Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  06 Jul 2011

PROPERTY: Buyers Snap Up Homes in Trendy Inner Cities


Recent Gauteng Business News

While South Africa’s property prices continue to decline with people still feeling the pinch, first-time buyers are snapping up trendy homes in affordable areas.

And areas such as The CBD and Braamfontein are benefiting. Johannesburg’s inner-city regeneration projects may have become a cliché of late, but the residential property market there has remained buoyant throughout the financial crisis.

The area is also experiencing a new buzz with restaurants, art galleries and shops in the area attracting the young and trendy.

As reported in the Financial Mail recently, younger executives, academics and creatives are once again flocking into the CBD to work and play. The drop in crime levels and the imminent opening of the Gautrain Park Station has also widened the scope for people to live and work in the area.

Loft-style apartments provide just the right mix of sophistication and affordability. Created in the same vein as the hugely popular New York-style loft apartments, where anything from old fire stations to sad looking office blocks now boast shiny wooden floors and modern kitchens, these residential buildings are increasingly being bought and lived in by younger professionals.

Aengus Property Holdings is seeing a resulting surge in interest in its sectional title units in downturn Johannesburg, especially with current tenants looking to buy.

Says CEO of Aengus Property Holdings, Richard Rubin, “We’re seeing a very exciting surge in interest in our inner city residential units. Many of them are actually current tenants who are looking to buy their first homes. Because these apartments are more affordable than those in Johannesburg’s more established neighbourhoods, they offer good value.”

The sectional title units in demand are from Aengus-managed Lofts@66, Fashion Lofts and Tribeca Lofts. The company’s hands-on management approach ensures the complexes have strong bodies corporate with solid financials and good maintenance records and standards.

Many of the tenants started off life in the area as students who wanted to be close to their academic institutions and after years of renting, are now in a position to afford their first home.

“These former students seem reluctant to leave,” comments Rubin, “and that bodes well for the area as they are now young professionals who are making economic contributions to the area by continuing to live there.”

The case for the growing number of first-time home owners is backed up by the 2nd Quarter FNB Estate Agent Home Buying Survey, which reports the first time buying percentage has increased once more to 25% of total buying, from 22% in the first quarter.

As for whether banks are making loans affordable, Rubins says, “There seems to be a certain amount of pressure right now for banks to make loans more accessible to people who want to own their own homes and to encourage a culture of saving. It certainly makes sense to lend to the type of tenant and home owner we attract who are educated and employed.”

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