Soweto’s property market is booming

Vilakazi Street hosts the city’s first multi-property auction.

JOHANNESBURG – The property market in Soweto is booming; people are eager to purchase properties because of the affordability, thriving retail areas as well as its accessibility to Johannesburg.

Menzi Mncunu, owner of Mncunu properties in Soweto, says that this is especially true for younger working individuals who find better property deals in Soweto as opposed to Johannesburg, where they have limited options such as expensive single-bedroom rental flats which have inadequate space. The alternative in Soweto is a two-bedroom home with a yard and a reasonable price tag.

As such, it made sense to host the city’s multi-property auction this week, in Vilakazi Street, a few houses up from Nelson Mandela’s home. A crowded room held 100 potential buyers showcasing only eight properties– all of which were sold.

Joff van Reenan, lead auctioneer at the High St Auction Company says that the auction company was very impressed with the turnout as well as the prices at which the houses were sold: ranging from R200 000 to R400 000, either at market value or slightly above that.

The properties have two- or three-bedrooms (some had extra rooms outside the main house), range from 200 to 250 square metres, and are situated in Protea Glen, Molapo, Dobsonville (see below) as well as Zola.

This Dobsonville property sold for R360 000.

A number of the buyers purchased more than one property with the intention of renting out the properties. One prospective buyer said that he had always lived in Soweto and had no intention buying property elsewhere even if he could afford it.

Lance Chalwin-Milton, managing director of High St Auction, says that the auctioned properties had to meet the auction rating which includes location, the reality of having a possible buyer as well as being aesthetically appealing.

Situated in south west Johannesburg, Soweto has transformed itself from a historic township to a bustling city with a population of over two million people. Travelling in Soweto feels like being in multiple places at once: a hip tourist destination, the countless red brick four-roomed homes a reminder of apartheid’s architectural legacy, and upmarket suburbia all in one.

Mncunu says that the current economic slump has freed up a lot of residential properties because people are unable to make their bond payments. However, he adds that this is mostly in the more affluent parts of Soweto such as Diepkloof or Orlando which are far more expensive with properties ranging from R1m upwards.

Supahamandle Nzuza, of Century 21 properties confirms that it’s common for young working people living in townhouses in the suburbs to move back to Soweto because it’s cheaper to buy property there. However, he emphasises that it’s a mixed bag of individuals who are purchasing properties ranging from students buying flats to newly married couples.

The most popular property areas are in Protea Glen, says Nzuza. This because it does not form part of the older township and is populated by the black middle class who understand that they can buy property and resell and therefore view it as an investment. It is much more difficult to purchase or resell houses in the older part of the township because title deeds are challenging to locate.

Commercial property is another challenge to obtain because most of it is either owned by the municipality or private property owners.



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