Although its name means “place of rest”, Rustenburg is not a quiet town. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in SA, with a population of around 500 000, and its property market is accordingly brisk.
“Originally the commercial hub of a wealthy farming area, Rustenburg is now surrounded by the biggest and richest platinum mines and processing plants in the world and is known as ‘Platinum City’. Like many other mining centres it also now has a large and high-turnover property market, with people coming and going as mining activities expand and contract, and prices tending to rise and fall along with the price of platinum,” says Roelof Faul, the local Rawson Property Group franchisee.
“However, the growing consumer preference for newer homes that offer more security and require less upkeep are also playing a role in price movements because younger buyers, especially, will now usually favour convenience over space.”
This is borne out, he says, by the latest statistics which show that almost 600 houses changed hands in Rustenburg last year, and around 630 sectional title flats and townhouses, but that the average price paid for a freehold house was R800 000, the same as in 2014, while the average price paid for a sectional title unit, R610 000, was 8% up on 2014.
“And this year, house prices have dropped back to 2013 levels, with the average being paid around R700 000, while sectional title prices are another 4% up on average. We definitely attribute this difference to the fact that most of the sectional title stock is relatively new, having been built within the past five or six years, and is also located in secure complexes and estates which appeal more to modern buyers.
“In addition, despite all the recent development, only about a quarter of Rustenburg’s homes are sectional title units, and most of them fall into the more affordable and thus more popular price ranges. There is always more buyer competition for these units, which tends to boost prices – although there is still plenty of opportunity for first-time buyers to get into the market here.
“We currently have modern one bedroom, one bathroom flats available close to the centre of town, for example, at prices from around R400 000. Two bedroom units start from around R440 000, and three bedroom simplex or duplex townhouses in good locations from around R700 000.”
Faul says the houses in Rustenburg that are in the lower price brackets tend to be older and in need of upgrading, and those that are newer, in upmarket suburbs such as Boschdal, Cashan, Protea Park, Safari Gardens and Waterval East, usually fall into the higher price brackets, where sales volumes are much smaller and demand is lower, in both cases, than supply, which tends to keep a lid on prices.
“The good news, however, is that there are now great purchase opportunities in both these categories of property. Buyers who are in search of spacious family homes will find many in Rustenburg’s older suburbs that are in prime locations with respect to top schools, shops and other amenities - and can easily be modernised and secured to their requirements for less than it would cost them to buy a newer, smaller unit that is probably not as well-located.
“Such properties are also good bets for property investors, who stand to make good returns on the rental or sale of those that they renovate because of another consumer trend, which is the growing preference for living in well-established areas where everything one needs is close to home.”
Some examples of what is currently available in this category, he says, includes a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a large garden and a garage in Rustenburg North that is priced at R700 000, and a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom house with a garage and good security in Oos-Einde that is priced at R720 000.
On the other hand, says Faul, Rustenburg currently offers exceptional value-for-money on luxury homes in magnificent surroundings, and is consequently attracting high-end buyers from many other parts of the country – especially if they are able to work from home most of the time and don’t need to travel to an office every day.
“Rustenburg has several highly-rated high schools, modern shopping malls with all national retailers represented and two private hospitals, as well as a provincial hospital, which makes it attractive to many families. It also has a great climate, and many sporting and outdoor adventure facilities. And those who need to travel elsewhere in SA on business can now do so directly from the newly-upgraded Wonderboom Airport, which is just 100km away on the N4 highway.”
Rustenburg luxury properties currently on sale through the Rawson Property Group, he notes, includes a four bedroom, three bathroom home with an American-style kitchen, double garage, excellent security and beautiful pool-deck in Boschdal for R3,5 million and a five bedroom, five bathroom mansion with two studies, three garages, top-notch security and spectacular views in Cashan Ext 5 that is priced at R6 million.