time buyers.

Paul Greyling, principal of the local Chas Everitt International franchise, says the town's sectional title properties have been popular among buy-to-let investors in recent years and that many are now coming back on to the market at good prices because the rentals that can be achieved do not cover the monthly home loan instalments at current interest rates.

Four residential nodes are currently proving particularly popular with the young set, he says, including the lifestyle estates of Celtisdal and Brooklyn which offer one and two-bedroom units ranging in price from R480 000 to R800 000. Carports and pools come standard and Brooklyn residents also have the use of a tennis court and clubhouse.

Thatchfield estate and the suburb of Eldoraigne have also become fashionable. Units on offer are larger at prices ranging between R800 000 and R2m.

"Some developers have also now realised that there is demand for bachelor style accommodation, and open-plan apartments catering to this market are starting to make an appearance, at prices from around R400 000," says Greyling

However, he advises that those who want to get on to the property ladder do need to be well-prepared financially. "The majority of banks now require a deposit of at least 10% and on top of that there are transfer costs, which means you need to have quite a large amount of cash on hand.

"Banks also need to know that you can afford your bond and they prefer that your instalment does not absorb more than a third of your monthly income. So if you want to purchase a property for R500 000, with a monthly bond repayment of R6000, you would need to prove household earnings of about R18 000pm to qualify for a home loan."

And then, he says, potential buyers need to budget for rates and taxes as well as sectional title levies. In Centurion, rates range between R300 and R600 a month depending on the area. Levies range from as little as R300 a month to as much as R1000 in some older developments.

ISSUED BY CHAS EVERITT

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