CENTURY 21, the world's biggest property group, has now opened an office to serve homebuyers and sellers in Johannesburg's "new South".
Based in Mulbarton, CENTURY 21 Royal Properties will address the needs of property consumers across the market spectrum, selling everything from entry-level flats to multi-storey mansions, says principal and owner Neels Potgieter.
"There is a lingering perception that the southern suburbs are somewhat downmarket. Nonetheless there is a widening appreciation of the South's selling points: good infrastructure in terms of roads such as the M1 and the N12, good schools and shopping facilities such as Southgate, The Glen and Comaro Crossing and good access to all points of the Johannesburg compass.
"What's missing from the South are more employment opportunities, but in time this too will no doubt be remedied as businesses increasingly identify and explore the potential of the area.
"Moreover, the economic vibrancy of the area is underlined by a sound property market which has weathered the downturn better than most."
Potgieter says prices start at around R800 000 for a three bedroom home in Mondeor, ranging up to the multi-millions in the more upmarket suburbs such as Bassonia, Glenvista and Mulbarton, which have been virtually immune to the economic woes.
"On the other hand, as might be expected, entry level areas such as Mayfield Park, Kibler Park and Winchester Hills have been affected, with prices having dropped by about 10 to15%, and this spells opportunity for keen buyers."
In this climate, he notes, the new office is doing exceptionally well because of its close relationships with the lending institutions and the emphasis placed on pre-qualifying buyers for bonds.
"Indeed, we are successful with about 60% of our bond applications, as opposed to the market average which I understand, is as low as 30% in some areas - and we are seeing the property market in the South really come into its own."
CENTURY 21 SOUTH AFRICA