Blooms and weeds in Bloemfontein

Posted On Monday, 09 July 2012 17:42 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
Rate this item
(0 votes)

You may be of the opinion that Bloemfontein is the land of roses, conference venues and legal battles but there are other rumblings that prove the city to be very much alive.It appears that there is a combination of private enterprise coming to the party and local Metro intransigence; forces of progress and dissatisfaction

Property-Housing-ResidentialDespite the weakness of the economy, flat rentals continue to rise in the city. This is not necessarily the result of conventional market forces. A local agent has been quoted as saying that the shortage of rental stock is the result of local Metro’s limited vision regarding new development. Little or nothing has been done to allow developers to increase the density of their developments.

As noted in a recent eProp article, issues include: no new sites zoned for flat development being laid out; despite zoning certificates being obtainable for single erven, a projection of the future and current zoning uses for areas of the city are unobtainable; town planning for outlying areas of small holdings in Bainvlei and Bloemfspruit - the only areas where effectively development can take place - have still not been incorporated into the city’s town planning scheme.

A local Real Estate Agent sums the situation up: "no practical provision is being made for new areas for the building of flats and apartments despite the current shortage of this type of accommodation".

On the bright side there is some movement in the residential housing market, there are several up and coming areas which are proving popular with young buyers. One such area is Langenhoven Park. The statistics provided by Lightstone Property Solutions show that 30% of buyers are between the ages of 18-35 years old, with just over 50% of properties sold in the area priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million and with an average selling price of R1.033 million. There is however, a very high demand for rentals, as the suburb is ideal for investors wanting to buy to let.

Another area in high demand is Universitas, the majority of property in this area is being bought by buyers in the age group from 36-49 years and are in the same price bracket as Langenhoven Park with an average selling price of R1.137 million. Another trendy new upmarket suburb which has high appeal is Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate. The average price bracket here is in the region of R2.2 million to R3.5 million.

According to Fritz König, team leader of Engel & Völkers Bloemfontein: "Property sales are indefinitely picking up in Bloemfontein as there are many new developments. Some of the major attractions are investors looking at investing in student properties.

This brings us to the CBD: Bloemfontein CBD office properties are in high demand by municipal, government contractors, colleges and training centres; according to the Broll Bloemfontein Office Market Report, although vacancy rates in the CBD are high at 25 percent, rentals are currently holding steady at R75 per square metre having increased steadily since the end of 2009. This area still sees a lot of traffic and retail is flourishing.

According to the Broll report, Bloemfontein has a lot going for it strategically: It’s the only major centre for miles around, it’s also the sixth-largest city in the country and the judicial capital of South Africa; it lies on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

There is a disproportionately large amount of tenancy from government and educational/training centres in the CBD. For example government tenancy is approximately 12 000 square meters.

Commercial property in the city has a great deal of potential. Johan Botha, portfolio executive at Broll Property Group says demand for office space outweighs supply and rentals continue to increase.

Various old buildings are being upgraded, for example, Fed Sure Building and Allied House. Evidently there’s just a single erven available for development, an 11 000 square metre patch earmarked for retail and offices.

Brandwag and Westdene have also become highly sought after for office space. These areas are a favourite in the private sector especially with national companies opening satellite offices. Office parks and corporate buildings are in high demand with old houses being converted into office space. A new development, the 43 000 square metre Second Avenue Development is due to start in 2013, creating a whole new business district in an urban village setting. It has been said that the intention is to replicate the atmosphere of Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

An exciting retail development is the arrival of Bloemfontein’s own Makro. There are presently 16 Makro stores about the country. Makro, the trading name for Masstores (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiaryof Massmart Holding Ltd.

Massmart is a listed company recently acquired by the US titanWal-mart.  The store’s arrival is an encouraging indication of the economic development in Bloemfontein.

Developed as a freestanding building located on the crossing between two major national highways, and featuring an impressive 840 open parking bays, with a GLA of 17 049m2, the store, to be developed by The Moolman Group, will be located on the western side of Bloemfontein, at the junction of the N8 towards Kimberley and the N1 freeway.

The site offers superb visibility and straightforward access from Bloemfontein and the surrounding areas, whilst sufficiently proximate to all the city’s amenities. The store is due to open in October this year.

Also on the retail front, Bloemfontein’s faithful old Fleurdal Mall is undergoing a substantial refurbishment.  Work on the 25 year-old Fleurdal Mall anchored by Checkers Hyper and House and Home, began in October 2011 and is due to be completed in November this year.The most significant improvement to the property is an updatedappearance and with the intention of modernising the atmosphere.

The centre’s being extended from its current size of 19 000 square metres to 25 000 square metres. Parking has been reconfigured for better access and flow. Trading is continuing through the refurbishment. Ackermans and Mr Price will be increasing their trading area.  New stores to occupy the space include: Milady’s, Contempo, Pandora, Lotters Pine, Rage Shoes, Hi-Fi Corporation,Nedbank and Capitec Bank among others.

Like all South African cities security is always high on the agenda. Edcon, the clothing and textiles retail group, together with Independent Newspapers presented the city of Bloemfontein with a mobile policing unit in June, as part of a wider Partnership Against Crime initiative designed to assist the South African Police Service.

The hand-over of this unit, brought to 18 the number of trailers that the Edcon group, as patron of the programme, has subsidised at an investment of over R1 million since 2006. The unit is equipped to police specifications and costs around R80 000 a unit. While the majority of mobile policing units have been deployed in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Polokwane and Cape Town, this hand-over in Bloemfontein is the first one for the Free State region.

There is certainly a diversity of property dynamics present in the Bloemfontein market. Like all South African cities some tension between local government and the private sector exists, with much being expected of the private sector, which in turn seems to be playing its part in trying to boost confidence in the city.

Last modified on Friday, 16 May 2014 17:15

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.