Black mi­gra­tion rev­ers­ing?

Finweek English Edition - - Property Compass - JOAN MULLER

WHO WOULD have thought 10 years ago that town­ships would be­come lu­cra­tive prop­erty in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions and that black buy­ers, who mi­grated to for­mer white sub­urbs, would re­turn in droves to their orig­i­nal home base? A re­port on town­ship prop­erty trends re­leased last week by First Na­tional Bank shows just that – white sell­ers in the sub­urbs may be pack­ing for Perth but black sell­ers are pack­ing for Soweto, Khayelit­sha and Um­lazi.

FNB Home Loans prop­erty strate­gist John Loos says its town­ship sur­vey sug­gests it’s no longer all one-way traf­fic to the sub­urbs. In Gaut­eng, 31% of town­ship buy­ers are be­lieved to be those want­ing to re­turn from pre­vi­ously white sub­urbs. In Dur­ban and Cape Town that per­cent­age is 24% and 26% re­spec­tively.

In Soweto alone, 38% of buy­ers are res­i­dents from for­mer white sub­urbs. Loos says the flow of buy­ers back to Soweto may be co­in­cid­ing with the rapid pace of re­tail de­vel­op­ment com­ing to the area.

Road and other in­fra­struc­ture up­grades have also helped turn Soweto into a more at­trac­tive place to live, es­pe­cially for mid­dle-in­come house­holds that have money to spend on shop­ping and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties.

Loos says other driv­ers of the re­turn to town­ships in­clude cul­tural fac­tors and af­ford­abil­ity. De­spite town­ship house prices ris­ing by an av­er­age 20% in the third quar­ter year-on year, town­ship house prices are still much lower than in the sub­urbs.

Lat­est fig­ures from prop­erty por­tal SA Prop­erty Trans­fer Guide (SAPTG) con­firm town­ship hous­ing mar­kets con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence boom times amid what’s ar­guably the long­est and strong­est slump ever ex­pe­ri­enced in SA’s sub­ur­ban prop­erty mar­ket.

In fact, house sales in town­ships have surged to such an ex­tent that those ar­eas now make up around half of SAPTG’s monthly top 10 sub­urb rank­ing (in terms of high­est vol­umes of sales). For ex­am­ple, in Oc­to­ber Protea Glen, in Soweto, recorded the high­est num­ber of sales of all sub­urbs through­out SA, with 333 be­ing recorded at the Deeds Of­fice that month. Other town­ships in­cluded in SAPTG’s top 10 for Oc­to­ber in­clude Khayelit­sha near Cape Town (106 sales), Shakav­ille (near KwaDukuza/ Stanger), KwaZulu-Natal: 234 sales) and Toekom­srus (Oudt­shoorn: 105 sales).

Com­pared to vol­umes in some of Jo­han­nes­burg’s pop­u­lar north­ern sub­urbs. Bryanston notched up only 18 sales in Oc­to­ber, Morn­ing­side 11 and Four­ways Gar­dens 10.

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