Witbank's property market is an island of resilience in a sea of turbulence as markets countrywide soften.
"The strong growth of recent years shows no sign of abating. Only capacity constraints are keeping it from powering ahead even more strongly," says Miempe Pryde of leading local agency Homenet Witbank.
"The big driver in the area is the development of numerous new mines - with BHP Billiton, for example, reportedly investing R4,4bn - and increased demand for coal as Eskom tries to catch up with the country's power needs.
"There have also been media reports of a likely influx of up to 15 000 French workers in support of three new power stations planned for the region."
The current situation, she says, is that there is strong underlying impetus in the property market that together with bottlenecks in the supply of services will put upward pressure on the prices of existing properties. "Supply and demand is being kept in rough balance right now as new developments, initiated earlier, come on to the market but that stock will be absorbed in the near to medium term and suitable land is becoming scarcer.
"Also, while mining, steel production and power generation remain the lynchpins of the local property market, the local economy has diversified in recent years. The result has been something of a boom in retail development recently, an increase in manufacturing, a strengthening of demand for goods and services, and a further rise in housing demand."
Major new developments in the area include the recently opened Highveld Mall and another shopping centre in the pipeline, as well as the Bankenveld Golf Estate on the Witbank dam, the Lahleni Golf Estate and a new hotel.
Entry-level prices for two-bedroom townhouses in Witbank are about R599 000, and for three-bedroom sectional title homes about R750 000. Clusters start at around R650 000 for two bedrooms and R750 000 for three while freehold houses are priced from R700 000. Most buying activity currently is taking place in the R500 000 to R600 000 range.
ISSUED BY HOMENET