Changes in public transport patterns could affect property market


Where will the current rises in the petrol price end?

A price level of US$100 per barrel now seems quite possible and, with no end to the Middle East conflict in sight, prices seem set to stay at a high level for months to come.

If oil prices do reach the US $100 mark, South Africans, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of Rawson Properties, are likely to react to the higher costs of petrol by looking for homes in areas that are closer to their work places - and to their childrens schools. This will see already popular areas within 15km of the CBD gaining further appeal.

Also likely to change residential trends, said Rawson, will be the infrastructures established for the World Cup. These, he says, could transform certain areas so radically that values more than double in two to three years.

In general, says Rawson, we can expect to see buyers opting for areas closer to the major public transport routes and in these areas the ongoing swing to high density development will be most noticeable.

As a corollary to this, adds Rawson, the major SA cities will have to be bolder and more innovative in creating public transport systems that are not only affordable but crime-free. This could, he said, even mean deploying large numbers of the Defence Force onto trains to protect passengers who in many cases have no option by to use public transport.

'We now hear of people paying between 10% and 15% of their income in transport costs,' says Rawson. 'This is a result of a residential property trend which has seen people move away from traditional suburbs to find more affordable accommodation but that trend could now change '“ certainly CBD living seems set to be more popular as it solves the transport difficulties so well.

'In every major city in the world, public transport takes 85% to 90% of the population to and from work,' says Rawson. 'We can no longer afford to ignore the trend, nor can we afford to have trains which people are frightened to board'
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