Green living at entry-level prices

While many buyers are looking to purchase environmentally-friendly property, with many of them willing to pay premium prices for homes that are built with energy saving elements, some developers have now brought green building to a more affordable price-range, says Glenn Norton, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Masters, whose office services the North-Western Suburbs.  

He says an environmentally-friendly estate known as Saffron Gardens, which was developed by W.M.E. developers, is currently in its second phase of development with the first phase completely sold out. The launch date of phase two, which will consist of 120 units, is estimated to be in October 2012. Situated in Honey Park in Johannesburg’s suburb of Honeydew, the development offers buyers low-maintenance, two-bedroom, two-bathroom 69m2 sectional-title units. Buyers can expect to pay a starting price of R455 000 for an upstairs unit and R509 000 ground floor unit with a private-garden. The units feature energy-saving elements such as gas stoves, prepaid electricity meters and energy-saving hot water systems, all of which save on the running cost of the unit.

“Although the initial cost of green building is far greater, the long-term saving and sustainability is much higher, which is why the developers chose this route as opposed to the more conventional methods of building. While it is not yet legislation, it is likely that more and more developments will follow this trend as energy conservation continues to be a burning environmental concern,” says Norton.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa says that more and more buyers countrywide have made green buying a priority. “Properties with green features are becoming more prominent as buyers want aspects in their homes that are not harmful to the environment and save on energy costs,” he says.

According to Norton, while the Honey Park area is currently largely undeveloped, it was identified as the ideal position for the development due to its proximity to Monash University, which is on the bus route to Monash. He says that there is also a wide range of sporting, shopping and medical facilities in the area and Honey Park is centrally located and is well serviced by bus and taxi transport.

“As the area grows and develops in the next five years, property prices are sure to follow suit. The estimated appreciation of the property will be around the 3.8% to 7% per annum mark, which means that a unit bought at R455 000 now, can be sold for approximately R778 000 in a period of 11 years,” says Norton. “The development is an excellent buying opportunity for young couples as well as investors who are looking to build a buy-to-let portfolio. We have currently sold 20 units to investors who can achieve rentals of R4800 per month for an upstairs unit and R5000 per month for a ground unit.  Eighty percent of the buyers who have bought in the first phase of the development received 100% bonds from their respective financial institutions, which is a remarkable figure considering the fact that most banks currently require deposits of 10% or more to secure finance.”

As a final word, Norton says that there is no better time than the current market for buyers to invest in property and an environmentally-friendly, low-maintenance unit is an excellent first choice.
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