Compared to inflated prices in the major CBDs, northern suburbs of Johannesburg and in older, established eastern parts of Pretoria, Centurion is attracting investors keen to take advantage of strong demand for rentals. But the area offers good value for other property options, reports Jawitz Properties’ Centurion managing director Ross Gillett.
Centurion has come a long way from being the sleepy southern suburb of Pretoria with its smallholdings and large open spaces, he says. Today it is one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa with a population of over 240 000.
Many of the large corporates have set up head-offices in Centurion and property developments have mushroomed, expanding the city limits. With the Gautrain at its core, commuters have the convenience of easy access to the N1, N14 and R21, OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria Airport.
“The property market has grown substantially. Lightstone reports that 6300 units changed hands with a total value of R7-billion, year-on-year (excluding Midstream Estates). The average family home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms costs around R1.7m,” says Gillett.
The diversity of the Centurion market opens up a wide selection of property options. These include the higher density area of Monavoni, townhouses in Amberfield and Die Hoewes; family living in Lyttleton and Rooihuiskraal or upmarket properties in Irene on large stands. For those looking for secure, estate living, there is Midstream with its own shopping centre and schools.
“The middle bracket is by far the largest sales-band. Prices range from R750k up to R1.5m, and represent 3000 units or 66% of the market value. At this level, there is a wide choice of accommodation from sectional-title townhouses to large residential complexes.
Olivenhoutbosch caters primarily for RDP and entry-level housing. Price-conscious entry-level buyers have apartments near public transport, schools and work and enjoy all the benefits of a community lifestyle.
“Many developers have shifted their focus to Centurion due to its rapid growth and rental apartments that are springing up all over. This has put the area firmly on investors’ radars. Centurion has become a drawcard in the buy-to-let market when compared to the inflated prices seen in the major CBDs, northern suburbs and the older established parts of Pretoria East. Despite some recent price adjustments, there are still highly lucrative areas such as Die Hoewes, Highveld and also Monavoni,” says Gillett.
Rental returns are attractive and prices remain buoyant with a capital growth of between 5% and 8% year-on-year (since the crash of 2008), offering good returns on relatively low risk investments. Clearly, the interest rate hikes will ultimately impact on the market, although the effect is yet to filter through. Consumers will continue to purchase homes but there could be a possible increase in the pressure on price for the seller.
Demand for rental units remains high and resilient given the location of Centurion and diversity of accommodation. The interest rate is bound to have a positive spin-off for the rental market as mortgage bonds become less affordable.
“Rentals are the key strategic factor in Centurion as the potential for growth is inevitable. A temporary increase in stock is anticipated as sellers adjust to higher interest rates. However, there is no evidence of this to date.
“Enquires from the African continent are coming in thick and fast which bodes well for the future. Potential buyers are looking for security, investor opportunities and safe family homes – features that are not readily available in some of the countries up north,” says Gillett.
(Photograph: A four-bedroom, Twin Rivers Estate French country-style house being marketed by Jawitz Properties for R3,4 million.)